Obama eases off 'one-term proposition,' says economic fix takes more than 4 years

Despite saying in 2009 that failing to right the economy in three years would mean a "one-term proposition," President Obama on Thursday may have moved the goalposts.

"Now, we knew from the beginning that our work would take more than one year, or even one term -- because let's face it, the middle class was getting hammered long before the financial crisis hit," Obama said in Green Bay, Wis., as he ventured back onto the campaign trail after a three-day hiatus due to super storm Sandy.

The possible adjustment in the president's timetable for turning around the economy comes one day before the Labor Department is set to release the October jobs report. Last month's survey provided a dose of seemingly good news for the economy and for Obama's re-election campaign, showing the jobless rate dipping below 8 percent. Some economists, though, questioned the accuracy of the stat - and the report being released Friday is the last major economic survey to drop before Election Day.

The president has long been making the case that he just needs more time to finish the job he started. At an August 2011 fundraiser, he said: "When I said change we can believe in, I didn't say change we can believe in tomorrow."

The claim, though, that "we knew from the beginning" it would take more than one term is a departure from what Obama told NBC's Matt Lauer in February 2009. At the time, Obama said, "A year from now, I think people are going to see that we're starting to make some progress, but there's still going to be some pain out there. If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."

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The Romney campaign hasn't forgotten about the 2009 remark.

"Four years ago, President Obama made a series of commitments to the nation and said that he didn't deserve a second term if he failed to keep them," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams told FoxNews.com in an email, following Obama's Green Bay remarks. "Now, faced with a record of broken promises and failed policies, the president is trying to reissue and repackage the same pledges and mislead Americans into believing that the results will somehow be different."

Thursday was the first day since Sandy hit that both candidates were out on the trail in full force, and they bickered over who can claim the mantle of the "change" candidate.

Romney's campaign says the former Massachusetts governor is the only one offering "real change." Obama, though, argued that his opponent is merely offering to return America to the policies of the George W. Bush administration -- policies that he claims unfairly favor the wealthy.

The president was campaigning Thursday in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado, while Romney made a three-stop swing through Virginia.

All four are important battlegrounds. But Romney's campaign also revealed Thursday that it's pushing into Pennsylvania, reportedly planning a rally for Sunday in the state that has backed Democrats in recent presidential races.