Rick Perry is up on the air in Iowa with a campaign ad that aims to get the focus away from the birther talk, away from his debate stumbles, away from immigration, and help the Texas governor recover his standing in the polls by focusing on jobs.

In the 30-second spot, Perry looks straight into the camera, touts his record of creating 1 million jobs in Texas and criticizes Obama for the loss of 2.5 million jobs. It begins with this opening statement:


Perry speaks in Gray Court, S.C. (Richard Shiro/AP)

A bit of context. The current unemployment rate is 9.1 percent and there are 14 million people out of work; if you count the underemployed the figure jumps to 26 million. In all, the economy has lost 8.7 million jobs since the start of the recession in December 2007 up until early 2010, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Given the magnitude of the problem, Perry’s promise of creating at least 2.5 million jobs would earn him bragging rights in Texas, but over a four-year term, would only put a dent in the jobless rate.

A bit more context. President Jimmy Carter, the poster boy for failed Democratic presidents, created 10.5 million jobs in four years, according to the Wall Street Journal which tallied job records going back to Harry Truman. Bill Clinton created 23.1 million jobs and beat an incumbent president, George H. W. Bush, who created 2.5 million jobs in one term.George W. Bush, over eight years, created 3 million jobs.

So Perry’s pledge of creating at least 2.5 million jobs means that he is setting a very low bar. (By comparison, Romney says his economic plan would create 11.5 million new jobs over the first term.)

In other words, Perry is promising to create far fewer jobs than not only his rival, but far fewer than Carter. His goal, at least according to his campaign ad, seems to be matching Bush’s record on job creation. Maybe it’s a Texas thing. (h/t Glenn Kessler, The Fact Checker)

WHERE TO FIND THE CANDIDATES:

Herman Cain will be in New York for an education forum. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will also be in attendance. Cain then heads to Springdale, Ark., for a Washington County Lincoln Day Dinner.

Ron Paul will be in New Hampshire for a house party in Hollis at 6:30 p.m.

WORTH READING:

Marco Rubio not a surefire draw for Latino voters

Herman Cain’s brilliant strategy

Rick Perry ignoring the Texas press

23 Republicans and 6 Democrats have filed for New Hampshire presidential ballot

Unemployed still hoping, looking

WORTH WATCHING: Cain on why he is still ahead