In an interview with Time magazine, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney pledged six percent unemployment by the end of his first term in office.
“I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we’d put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, and perhaps a little lower,” he told Mark Halperin.
Unemployment currently stands at 8.1 percent.
Romney first pledged 5.9 percent unemployment when he released his economic plan in September of 2011, but he has not repeated the number since.
The candidate said earlier this month, when April job numbers were released, that “anything near 8 percent or over 4 percent is not cause for celebration.”
Setting a high-profile, specific goal could be risky for Romney should he win this fall. But during the campaign, it’s a specific, ambitious marker he can use to highlight what he believes to be the failed economic policies of the current president. And current CBO and OMB projections suggest unemployment will fall to about 6 percent in 2016.
Romney and other Republicans have repeatedly claimed that Obama promised the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent. That number was a projection from Obama’s economic advisers outlining various stimulus scenarios, written before the president took office.
Should he win, Romney said he hopes to start working on the economy right away. “My preference would be to have the opportunity to do that after the election as opposed to have the President in a lame-duck session try and create a solution that may not be in keeping with the new administration,” he said.
Asked if he welcomed scrutiny of his record at the private equity firm Bain Capital, Romney replied that he would focus on Obama’s record.
“[T]he American people are interested in, not so much in the history of where I was at Bain Capital, or that I have understanding of the private sector, but instead, has the President made things better for the American people?” he said. But, Romney added, “having been in the private sector for twenty five years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created.”