Yesterday over at the Washington Post Greg Sargent blows a gasket over a quote circulated by the Romney campaign (Sargent’s emphasis in bold):
“This is a president who lost more jobs during his tenure than any president since Hoover. This is 2 million jobs that he lost as President. And by the way, when he was overseeing General Motors and Chrysler, how many factories did he close? How many dealerships? How many thousands upon thousands of Americans had to be let go in an effort to try and save those businesses? That’s what we did in our business. And I’m very happy in my former life; we helped create over 100,000 new jobs. By the way, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president’s created in the entire country. So if the President wants to talk about jobs, and I hope he does, we’ll be comparing my record with his record and he comes up very, very short.”
To which Sargent, whom you can regularly read railing against timid media on Twitter, decries the lack of followup questioning on where Romney gets his 100,000 job creation number. The first part – the President loosing 2 million jobs in his tenure – is where it gets a little dicey. Sargent:
Meanwhile, Romney’s claim that two million jobs were lost under the Obama presidency is based on the idea that there’s been a net loss of jobs since he took office. In other words, Romney is taking into account the fact that the economy continued hemorraghing jobs at a furious rate after Obama took office — before Obama’s stimulus passed. But the figures show that once it became law, monthly job loss declined over time, and turned around in the spring of 2010, after which the private sector added jobs for over 20 straight months, totaling around 2.2 million of them.
It’s also a point that Paul Krugman picks up, but also includes a helpful graph:
Does this look to you like a president who “lost jobs”, or like a president who inherited an economy in free fall? You can accuse Obama of not doing enough to promote recovery — and I have (although the biggest villain here was Romney’s own party). But to claim that Obama caused the job loss is indefensible.
Of course Romney didn’t say that Obama caused those job losses, only through inference does he mean to lay responsibility for such losses on the President. Perhaps there isn’t much of a difference there – splitting hairs is a politicians forte – but the obvious question for Mr. Romney is, as Steve Benen writes, whether you’d like to go back to the bottom of the recession?
The “A” marks where we were when the economy crashed, and the “B” marks were we are now. Can anyone explain why Romney thinks “A” is preferable to “B”?