"This is a choice between the policies that led us into the mess or the policies that are leading out of the mess," Obama said recently in Las Vegas.
Trouble is, it's a tough sell to voters who've seen little progress.
Unemployment is stuck near double digits and polls show many voters have decided Obama's policies are to blame, not his predecessor's.
Obama often frames the argument by saying that Republicans had their chance to drive, then drove the car into a ditch and shouldn't get the keys back. But voters may be concluding that Democrats, who control the White House and both chambers of Congress, have had their chance at the wheel, too, and haven't gotten very far.