In this Oct. 16, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney exchange views during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
David Goldman/AP Photo

‘Wow, 6 percent sounds pretty good’

During the last presidential campaign, Mitt Romney argued that he, and he alone, could give the economy a terrific boost. Sure, President Obama’s policies had successfully ended the Great Recession, but a Romney/Ryan administration would send the economy into overdrive.
In May 2012, the Republican candidate sat down with Mark Halperin, who pressed Romney to get specific about what Americans could expect to see under his presidency.
HALPERIN: Would you like to be more specific about what the unemployment rate would be like at the end of your first year?
ROMNEY: I cannot predict precisely what the rate would be at the end of one year. I can tell you that over a period of four years, by a virtue of the polices that we put in place, we get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower.
Yep, Romney said that if he were elected, and given a chance to implement his bold economic vision, freeing the nation of the scourge that is Obama’s crushing agenda, the unemployment rate would drop to “6 percent” – maybe even “a little lower” – by the end of 2016.
Of course, President Obama defeated Romney with relative ease, leaving Americans with economic policies that helped push the unemployment rate to 5.9% – in the middle of 2014, more than two full years ahead of Romney’s goal.
As my pal Xenos joked, “By Romney’s own standards, he should be glad that he lost the presidency. After all, would he really want to subject the American people to another two years of less than impressive job growth?”
Shortly after making the promise, Romney appeared on Fox News to tout his ambitious prediction. “People all across the country are saying, ‘Wow, 6 percent sounds pretty good,’” the Republican boasted.
Yes, governor, it actually does. When we learned last week that the jobless rate dropped to 5.9%, and the United States is on track for the best year for job creation since the ’90s, many of us thought it did sound “pretty good.”
Oddly enough, as Romney routinely makes the rounds, constantly appearing in the media to complain about the president, this prediction about unemployment never seems to come up. Maybe someone ought to ask him about it.