On the stump, President Obama likes to claim, “Over the last three and a half years, we’ve created 4.5 million new jobs.” This is actually false. According to the latest Department of Labor data, even measuring from the depths of the recession, only 4 million jobs have been created under Obama.

What Obama probably means is that the economy has created 4.5 million private sector jobs since the recession bottomed out. Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter made that more careful claim here.

But more importantly, by starting the count at the bottom of the job market, instead of at the beginning of his term, both the Obama and Cutter statements put Obama’s job record in the best possible light. The Democrats did not start the clock at the bottom of the 2001 recession when they attacked President Bush in 2004.

If we treat Obama and Bush equally then, this is how their total job creation records stack up through similar points in their presidencies:

U.S. jobs in January 2001: 132.46 million
U.S. jobs in January 2009: 133.56 million
U.S. jobs 29 months after recovery: 135.1 million
U.S. jobs 29 months after recovery: 133.24 million
Source: Department of Labor