President Obama’s spokesman pointed to President George W. Bush’s record to explain why American incomes fell more, during and after the 2009 stimulus and recovery, than they did even during the recession.

“I think that the study you’re citing is testimony to the depth of the recession that we encountered and, you know, the fact that it’s going to continue to take significant efforts to move ourselves forward,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told ABC’s Jake Tapper today during the press briefing.

Carney was trying to explain why “American incomes declined more in the three-year expansion that started in June 2009 than during the longest recession since the Great Depression,” according to Sentier Research’s analysis of Census Bureau Data.

“Almost every group is worse off than it was three years ago, and some groups had very large declines in income,” Gordon Green, who helped lead the study, told Bloomberg News last week.

Carney took the rare step of referring to Obama’s predecessor by name during the briefing when Tapper asked him about the study.

“During that previous expansion that you noted, under President George W. Bush, the middle class saw its income stagnate or decline, and that was during an economic expansion prior to a cataclysmic recession that had a devastating impact on the country’s economy and the middle class,” he said.

President Obama, in an interview last week that was published today, reflected on the stimulus and concluded that he didn’t do a good job of convincing Americans that it was a good idea. “[W]e didn’t have the luxury of six months to explain exactly what we were doing with the Recovery Act, which was basically a jobs act and making-sure-middle-class-families-didn’t-fall-into-poverty act,” he told Time Magazine.