Romney Adviser Ed Gillespie Struggles To Defend Campaign’s Major Economic Claim

Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie

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 fact, it was Republican lawmakers and governors who led this effort, accounting for over 70 of percent state layoffs, so Romney’s claim is effectively blaming Obama for policies that Romney supports (cutting government workforces).