When President Obama took office, the economy was hemorrhaging jobs at pace unseen in generations. Nine months into his first year, the economy was starting to lose jobs at a slower pace, but the cumulative damage pushed the unemployment rate higher, spiking at 10 percent.
It’s been improving ever since, including a drop in overall jobless rate from 9.1 percent to 7.8 percent over the last year. It’s the best election-year improvement in the unemployment figures since Reagan’s “Morning in America” re-election bid in 1984.
With this in mind, I rediscovered this clip while going through some notes over the weekend.
The video, originally uncovered by American Bridge in July, shows then-Gov. Mitt Romney in June 2006, reflecting on job creation in Massachusetts under his one term. Listening to the comments now, with the benefit of context and hindsight, Romney practically seems to be endorsing President Obama.
“I came in and the jobs had been just falling off a cliff. And I came in and they kept falling for 11 months. And then we turned around and we’re coming back. And that’s progress.
“And if you’re going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should immediately turn around, well that would be silly. It takes a while to get things turned around. We were in a recession; we were losing jobs every month, we’ve turned around, and since the turn around we’ve added 50,000 jobs. That’s progress.
“There will be some people who try to say, ‘Well governor, net-net you’ve only added a few thousand jobs since you’ve been in.’ Yeah, but … we were in free-fall for three years and the last year of that I happened to be here and then we’ve turned it around as a state, private sector, government sector turned it around and now we’re adding jobs…. I’m very pleased that over the last two, two-and-a-half years we’ve seen pretty consistent job growth.”
It’s just remarkable how much this reads like a defense of Obama. The president came in, jobs were falling off a cliff, and now the economy is coming back. The new version of Romney thinks the job market should have turned around “immediately,” but the previous version of Romney thought this was “silly,” because it “takes a while to get things turned around.”
Romney was “very pleased” by “pretty consistent job growth” for two-and-a-half years? Over the last 30 months, American businesses have added over 5 million jobs.
As we talked about in July, Obama could recite Romney’s comments, almost word for word, right now. And if he did, Romney, Republicans, and most of the media would reject it as unpersuasive, borderline desperate, spin.
The facts, however, are plain for anyone who cares about them.