At an event today in Mississippi, Mitt Romney attacked the new Obama campaign video as an “infomercial” and blasted the President over “the 24 million Americans who are out of work or underemployed in this country.” That’s to be expected — this figure is a standard feature of his stump speech.
However, this detail, reported by ABC News, is a bit surprising:
After his event, Romney declined to answer reporters’ questions about the Friday jobs report.
MSNBC reports the same thing:
The former Massachusetts governor ignored reporters’ questions about the report, and did not address it in his remarks, leveling his usual criticisms at the president instead.
“Don’t forget by the way that this President, how many months ago was it, 37 months ago, told us that if he could borrow $787 billion, almost $1 trillion, he would keep unemployment below 8 percent. It has not been below 8 percent since. This president has not succeeded, this president has failed, and that’s the reason we’re going to get rid of him in 2012,” Romney said to a standing ovation.
By the way, in making the claim that the President promised that his stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent, Romney is — yet again — repeating an already debunked falsehood. However, this stands as a reminder that even if the jobs numbers have been good lately, unemployment is still unacceptably high. This is the first time in months that the unemployment rate hasn’t fallen, and Obama is still very vulnerable politically because of it.
That aside, it’s a bit odd that Romney devoted much of his speech today to the state of economy, but didn’t seem to want to address the most concrete and up-to-date metric we have on its performance and direction — the improving jobs numbers. After all, it seems likely that Romney would have been eager to talk about the jobs numbers if the news had been bad.
UPDATE: Romney just put out a statement on the monthly jobs report that focus almost entirely on the unemployment rate, proclaiming: “The president has failed.”
The only mention of the jobs numbers in the entire statement is one quote from CNBC’s Brian Sullivan: “We’re going to need three and four hundred thousand jobs a month created to get back to where we were. At this rate of job creation it will take us a decade to get back to pre-recession employment levels.” There’s no acknowledgement at all of the numbers themselves.
Interestingly, this is in contrast to Romney’s statement last month, in which he acknowledged the good news.