Carly Fiorina acknowledged Sunday that one of the facts she used to criticize President Obama during the third GOP presidential debate last week was misleading, after fact-checkers called her out.
“In this particular case, the fact-checkers are correct,” Fiorina said on ABC’s “This Week.” Fiorina had said that 92% of the jobs lost during Obama’s first term were held by women. “The 92% it turns out was the first three-and-a-half years of his term and in the final six months things improved.”
Still, Fiorina argued that her message – albeit not her statistic – was correct.
“This is what the liberal media always does – it attacks the messenger trying to avoid the message – here is the message, it is factually true that women have been hit very hard by progressive policies. It is factually true that the women living in extreme poverty is at the highest rate in recorded history, it’s factually true that 16.1 percent of women live below the poverty line, the highest level in 20 years, it’s factually true that 3 million have fallen into poverty, there is no denying that progressive policies have been bad for women,” the Republican candidate said, nearly shouting over the moderator to finish her point.
The 92% statistic is not new to fact-checkers; it was first championed by the GOP’s last nominee Mitt Romney in 2012. He cited numbers between January 2009 and March 2012, when there were 749,000 fewer non-farm payroll jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of that amount, 683,000 – 92% – were indeed held by women.
But, as fact-checkers pointed out when Romney first made the claim, the president took office two-years into a recession and the job losses cannot be entirely blamed on his leadership. Furthermore, overall during the Great Recession, too, more men lost their jobs in the recession – they just lost them earlier in the recession.
While Romney’s numbers were up to date during his race, by Wednesday’s debate when Fiorina re-upped the remark, the full numbers of job losses during Obama’s first term were readily available: the number of women employed in the U.S. from January 2009 to January 2013 actually increased.