Saturday, June 9, 2012


Yesterday, the President made the mistake of saying something technically correct but politically sinful. The President was making the point that the reason job growth has been so slow has been layoffs in the public sector at the state and local level. This is ... true. Private sector job growth (800,000 jobs this year so far) has actually been "fine" to quote the President but states, counties, and cities are facing tremendous deficits and have been laying off workers fairly steadily. This not only reduces job growth in the short term by offsetting private sector job gains, it also makes it harder for the private sector to create jobs in the longer run because the multiplier effect of those government jobs is lost.

So ... the President said,
As I've said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last two (years), 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weakness in our economy have (sic) to do with the state and local government, often times cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government. And who don't have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.
Within context, the President's remarks are true but politically unwise. Out of context, the President's remarks are a nightmare. Here's the first ad cut by the RNC using the quote:

And Mitt Romney quickly jumped on the out-of-context portion ...

Just as an aside, Romney proves himself to be a very, very bad candidate at every turn. Notice, in the middle of the gift the President gave him, he sort of gives one back by arguing
He [Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did.
Now, this is not a mistake on the order of Obama. But this is also not the argument you want to be making Willard. The American people DO want more firemen, policemen, and teachers.

Anyway, the President felt the need to walk back his remarks:

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It is fair to say some damage has been done and the Republicans will use this quote over and over I'm sure. I know and you know this is a "silly season" issue to use the President's common phrase. There is nothing actually at stake here. The President is aware that the jobs issue is job #1 and he's not misunderstanding it so much as Mitt Romney is mischaracterizing it. But being right isn't what wins elections when it is this close. He's got to be more careful and I think he's got to start engaging the campaign a bit more directly than he has been.

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