Romney's Massachusetts record under scrutiny in Obama campaign video
Screen shot from the Obama for America campaign video.
May 31st, 2012
06:00 AM ET
3 years ago

Romney's Massachusetts record under scrutiny in Obama campaign video

(CNN) – Mitt Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts received renewed scrutiny from his opponent's campaign Thursday in the form of a Web video, which uses Democratic officials from the state to discredit the GOP presidential candidate's time in the corner office.

The video from President Barack Obama's re-election team comes the same day David Axelrod, a senior strategist for the president's campaign, plans to hold a press conference at the Massachusetts State House in Boston to highlight what he says is a record of unfulfilled promises.

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In the video, mayors and state legislators look back at Romney's tenure as governor and compare his campaign promises to results in Massachusetts. On jobs, the officials slam Romney for not developing solutions to an outflow of manufacturing positions.

"We knew that we were losing manufacturing jobs, and he never found any solutions to try and figure out how we going to keep them," Jeffrey Sánchez, a state representative, says in the video. "By the time Mitt Romney left office we were 47th in the nation in terms of job growth."

That statistic, cited frequently by Obama's campaign, is technically accurate, though the nonpartisan PolitiFact rates the assertion as only "half true," noting that it's a stretch to entirely blame Romney (or any governor) for a state's jobs numbers.

Axelrod issued a memo Wednesday hitting many of the same topics as the campaign video, signaling a new push from the Obama re-election team to shine light on their rival's time as governor. For the past several weeks, Obama's campaign efforts have largely focused on Romney's tenure as chief executive of Bain Capital, the private equity firm.

A Romney campaign spokeswoman portrayed the latest attacks from Obama's team as "desperate" on Wednesday, saying they reflected a less-than-stellar jobs creation record on the president's part.

"This is another desperate attack from President Obama because he has no positive record to run on," Romney press secretary Andrea Saul wrote. "Mitt Romney created more jobs in the state of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation. President Obama has failed to meet his own goal of 6% unemployment and has a net negative record on job creation."

She continued, "If President Obama had even half the job creation record of Mitt Romney, then he would be running on it."

In the video released Thursday, the Massachusetts elected officials slam Romney as having failed the state on taxes and debt, saying his campaign promises went unmet.

State Rep. Jay Kaufman claims Romney hurt middle-class families by raising fees, rather than taxes.

"What we heard from Mitt Romney during the campaign was a 'no new taxes' pledge, but what he found very quickly during his term in office was that he couldn't deliver on any services without having sufficient resources, so he raised our taxes by raising our fees," Kaufman said.

Romney's record on taxes was similarly hit by fellow Republicans during the GOP primaries. A CNNMoney analysis of his record determined he cut select taxes while in office, and proposed some new tax cuts that didn't pass the legislature - like a 0.3 percentage point reduction in the 5.3% state income tax rate.

But he also had an obligation to balance the state's budget every year, and when he came into office he was facing a big deficit that he plugged using a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases, including the fee increases.

Carl Sciortino, a state legislator featured in the Obama video, said those fees hurt working families, who "were paying more under his administration."

Sciortino says in the video that Romney's campaign promises reflected the GOP presidential candidate's current campaign.

"There are times when I watch Mitt Romney saying the exact same things now that he said here in Massachusetts in 2002 in a robotic way that is completely hollow. It didn't work here, so I'm not sure why he thinks it would work nationally," Sciortino says.

CNN's Jim Acosta, Jessica Yellin, Dan Lothian and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

Gingrich: Obama an 'American-born job-killing president'

Romney hits 'magic number' for GOP nomination

Incumbent outraised Democratic challenger in Wisconsin gubernatorial contest

Romney makes stop at raucous Vegas rally


Filed under: 2012 • Massachusetts • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Someone else

    What can one expect from a unicorn?

    May 31, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  2. Cody

    How dare he! Romney was the governor of Massachusetts and led Bain Capital. It's dirty politics to bring up his record at either one! That's down right cheating. Of course, unemployment numbers aren't completely his fault, but they're completely Obama's fault.

    May 31, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney failed as Governor in the State of Mass but yet his campaign and the GOP are selling the ideal that a president needs business experience to run the country. Excuse me, but Romney and the GOP's claim just don't make sense to me and it should be clear to anyone why Romney never suceeded in his past presidential attempts, it didn't make sense to the Republicans either.

    May 31, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. Bushper

    Mitt Romney is not a presidential material, he is crooked and very unpatriotic. Romney made his millions in America but desided to hide them in foreign bank accounts to avoid paying taxes.

    May 31, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. george_w_tush

    The only way Romney could be less popular in Massachusetts is if he were carrying Derek Jeter's baby
    Where do I sign a petition to have Donald Trump be the keynote speaker at Mitt Romney's Republican National Convention?

    May 31, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Dan

    Cannot trust anything that comes from the Romney campaign or Romney himself:

    According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and myriad other sources, President Obama’s stimulus program created between 3 and 3.3 million jobs as of September 2010.

    So how is it Romney created more jobs in his term as governor than what Obama has thus far? Just another lie from Romney?

    May 31, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
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