It's the economy, stupid

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"It's the economy, stupid" is a slight variation of the phrase "The economy, stupid", which James Carville had coined as a campaign strategist of Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against sitting president George H. W. Bush.

Carville's original phrase was meant for the internal audience of Clinton's campaign workers as one of the three messages to focus on, the other two messages being "Change vs. more of the same" and "Don't forget health care."

Clinton's campaign advantageously used the then-prevailing recession in the United States as one of the campaign's means to successfully unseat George H. W. Bush. In March 1991, days after the ground invasion of Iraq, 90% of polled Americans approved of President Bush's job performance.[1] Later the next year, Americans' opinions had turned sharply; 64% of polled Americans disapproved of Bush's job performance in August 1992.[1]


In order to keep the campaign on message, Carville hung a sign in Bill Clinton's Little Rock campaign headquarters that read:

  1. Change vs. more of the same. That slogan was later recycled during the United States presidential election, 2008 campaign[2]
  2. The economy, stupid
  3. Don't forget health care.[3]

Although the sign was intended for an internal audience of campaign workers, the phrase became a de facto slogan for the Clinton election campaign.


The phrase has become a snowclone repeated often in American political culture, usually starting with the word "it's" and with commentators sometimes using a different word in place of "economy." Examples include "It's the deficit, stupid!"[4] "It's the corporation, stupid!"[5] "It's the math, stupid!"[6] and "It's the voters, stupid!".[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Agiesta, Jennifer. Approval Highs and Lows Archived 2008-10-12 at the Wayback Machine. The Washington Post. 2007-07-24.
  2. ^ Biden, Joe (August 27, 2008), acceptance speech at DNC, Denver, American Rhetoric online speech bank
  3. ^ Kelly, Michael (October 31, 1992). "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: The Democrats -- Clinton and Bush Compete to Be Champion of Change; Democrat Fights Perceptions of Bush Gain". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Plumer, Bradford. It's the Deficit, Stupid!. Mother Jones. 2004-09-16.
  5. ^ Ivins, Molly. It's the Corporation, Stupid. AlterNet. 2006-02-23.
  6. ^ Falvey, Christopher J. It's the Math, Stupid. The VN/VO. 2005-01-03.
  7. ^ It's the Voters, Stupid Time 2008-01-21