The U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014, the worst decline since the start of the official start of the Great Recession, according to the Commerce Department.

And the drop is pretty ugly:

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Naturally, Republicans pounced.

“It's clear the White House doesn't know which way is up, just two months ago bragging that Obamacare was helping the economy and now we're seeing the worst economic report since the low point of the recession in 2009,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

"The Republican House has sent Harry Reid and Democrats in the Senate dozens of bills to help jump start our economy and it's time they stop standing in the way," he added.

Obvious reactions aside, the real question for politicos and journalist is this: How does the White House respond to this news?

That is, after spending years touting steady growth and the economic benefits of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature domestic achievement, how does the White House respond to news of the worst economic contraction since he took office?

It wasn't too long ago that former White House press secretary Jay Carney bragged that Obamacare had saved the economy in the first quarter from contracting.

“The fact of the matter is, and the GDP report makes it clear that it was consumer spending on health care that helped drive economic growth in the first quarter, and that is directly related to the increase of people who have insurance because of the Affordable Care Act,” Carney said during a press briefing.

The White House's claim that health care spending rescued the economy in the first quarter was backed generously by the usual suspects in the press:


So here we are: The economy has contracted in a big way and health care spending wasn't as robust as initial estimates projected.

Is Obamacare not the economic boon we were promised?

What will be interesting is seeing how White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest handles questions regarding Wednesday's economic news.

Some White House allies have already blamed the decline in GDP on winter (because this is apparently the first time that snow has fallen in the United States). This is obviously a silly claim:


It'll be wildly entertaining -- and maybe even a little sad -- to see if the White House adopts this "winter-wrecked-the-economy" line.