Mitt Romney sat down with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, and made a curious observation. He said voters who want a strong economy should vote for him, but Americans “ought to give, whichever president is going to be elected, at least six months or a year to get those policies in place.”
At first blush, that may sound fairly reasonable. A president takes office, he or she needs time to put a team in place, craft an agenda, and get to work. What’s more, we generally don’t see the results of economic policies immediately; the agenda needs time to take effect. In Romney’s mind, six months to a year seems fair.
But let’s go ahead and apply this standard to President Obama, who took office in the midst of the worst global economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. Hey, look, here’s a new chart I put together.
Throughout the presidential campaign, Romney has said the clock should start in February 2009, Obama’s first month in office. If that’s fair – if the president deserves the blame for every job lost on his 11th day in office – it’s true that under Obama, the economy is still in a deep hole and hasn’t fully recovered from the losses of early 2009.
But look what happens when we start the clock, as Romney suggests, six months to a year after President Obama was sworn in. In fact, if we don’t hold Obama’s first year against him, the economy has added over 3.7 million jobs overall during his presidency, and over 4.2 million in the private sector.
That’s not the count by my standard; that’s the count by Romney’s standard.
What’s more, I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention this great video put together by our friends at “Up with Chris Hayes,” judging Obama’s jobs record by the standard Romney applied to his term as governor. At this rate, I half-expect Romney to simply endorse Obama and celebrate the president’s economic successes.