Mitt Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie struggled to defend his campaign’s central piece of evidence supporting its claim that President Obama is waging a war on women today. The claim — that 92 percent of jobs lost under Obama where lost by women — has been called highly misleading and “mostly false” by Politifact (twice), the Washington Post’s fact checker, an AP fact checker, and even the rabidly conservative Daily Caller.
Even Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace saw the problem with the claim and pressed Gillespie when he mentioned the figure this morning. “It is not true,” Wallace said of the larger Romney argument, calling the 92 percent figure a “little bit of an accounting trick” and noting that “all the independent fact checkers have said it’s misleading.”
The best defense Gillespie could muster was to claim that some of the economists quoted by the Washington Post’s fact checker were liberal. Watch it:
Gillespie doesn’t even attempt to defend the substance of the claim because there is little substance to it.
The 92 percent figure obscures the fact that many more men than women lost jobs in the recession, as Wallaces forces Gillespie to admit. The key is timing. Men tend to be concentrated in industries that were hit first, like construction, so they lost their jobs first, while women tend to be contracted in the public sector, which had layoffs later on when state and local governments slashed their budgets.
In case it wasn’t already clear that last week’s controversy over stay at home moms was entirely manufactured, this should put the question to bed.
Romney and allies cried that Democrats had declared “war on moms” after a Democratic strategist said Romney’s wife hadn’t worked a day in her life. Romney’s camp said this meant Democrats don’t value stay at home moms and motherhood, while they believe that women who stay home are doing real work.
But for every Romney action, there is an equal and opposite Romney reaction, and this morning, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes dug up a video of Romney from just January in which the Republican presidential candidate said he wanted to require women who receive welfare to work outside the home, even if their children are very young. He told a New Hampshire audience:
“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”
But this is worse than hypocritical because there is a clear difference here — women who receive welfare benefits, the ones Romney wants to force to work, are poor, while Romney’s wife is very wealthy. And this exactly the point CNN contributor Hillary Rosen was trying to make, inartfully, when she sparked this controversy. Ann Romney had the luxury of choosing to devote herself full time to raising her children. It’s hard work, no doubt, but millions of mothers are forced to work and raise their kids at the same time, as Romney says he wants to require poor women on government benefits to do.
In response, the Romney campaign confirmed to the National Journal that Romney thinks a poor mother who receives welfare benefits should have to work:
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said that Romney’s comments were reflective of his support of welfare reform legislation. “Moving welfare recipients into work was one of the basic principles of the bipartisan welfare reform legislation that President Clinton signed into law. The sad fact is that under President Obama, the poverty rate among women rose to 14.5 percent in 2011, the highest rate in 17 years. The Obama administration’s economic policies have been devastating to women and families,” she wrote in an email.
ST. LOUIS, MO — GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney tried to win over National Rifle Association members on Friday, delivering a speech at the NRA’s annual meeting in St. Louis. Romney — who has in the past supported numerous gun control measures — assured NRA members that he is one of them. “We need a President who will stand up for [gun rights],” Romney said. “President Obama has not; I will.” Also on Friday, Newt Gingrich, Romney’s remaining challenger for the Republican nomination for president, went all in, saying everyone in the world should own a gun.
ThinkProgress asked a number of NRA members attending the meetings in St. Louis about the candidates and it doesn’t appear that they’re buying Romney’s pitch. Moreover, not only did many say they preferred Gingrich over the former Massachusetts governor on gun issues, but most believed Romney either isn’t pro-gun or is pandering on gun issues to get their vote:
– “I just feel like [Gingrich is] more into the gun sporting and those aspects of — and also he’s a strong backer of the Second Amendment.
– “Well so far [Romney] hasn’t demonstrated himself as being, you know, highly pro-gun but you know there’s always hope.”
– “I would trust Newt more than I would Mitt on the guns. … I just think he’s more conservative.”
– “I’d rather have Newt Gingrich. … I think he’s more pro-gun.”
– “It seems like [Romney is] just kind of grabbing at straws to get popularity at this point so the gun issue was just yet another thing.”
– “I think maybe Gingrich [will support gun rights] more so than Romney.”
– “I heard Romney’s [speech]. I think he’s an idiot. And I’m a Republican. … I believe that people should stand up for their principles and I think that he panders to whoever he’s talking to.
Watch the interview clips:
Another NRA member told Bloomberg news that while Romney is “better than Obama,” voting for Romney “will be a hold-your-nose situation.”
Perhaps Romney knows NRA members aren’t that into him (sentiment that extends deep into the Republican Party). After all, he didn’t spend much time talking about guns during his speech on Friday.