Obama campaign now attacking Romney on two fronts: private & public sector employment record


How fail is Mitt Romney? Let me count the ways.

We all know how hard it is to pin Mitt Romney down. That’s why, when he’s attacked on his private sector job growth history — and by “growth” I mean “you call that growth?” — he pivots to talking smack about public sector employees.

Rather than trying to keep up with his dancing, weaving and bobbing, the Obama campaign is simply hitting him on both fronts simultaneously.

Earlier this week, Romney said:

[President Obama] wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message in Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.

Hilariously, that was a bridge too far even for Wisconsin Governor Scott “Kill the unions with a blunt object” Walker:

I know in my state our reforms allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers, and teachers. That’s not what I think of when I think of big government.

That’s a pretty laughable statement coming from a guy like him but it’s even more laughable since he’s hammering Mitt Romney with it. Watch them go at it here:

As shown in the video, a Romney surrogate then doubled down on the statement. This was followed by the Romney campaign claiming they were “taken out of context”:

On a conference call with reporters yesterday on what they are calling “Mitt Romney’s Job Elimination Plan”, Obama for America Deputy Campaign Manager Steffanie Cutter reminded us that there are only 53 days left until Congress adjourns and they still haven’t passed President Obama’s Jobs Act. Yet their candidate for president is out talking smack about public employees and mocking the president for wanting to save the jobs of police officers, fire fighters and teachers. Apparently, she said, these workers aren’t “American people” if you listen to what Mitt Romney said. In fact, he is promoting a $5 trillion tax cut for the super wealthy that is paid for, in part, by cutting these employees.

Meanwhile, President Obama has saved the jobs of nearly 400,000 teachers. “It’s an investment well-worth making,” Cutter said. “We welcome a debate about who is out of touch.”

On that same call was Kevin Lang, a Boston University economist and former school board member. He talked about the importance of having good schools to attract businesses. “When you talk to businesses about where to open or expand their business,” he said, “they talk a lot about the education of their workers.” He pointed out that, as Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney increased property taxes by 23% between 2003-2007. “But,” he said, “There were fewer cops and teachers and fire fighters on the job.”

Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters was on the call, as well, and he described Romney’s approach as a betrayal of the role of government. By maligning public employees in this way, he said, Mitt Romney is turning his back “on one of government’s core and most basic jobs: keeping citizens safe.” When things are hard, Schaitberger explained, the need for things like public safety are higher. “Mitt Romney is playing Russian Roulette with public safety to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.”

But this isn’t the only front on Mitt Romney in this battle. The Obama campaign is also continuing to hammer Mitt Romney for his so-called expertise on job creation in the private sector that put Massachusetts at #47 in job growth at a time when the rest of the country was surging.

My state of Michigan is the poster child for Romney’s private equity, let-the-rich-get-richer view about the private sector after having said, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” and then double, tripling, and quadrupling down on it. These days, in a throw back to the “War is Peace” slogans in the story 1984, Romney is revising history and taking credit for the resurgence of the auto industry. He’s even suggested that he was for helping out the Big Three all along, a provably false statement.

Yesterday, the Obama campaign kicked off a weeklong “Michigan Road to Recovery” statewide tour with a conference call with reporters. On the call were Ben LaBolt, National Press Secretary for Obama for America, U.S. Senator Carl Levin, and Dean Edward Montgomery of the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute and former member of President Obama’s auto industry taskforce. Senator Levin reminded us that, thanks to President Obama, there are now 250,000 new auto industry jobs, 30,000 in Michigan alone, and that the unemployment rate in our state has dropped from a high of 14.2% to 8.3%. The domestic vehicle manufactures have experienced double-digit increases in sales. If the auto industry had been allowed to fail as Mitt Romney wanted them to, he said, “there isn’t a business or citizen in Michigan that wouldn’t have been affected.”

This sentiment was echoed by Ed Montgomery who said that 1 in 5 jobs in Michigan is supported by the auto industry and allowing it to fail would have cost us 1 million jobs statewide. “All Michigan counties now have single-digit unemployment,” he said.

The statewide “Michigan Road to Recovery” begins today in Rochester, Michigan at Trent Design, a graphic design shop.

Obama for America’s weeklong “Michigan Road to Recovery” tour visits Rochester, highlighting a small business that has benefited directly from the resurgence of the American auto industry. Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner and small business owner Marilyn Trent will share their experiences with Michigan’s economy teetering on the brink, and the surge in economic activity brought on as the auto industry has rebounded.

This is Day Two of the “Michigan Road to Recovery Tour,” which kicked off Monday with a conference call featuring Senator Carl Levin and Ed Montgomery, Dean of the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University and formerly the Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers on President Obama’s Task Force on the Auto Industry. The tour is highlighting other sectors of the economy and communities as a whole that are benefitting from the revival of the American auto industry and Michigan’s manufacturing resurgence.

WHAT: Obama for America’s “Michigan Road to Recovery” Rochester stop

WHO: Andy Meisner, Oakland County Treasurer
Marilyn Trent, owner Trent Design

WHERE: Trent Design
114 E. Second Street
Rochester, MI

WHEN: TODAY, Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
11:30 AM EDT

RSVP: To RSVP, or for more information, please email Matt McGrath at mmcgrath@barackobama.com.

I asked Ben LaBolt what would happen if Mitt Romney pulled out of Michigan like John McCain did in 2008, a real possibility as LOLGOP has discussed. Would they continue to work in Michigan since it represents such a profound example of what is wrong with Romney’s approach to job creation? LaBolt said that they will continue to have a “robust campaign in Michigan throughout the campgain, regardless of what the Romney camp does. They think they can win this on the air,” he said. “We will win it on the ground. Michigan is a microcosm” of the the private sector/manufacturing sector front in this battle.

Mitt Romney claims to know how to create jobs. His experience in job creation is beyond dubious; it’s a failure. His approach creates more wealth for the already-wealthy, harms union members, compromises public safety and fails to invest in the future of our country. It’s a record he has chosen to run on and it’s one the Obama campaign is happily revealing to the voters in America.

It’s a two-front campaign and Mitt Romney is on his heels on both of them.

[Romney CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr
Cutter image courtesy of OFA
Levin image credit: Anne C. Savage, used with permission]