At an off-the-record lunch at the White House in June 2012, President Obama explained that he had to win re-election or Mitt Romney would get credit for an inevitable recovery during what would be his second term.

“I’m not going to let him win … so that he can take all the credit when the economy turns around,” Obama said, according to Glenn Thrush’s new book “Obama’s Last Stand.

According to the book, Obama’s advisers knew by 2011 that a positive campaign based on the improving economy “just wasn’t in the cards” and planned early to hit Mitt Romney with a negative campaign.

“You can’t run on the economy,” an Obama adviser told Thrush. “You can only tell people that you’ve saved them from something worse.”