Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., undermined President Obama’s campaign message by describing the American economy as in “a depression,” even as he argued that the weak economy caused the Democratic defeats in 2010.

“The economy has not recovered,” Waxman told Newsmakers. “Some people call it a recession, I think it’s a depression.” He also denied that the passage of the health care law in 2010 caused the Democratic defeats in 2010. “The president inherited a terrible economy. We were hemorrhaging jobs in 2008 when he got elected so that by the time he took office in 2009 we had over 10 percent unemployment.”

The National Bureau of Economic Research said that the recession officially ended in June 2009. By December, 2009, the national unemployment rate had hit 10 percent. President Obama declared the summer of 2010 the  “recovery summer” as they touted the initiatives paid for by the $815 billion stimulus legislation passed in 2009.

It perhaps undermines Waxman’s analysis that 73 percent of 2010 midterm voters registered disapproval of the federal government and Congress, according to PEW Research exit polling, after a legislative cycle dominated by Obamacare.

Since March 2010, when the health care bill passed, Obama’s approval rating in 20 of the last 24 Wall Street Journal polls has been below 50 percent, as The Washington Examiner’s Byron York observed last week.

Vice President Joe Biden also used the D-word during a recent campaign stop. “It’s a depression for millions and millions of Americans,” Biden said last week, as he explained that “[w]hen your brother-in-law’s out of work, it’s a recession. When you’re out of work, it’s a depression.”

Waxman attributed the economic weakness to Republican obstructionism. “From the first day[Obama] took office the Republicans have given him no slack,” he said.