The first few paragraphs of this New York Times article paint an ugly portrait:
The Commerce Department said Thursday that the United States economy grew at an annual pace of just 1.3 percent in the second quarter of the year, showing that the recovery came close to stalling in the spring. The revision was down from the 1.7 percent rate the government reported in August. The economy grew at a 2 percent pace in the first quarter of the year and 3 percent at the end of 2011.
With just 40 days to go until the election, the weak growth figure was sure to take on a strong political resonance. Mitt Romney has battered President Obama for failing to foster a robust recovery and has pinned the economy’s weak jobs growth on his policies. Mr. Obama has conceded that the recovery has been anemic, but has argued that his administration put the economy on the right track after the worst recession since the Great Depression.