While accepting Donald Trump’s endorsement yesterday, Mitt Romney repeated one of the central arguments of his entire candidacy: “[President Obama is] frequently telling us that he did not cause the recession, and that’s true. But he made it worse.”
Part of the problem with the claim is that Mitt Romney strongly disagrees with Mitt Romney. The likely Republican presidential nominee has said, consistently and frequently in recent weeks, that the U.S. economy is improving under President Obama. To be sure, the former governor doesn’t believe Obama deserves credit for these developments, but Romney has nevertheless said, over and over again, that the economy is “getting better.”
He can argue that the economy is better, or he can argue the economy is worse. Even Romney should realize, however, he can’t argue both at the same time.
The more glaring issue is how wrong Romney – at least yesterday’s version – has the facts wrong.
Here’s a chart, for example, showing the change in private-sector job totals by month since the start of the Great Recession, with red columns showing the months when George W. Bush was president and the blue columns showing the Obama era.
And here’s a chart showing private-sector job totals by year over the last two decades.
And here’s a chart showing economic growth by quarter since the start of the recession.
And here’s a chart showing the Dow Jones Industrial Average since Obama took office.
The question reporters might want to pose to Romney is simple; in what universe did Obama make the recession “worse”?