During a speech in Ohio today, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney decried the economy, claimng, “almost everything the president has done has made it harder for entrepreneurs to start a business, has made it less likely for businesses like this [one in Ohio] to hire more people.” However, led by the revival of the American auto industry, Ohio’s unemployment rate has been coming down, from about 11 percent in 2009 to just above 7 percent today.
In fact, a growing number of Republican governors have been touting their respective states’ economic performances, contradicting Romney’s message of doom and gloom. And as the Wall Street Journal noted, at least one governor — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) — believes Romney needs to stop bemoaning the state of the economy:
Iowa’s Republican governor, Terry Branstad, is part of a contingent of GOP governors and party elders urging Mr. Romney to re-tailor his message by highlighting the success stories under way in a half-dozen GOP-led states, even if it means diluting his gloomier national pitch.
While the Romney campaign could easily incorporate that message before the election, the competing narratives have led to some awkward moments. When Mr. Romney traveled to Iowa last month, his campaign released a Web ad highlighting Iowans who were struggling to find work — in a state with a 5.1% jobless rate, the seventh lowest in the U.S.
“My state is seeing significant growth,” Mr. Branstad said in an interview, adding that he didn’t see why the Romney campaign decided to highlight unemployed Iowa residents. Ticking off a long list of companies that are expanding in the state, including Alcoa and John Deere, he said, “We are doing very well.”
While the Republican governors touting their state economies are quick to credit Republican policy ideas for those jobs, the fact of the matter is that states — Republican and Democratic — are following the trend of the nation when it comes to the unemployment rate. (The spike in the blue line occurs when states changed hands and Democratic governors took control of red states.):
So as Romney continues to decry the state of the economy, the numbers — as well as the governors supporting him — are telling a different tale.