In response to the Obama campaign’s attacks against Mitt Romney’s job creation record as governor of Massachusetts, the Romney campaign has come up with a surprising defense: that Romney inherited a bad economy, and deserves credit for leaving the situation slightly improved.
In other words, they are tacitly endorsing President Obama’s justification for his own economic record.
The Romney campaign first unveiled the strategy in a press release last week, arguing that “Governor Romney inherited an economy that was losing jobs each month and left office with an economy that was adding jobs each month.” As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, “Obama’s campaign team could effectively issue the identical press release, after just swapping out the president’s name for Romney’s, and changing ‘state’ to ‘nation.'”
Now two key Romney advisers have doubled down on this line of defense. On ABC’s “This Week,” Eric Fehrnstrom argued that
On the jobs question, because this comes up repeatedly that Massachusetts was 47 out of 50 in terms of jobs growth…Actually, when Mitt Romney arrived, Massachusetts was an economic basket house. If you throw D.C. into the mix, we were 51 out of 51. By the time Mitt Romney left four years later, we were in the middle of the pack. We were 30th in the nation in terms of job growth.
Along the same lines, senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace
This is what they’re doing, Chris…You take the first year, which is a low base year when the governor came in and took office, because it was 50th in job creation out of all of the states, dead last … and they’re averaging out over the four years. So, they are bringing down the gains of his fourth year in office, which shows the real impact of his policies and diluting it with the first year in office.
If Gillespie understands what the Obama campaign is doing, it’s because Team Romney has repeatedly used the exact same logic while trashing Obama’s “net negative record” on job creation. By claiming that Romney should not be held accountable for job losses that happened before his economic policies took full effect, Gillespie and Fehrnstrom are directly contradicting their primary attack against the president’s record.
Obama adviser David Axelrod best summed up the absurdity of the Romney campaign’s double standard: “They’re kidding, right?