Below please find a roundup of the latest news clips accounting Mitt Romney's latest flip-flop: Romney is now denying his repeated claims that President Obama made the economy worse--something that many independent fact checkers proved wrong and that he's denying he said. What's even more shocking about this reversal is that Romney's claims were not offhanded comments, but rather central to his so-called campaign argument.
Yesterday Mitt Romney backtracked on one of his core campaign messages — that Obama made the economy “worse” — and the Democratic National Committee has rushed out a new video documenting the flip-flop with footage. It shows Romney claiming yesterday that he never said the economy got worse, followed by footage of Romney previously making that exact claim three times: “Mitt Romney was caught red handed by one independent fact checker after another not telling the truth about the state of the economy,” DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse says. “Rather than admitting he was wrong and apologizing he’s now trying to deny he ever said it.”
NBC // Mark Murray and Matt Loffman
Over the last few weeks, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has argued that President Obama's policies have made the economy worse .Here was Romney in New Hampshire on Monday:The people of New Hampshire have waited long enough. They want to see good jobs. They want to see rising incomes. They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse. And he said something similar at the New Hampshire debate earlier this month:He didn't create the recession, but he made it worse and longer. But at his press conference today in Allentown, PA -- where he was highlighting a company that had closed, after President Obama touted it benefitting from the stimulus -- Romney backtracked on the he-made-it-worse line.When NBC producer Sue Kroll asked the former Massachusetts governor why he believes that Obama's policies have made the economy worse -- when the economy is now growing (and not shrinking like it was in 2009), when the Dow is climbing (and no longer in a free-fall like it was in '09), and when the unemployment rate is down a full percentage point from where it was in Oct. '09 -- Romney gave this answer :I didn't say that things are worse.
WaPo // Greg Sargent
* Uh, hello press corps? Romney has now flip-flopped on a central campaign message: Kudos to NBC for pressing Mitt Romney yesterday to justify his continuing claim that Obama made the recession “worse,” something he kept repeating even after it was repeatedly knocked down by independent fact-checkers.It got Romney to backtrack from his position: “I didn’t say that things are worse.”In fact, he made the claim in his presidential announcement speech, in his response to the recent bad jobs report, and again on the trail earlier this week.I’m with Steve Benen: Why is this not a bigger deal this morning? Romney is now insisting that he never made the claim that was quite literally one of his central campaign messages until yesterday. This is far more important than any silly little error Michele Bachmann makes about regional trivia.
Romney: OK, Maybe Obama Didn’t Make The Recession ‘Worse’
TPM //Benjy Sarlin
Mitt Romney walked back his oft-repeated claim that President Obama made the recession worse, telling reporters in Pennsylvania on Thursday that he never meant to suggest any such thing.Asked by NBC how he squared his claim that Obama worsened the lousy economy he inherited given that the stock market has surged, unemployment is down from its peak, and the economy is no longer shrinking, Romney demurred."I didn't say that things are worse," he said. He went on to make the case that Obama had failed to do enough on jobs, a much less inflammatory claim.In the past Romney has repeatedly argued the recession was both lengthier and more severe as a result of Obama's economic policies, a claim that has drawn the ire of some independent fact-checkers.But his latest explanation is a far cry from saying, for example, that the stimulus actually cost the economy jobs and slowed growth. While many critics on the right believe the legislation wasn't cost-effective or was poorly crafted, there are few credible experts who say that it didn't boost the economy in the short term. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, concluded in 2010 that it grew the economy by an additional 4% in its first year and that the recession would have continued significantly longer without its support. Romney himself called on Congress to pass a stimulus package in 2008 that contained many similar elements to the one President Obama signed, including tax relief and investments in renewable energy, and was premised on the same economic rationale.
Romney ‘makes it worse’ with obvious falsehood
Washington Monthly // Steve Benen
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has focused most his message on attacking President Obama’s economic record. To that end, the former governor has repeated a specific phrase over and over again: “He made it worse.”“He” in this sentence is the president, and “it” references the economy. Romney has used the exact same line, word for word, in debate appearances, press releases,exchanges with voters, and even his campaign kick-off speech, when Romney said of the president, “When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse.”This is, in other words, one of the driving messages of Romney’s presidential campaign. Unfortunately for the GOP frontrunner, it’s also a lie. With that in mind, Romney held a press conference yesterday in Pennsylvania, and NBC’s Sue Kroll, to her enormous credit, asked the candidate the question no other reporter has been willing to pose.Romney offered a response that was nothing short of extraordinary.“I didn’t say that things are worse…. What I said was that economy hasn’t turned around.”When a candidate lies, it’s a problem. When a candidate lies and lying, it’s a bigger problem. Even for Romney, who’s flip-flopped more often and on more issues than any American politician in a generation, this is ridiculous. He’s argued repeatedly that Obama made the economy worse, and when asked to defend the bogus claim, says he never made the argument in the first place.
Romney on the economy, then and today
Politico // Maggie Haberman
Mark Murray calls out Mitt Romney for a ticky-tack response today on President Obama's role in the nation's economic situation, one that was different than he gave a few days earlier.On Monday, in New Hampshire, Romney echoed his own line at the Granite State debate earlier this month, saying:"The people of New Hampshire have waited long enough. They want to see good jobs. They want to see rising incomes. They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse."Asked today in Pennsylvania why he feels things are worse, when economic indicators suggest some change, Romney said:"I didn't say that things are worse."Such moments don't resonate strongly at the granular level, but they are ready-made ad fare for when the race gets heated. And aside from the topic, they underscore the familiar criticisms about shifting stands.
Mitt Romney Backtracks: Economy Not Worse Under Obama
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, speaking Thursday at a press conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania, steered away from his recent claims that President Barack Obama's policies have worsened the economy.During the New Hampshire debate in early June, Romney said of Obama: "He didn't create the recession, but he made it worse and longer."Romney expanded on that thought on Monday, again from New Hampshire:The people of New Hampshire have waited long enough. They want to see good jobs. They want to see rising incomes. They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.But on Thursday, when questioned by an NBC producer why he believes the Obama polices have hurt the America's financial recovery, Romney did some back-tracking."I didn't say that things are worse," Romney said, speaking in front of the boarded-up Allentown Metal Works, a steel plant Obama once highlighted as benefiting from the stimulus.
Romney flip-flops, claims he never said Obama made economy worse
Daily Kos // Jed Lewison
Mitt Romney has predicated his entire campaign around the notion that Barack Obama has made the economy worse—and that he, Mitt Romney, is the guy who can make things better. It's a refrain he's used in just above every stump speech he's given of late, but two days ago in Pennsylvania, he suddenly denied ever using it: On Monday he said:They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.That's pretty much been Romney's mantra throughout his campaign. It not only undercuts the entire rationale he's offered for his candidacy, but it calls into question his veracity. Romney has made these kinds of strange statements before. For example, in late April he claimed America wasn't at war—that we are in the midst of a "peacetime" economy. Now he not only says that Barack Obama didn't make the economy worse, he also claims that he's never said that Obama made the economy worse. That's a big deal. And it's such a strange and self-destructive thing to say that I'm now beginning to rethink whether Romney is in fact the GOP's strongest candidate. With unforced errors like these, it's only a matter of time before he says something that puts him in Sue "Chickens for Checkups" Lowden territory.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on Thursday backtracked on a central theme of his presidential campaign: that President Obama has made a struggling U.S. economy even worse."I didn't say that things are worse," Romney said at a press conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania.The comments came in response to a question from an NBC producer who asked the putative front-runner for the Republican nomination to explain his factually inaccurate statements on the campaign trail about the struggling U.S. economy.And it was not just the one comment at the New Hampshire debate. Romney has made the "Obama made it worse" line a theme of his nascent campaign. On Monday in New Hampshire, Romney said "the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse."
Until Thursday in Pennsylvania. When he backtracked.
The New Republic // Jonathan Chait
I've always harbored a strange affinity for Mitt Romney, and his hilarious lies about how he's described the economy oddly help illuminate why: Over the last few weeks, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has argued that President Obama's policies have made the economy worse.But at his press conference today in Allentown, PA -- where he was highlighting a company that had closed, after President Obama touted it benefitting from the stimulus -- Romney backtracked on the he-made-it-worse line. But Romney does not, instinctively, want to dodge a question like that. He's not a natural bullshitter. The result is utterly dishonest, but the instinct underlying the result springs from a desire to engage intellectually rather than deflect the question with nonsensical talking points. I prefer straight-up dishonesty over bullshit. It's evidence of a logical mind at work.
Politico // Alexander Burns
The DNC pounces on Mitt Romney's Thursday fumble, when the GOP frontrunner denied having said President Obama made the economy worse: The Democratic National Committee doesn't typically put out clips of Republicans attacking the president over and over, but communications director Brad Woodhouse uses this one as an opportunity to make a character attack against Romney: "Mitt Romney was just plain wrong when he said the economy has gotten worse under President Obama and denying he ever said something that is forever available on YouTube has just made matters worse for a candidate who has already suffered from a reputation for not shooting straight with voters."
American Prospect // Jamelle Bouie
Essentially, Mitt Romney's pitch for the presidency rests on a single line, "He made it worse." In campaign ads, speeches and op-eds, Romney has attacked the president for lengthening the Great Recession. Yesterday, a reporter for NBC news called Romney on his bogus claim, and in response, Romney immediately backed away from what was previously the centerpiece of his campaign:“I didn’t say that things are worse…. What I said was that economy hasn’t turned around.”Compared to this, Michele Bachmann's John Quincy Adams gaffe isn't even worth a mention. Not only did Romney lie about Obama's handling of the economy, but then -- once caught in the lie -- he lied again. What's more, he backed down from the core message of his campaign, and ceded a tremendous amount of ground to the president. For the front-runner in a presidential nomination contest, it's an extremely amateur performance.