Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes said the U.S. economy is dealing with “unprecedented growth,” and declined to say if the country is in a recession after six months of declining production, during an interview on Sunday.

Barnes, the presumptive Democratic nominee, tried to put a positive spin on the grim economic news by blaming U.S. economic problems on job creation and a low unemployment rate.

“Are we in a recession?” asked a reporter with WKOW-TV.

“Well, I’ll tell you, we have seen unprecedented growth for a long time right now,” said Barnes.

When asked what he meant by growth, Barnes responded that “growth is what leads to inflation.”

“The fact that we’ve had more job growth, the fact the unemployment rate is so low, the unfortunate reality that oil and gas companies are having record profit years while gas prices continue to rise across the country,” he said.

Barnes’s comments come as the Biden administration has scrambled to redefine the term “recession,” which has been traditionally characterized by two straight quarters of declining GDP.

Barnes is expected to face off against Republican incumbent senator Ron Johnson in the November election, after clearing the Democratic field last week. The Democratic primary is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Barnes, the current Wisconsin lieutenant governor, has had a rocky start when it comes to public speaking. During a major address last week, he said he was running against “Scott Walker,” who he called “one of the worst senators this state has ever had.” Walker is the former governor of Wisconsin who left office in 2019.

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