“Mitt Romney turned around dozens of American companies and helped create thousands of jobs. He rescued an Olympics hit by scandal; took over a state facing huge deficits, and he turned it around without raising taxes, vetoing hundreds of bills.”
— Comments in recent ad by pro-Romney PAC Restore our Future
The claims in this ad cover just about about everything we fact-checked for the Mitt Romney biographical series, minus the comment about vetoes. The commercial has been running frequently in Iowa, so we’ll rehash some of the issues we found with its assertions, all of which echo previous remarks by the former Massachusetts governor.
Romney co-founded and led the investment firm Bain Capital, which made an incredibly pretty penny as a pioneer in the field of leveraged buyouts, according to a prospectus obtained by the L.A. Times.
Neither Bain nor the Romney campaign has provided proof that the company created thousands of jobs during Romney’s tenure. His campaign simply mentioned a few start-ups such as Staples and Sports Authority that now employ tens of thousands of people on the whole.
But that doesn’t account for possible job losses with other companies. For instance, we know from past news reports that Bain businesses, including Ampad, Dade International and LIVE Entertainment, laid off a combined 2,351 workers under Romney’s leadership.
Romney’s record at Bain proves that he can produce enormous returns for investors, but that doesn’t necessarily prove he can create jobs. The evidence available suggests his old firm probably created more jobs than it eliminated, but we can’t say for sure that the ad is right. We awarded this claim a Verdict Pending in the past.
As for the Olympic turnaround, we found little fault with that assertion. In fact, we gave Romney a rare Geppetto check mark for his claims on that subject.
However, it’s worth noting that some people who were involved in planning the games have suggested that Romney exaggerated the Salt Lake Olympic Committee’s problems, and then hogged the glory when things went well — perhaps with a run for governor in the back of his mind.
In terms of Romney tackling budget deficits without raising taxes, the ad paints only a partial picture of the former governor’s fiscal policies in Massachusetts. He actually created hundreds of millions of dollars in new fees and closed as much as $1.5 billion worth of corporate tax loopholes. The most hardcore anti-tax conservatives might call those measures tax hikes by another name.
Romney has suggested that the fee hikes and loophole closures were fair and long overdue, but he could be more upfront about reaching into taxpayers’ pockets by means other than direct tax hikes. Instead, he talks in terms that cuts-only conservatives like to hear. We awarded the candidate one Pinocchio for asserting he’s never raised taxes.
We didn’t cover the veto issue in our Romney series, but we can address that now.
As a recent FactCheck.org article pointed out, Romney attempted at least 800 line-item vetoes, but the heavily Democratic Massachusetts Legislature overrode 707 of those.
At best, Romney can claim responsibility for 93 un-overturned vetoes, and it’s infinitely debatable whether they truly helped Massachusetts prosper during his term. As for those attempted vetoes, they couldn’t possibly have a bearing on the state’s fortunes.
It’s worth noting that Massachusetts’s Republicans lawmakers sometimes defied Romney’s vetoes. For example, the legislature unanimously overturned his attempt to reject a minimum wage bill in 2006.
THE PINOCCHIO TEST
Restore our Future deserves two Pinocchios for its comments about the Romney vetoes, and two more for its assertions about the former governor turning around the Bay State’s finances without tax hikes. But the ad redeems itself with its claim about the Olympics and, to a much lesser extent, its remarks about Bain’s job-creating prowess. Overall, the PAC earns two Pinocchios.
Check out our candidate Pinocchio Tracker