But things aren't as bad as Republicans portray, he said. "There is a recovery. We've been in a recovery in fact for over two years. It's an unusually slow recovery but it is a recovery."
Shapiro said Obama "can be justly proud of putting in place policies that stopped the slide into depression."
Some Republicans boast of improvements in their own states even as they recite a litany of national woes.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich touted a gain of 100,000 jobs in his state in the last year and an unemployment rate below the national average. Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell told fellow Republicans that over the last two years, "with Republicans and Democrats working together, our unemployment rate is down over 20 percent."
McDonnell, who is also chairman of the Republican Governors Association, asserted that Republican governors generally do a better job handling economic challenges than their Democratic counterparts.
But since 29 of the 50 states have Republican governors, you'd think this would show up on the national charts. It doesn't.
"Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to end the torrent of debt that is compromising our future and burying our economy," said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the convention's keynote speaker. Unemployment in New Jersey is 9.8 percent — among the nation's highest.
"You can't believe anything you hear at a political convention. It's all a marketing opportunity," said economist Bruce Bartlett, an economic adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, both Republican.
"Some sectors of the economy are showing signs of life, others are showing weakness. I can't blame Republicans for focusing on the ones showing weakness. As polls clearly show, the economy is clearly Obama's biggest weakness."
National polls show the economy remains the top issue by a long shot, including an AP-GfK poll taken a week before the GOP convention that showed 60 percent of those surveyed believe the country is headed in the "wrong direction," compared to only 35 percent who chose "right direction."
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