Oh good heavens, it looks like we've got some trouble in Mittens Land. The presidential candidate formerly known as Willard Romney has been yapping to anyone who'll listen that President Obama made the recession "worse" since coming into office. This is a defensible line under the loose standards of Republican primary campaign rhetoric; he could argue that Obama's policies on net hampered what would've been a quicker recovery. Could. So is this a line that he egregiously lied about ever saying yesterday? It's tricky!
MSNBC cites two recent examples where Mitt Romney has used this "worse" line. In New Hampshire on Monday, he said, "The people of New Hampshire have waited long enough. They want to see good jobs. They want to see rising incomes. They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse." And from the New Hampshire debate earlier this month: "He didn't create the recession, but he made it worse and longer."
KROLL: You continue to say that the economy is worse, but unemployment is lower than it was in 2009, the stock market was tumbling and it's now above 12,000, and it is growing slowly, we just had a two percent gain this last quarter. So how can you continue to say that things are worse when they really aren't worse?
ROMNEY: I didn't say that things are worse. What I said was that economy hasn't turned around, that you've got 20 million Americans out of work, or seriously unemployed; housing values still going down. You have a crisis of foreclosures in this country. The economy, by the way, if you think the economy is great and going well, be my guest. But the president of the United States, when he put in place his stimulus plan and borrowed $787 billion, said he would hold unemployment below 8% — and 8% seemed like an awfully high number. It hasn't been below 8% since. That's failure. We're over 9% unemployment. That's failure. He set the bogie himself at 8% ,which strikes me as a very high number and we're still above that three years later.
So Mitt Romney has been going around saying Obama's policies made the recession worse, but the question posed to him was about how he can say the economy is worse now, when we're in a state of slow growth rather than contraction. It's not a "flip-flop" if he means that the economy would be growing out of recession more rapidly now in the absence of Obama's policies. That may be a crappy economic take, but it doesn't necessarily mean he lied about what he said earlier.
Christ, was that a defense of Mitt Romney's lazy slogans? Cocktail time just got pushed up a couple hours.
[Image via AP]