No matter how many times independent fact checkers debunk it, Mitt Romney will continue making the claim. The Boston Globe reports:
“He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse,” Romney said during a visit to the lead presidential primary state, here he has staked much of his campaign. “It will be essential to have a person who understands how the economy works, understands what it takes to create and grow jobs, in the White House.”
The Globe piece doesn’t tell you this, but Romney’s claim — which is now central to his sales pitch — has been repeatedly knocked down. After Romney made the assertion his announcement speech, fact checkers demolished it.
As Post fact checker Glenn Kessler noted, the National Bureau of Economic Research said the recession ended in June of 2009. Kessler concluded: “with NBER saying the economy is now out of a recession, it is difficult to see how Romney can claim that Obama made it worse.”
The Associated Press, meanwhile, pointed out that the gross domestic product, the prime measure of economic strength, picked up modestly after he took office, adding that while unemployment is still very high, the “recession officially ended six months into his presidency.”
“Obama did not, as Romney alleged, make the economy worse than it was when he took office,” the AP concluded.
Yet Romney is cheerfully repeating the bogus claim again.
Again, what we’re seeing here are the limits of fact-checking — something we rediscover every cycle. Candidates, party committees and outside groups make false claims. Media fact-checkers go to work and debunk the claims. The candidates and groups go right on making them anyway. Reporters stop pointing out that they’re false.
No question, unemployment remains chronically high, and this is a major political problem for Obama, but has anyone asked Romney on the trail to justify his continuing assertion as outright fact that Obama made the recession “worse”? It has now become absolutely central to his campaign message, yet it’s finding its way into story after story and segment after segment with no rebuttal whatsoever. Readers and viewers aren’t even being told that this is a contested claim, let alone that according to available metrics, it’s outright false.