Mitt Romney has been dogged by an unfortunate statistic for his entire campaign: When he was governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th in job creation. President Obama's campaign has ramped up the attack this week in response to Romney's assertion that he knows how to create jobs — a fact he says is backed up by his record in the private sector. Sunday, Romney's campaign struck back with a new line of defense: Romney stepped into a serious situation and improved it.
If it sounds familiar, it should — it's the same line of reasoning that Obama is using to persuade voters to stick with his policies.
Twice on Sunday, Romney's advisers appeared on television armed with different numbers than the ones wielded by the Obama campaign. On ABC's "This Week," Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom duked it out over Romney's Massachusetts record.
Massachusetts "did fall to 47th out of 50 in jobs creation," Cutter said on ABC's "This Week." "Wages went down when they were going up in the rest of the country. He left his successor with debt and a deficit, and manufacturing jobs left that state at twice the rate as the rest of the country."
Fehrnstrom disputed the stat...
Senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie had a similar exchange with "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. "When [Romney] took office it was No. 50 in job creation. Actually 51 if you count the District of Columbia," Gillespie said.
Wallace: "We will check out the numbers."
Gillespie: "Well, check it out, OK? And when ended his term in office, his four years in office, it was number 30. So, he moved it dramatically."
Wallace: "Over the four years, it was 47th. There was no question about that."
Behind the Romney campaign's numbers is an argument that actually mirrors what the Obama campaign has been saying about the president's job-creation record. The Romney team is arguing that Obama is not taking into account the fact that Romney inherited a tough situation.