A great deal of criticism has been generated by the Republican Party about recent Democrat remarks that said Americans were better off today than when Barack Obama took office. But it turns out that Mitt Romney said something similar earlier this year.
In mid-January Romney, then almost assured of the GOP nomination he's since gone on to win, was speaking with blogger and radio host Laura Ingraham on her radio show when she asked the former Massachusetts governor about the U.S. economy. Here's some of the transcript from that interview:
Ingraham: You’ve also noted that there are signs of improvement on the horizon in the economy. How do you answer the president’s argument that the economy is getting better in a general election campaign if you yourself are saying it’s getting better?
Romney: Well, of course it’s getting better. The economy always gets better after a recession, there is always a recovery.
Ingraham: Isn’t it a hard argument to make if you’re saying, like, OK, he inherited this recession, he took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around, and now, we’re seeing more jobs, but vote against him anyway? Isn’t that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast?
Romney: Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the truth.
The Republicans, lead by Romney and V.P. nominee, Paul Ryan, reacted strongly to statements made by Vice-President Joe Biden and Virginia Sen. (D.) Mark Warner stating that things have improved under Obama. Biden told a rally in Detroit: "I've got a better off. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!"
But the Republicans are now saying the country's economy has not improved and that the average American's life is harder than it was when Obama moved into the White House.
U.S. economy: private sector job increases
When the Democrats took office in January of 2009 the U.S. economy was in a free fall in a time when the world economy was badly faltering. The Bush administration had bailed out the U.S. financial system to the tune of $700 billion and the economy was losing 800,000 jobs monthly. In September of 2008 mortgage kingpins Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were put into conservatorship by the Republicans, an action described by the Bush-appointed Chairman of the Oversight Board of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, James B. Lockhart III as "one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades."
When he spoke of an improving economy, Romney was likely aware December of 2011 was the 22nd consecutive month the U.S. economy gained private sector jobs. Further, while the unemployment rate remains high there are other signs of improvement. However, in contrast to his January acknowledgment, during this recent period when he and his party have focused criticism on the economy, Romney has refrained from making any statements to the effect that the U.S. economy is getting better.
President Obama gives himself "incomplete" grade
Meanwhile, on a TV show in Colorado filmed on Sunday and aired Monday, Obama was asked to grade himself on his nearly four years as President. Reporter Dianne Derby of KKTV in Colorado asked: “Your party says you inherited a bad situation, you’ve had three and a half years to fix it, what grade would you give yourself so far for doing that?”
“You know I would say incomplete," the President said. "But what I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term.”
President Obama and the Democrats open their convention today (Tuesday) in Charlotte, North Carolina; it runs through Thursday.