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. Marie MD

    I saw and heard something last night that also makes the Kola bishop a socialist. He is for the government subsidizing companies even if he wanted Detroit to go bankrupt and he flip flopped that he was the main reason the automobile industry didn't fail. The world according to Kola's habitants tiny little brains.
    Of course he's NOW against it because they are using the one failure among many other successes, Solyndra, to go after the President.

    May 31, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  2. DJ

    With the economy still being so slow, multiple families having to take in many loved ones so they are not homeless, the new jobs that are being created are part time where people are having to continuously search for the next, families still in fear of losing their homes ect...and yet the Obama team wants to judge Romney s record. I do not think they thought this one out to clearly!!

    May 31, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  3. Name

    The fee raising trick prevented us from tax deductions on federal tax. Lousy trick. Once fees are raised, they NEVER get lowered...

    May 31, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  4. Anonymous

    "This is another desperate attack from President Obama because he has no positive record to run on," Romney press secretary Andrea Saul wrote."

    Oh look, another desperate attempt by Ms. Saul to insert the word "desperate" in as many comments as possible to deflect from the desperation that permeates Rmoney's flaccid and cowardly campaign. How pathetic!

    May 31, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  5. Don

    A man who believes in nothing will do anything. Romney 2012

    May 31, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  6. Unbeleiva-bull

    "Mitt Romney created more jobs in the state of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation.
    ------------------------------------------------–
    When i read that i spit my coffee all over my keyboard.
    Massachussetts ranked 47th in jobs out of 50 states.
    Then it goes on to say that its not fair to hold the governor responsible for creating jobs in his state.
    But its ok to hold the president responsible for creating job ?
    Nuts.

    May 31, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  7. Duck Butter

    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,"

    It wont.

    May 31, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  8. Wake up people

    Go get em Mr. President! Mittens has been fabricating lies about you for months. Time to fight back. So put your big boy pants on Mittens, it's about to get real!

    Man I cannot wait for the debates! What's a flip flopper to do.....????

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 31, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  9. MaryM

    Hmmmm, so Romneys record as Governor is NOT so good. surprise, surprise

    May 31, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  10. Blindersoff

    Romney is a big fat phony!

    May 31, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  11. helpuz

    This is laughable – and Obama's dismal record shouldn't be under more scrutiny?

    May 31, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  12. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/Dutch, Bad Newz, VA

    Andrea Saul sounds like a broken record trying to defend Willard. You can't defend 47 out of 40 in job creation and run a campaign based on improving job creation. Talk about an oxymoron.

    May 31, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  13. Anne

    The former Governor cannot run on his record as Governor but if he is attacking President Obama on his record then the country must also look at his record while in public office. After all he says he is the better candidate so he has to show us the evidence!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  14. Jimm

    Funny how Romney never talks about hsi record in Massachusetts.

    May 31, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  15. Bushper

    Yes Mitt you are right,50.1% of the 1%.

    May 31, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  16. streetdude66

    Romney is just a NE version of Dubya, hopefully the ditzy campaign spokesperson for Romney will continue to lie big time about Obama creating zero job growth when clearly its obvious he has. The GOp has got nothin'. Obama/Biden 2012, its a lock

    May 31, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  17. Grim Reaper

    Where are the jobs we were promised? The unemployment is going down because the unemployed are falling off of benefits and no longer being counted. Obama the business leader you only need to look at the scam land deal he worked out before politics. Romney? He's a job killer not a creator. We're paying the price of democrats throwing Clinton under the bus.

    May 31, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  18. LEVI

    The lies, distortions, and half-truths from both sides will continue!

    May 31, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  19. kaycee

    Unfortunately, it won't matter what Romney did as governor of MA. His superPACs will buy enough airtime to completely drown out the voices of truth. The USA is quickly becoming a plutocracy, thanks to the SCOTUS.

    May 31, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  20. This black democrat hates Obama

    Of course it is. Just like Bain Capitol was under scrutiny in the last Obama add and look how effective that add was. Just shows how scared he is of Romney. BTW, they're only using Democrats in this add? two or three no doubt. WOW! that well certainly win a lot of Independents with that add now, will it?

    May 31, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  21. Jaun in El Paso

    Why is Obama's record never under scrutiny. Everytime one of these stories hits the presses I always wonder why the media doesn't look into Obama's past. How my "present" votes did he caste in the Senate to avoid making a decision? I think it was over 60% of all of his votes. Why doesn't some so-called journalist go looking into why Obama refused to take a side on so many votes.

    May 31, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  22. Tony T

    Anyone think OB might ever get around to defending HIS record, or telling us what HE is going to do. If his budgets that never even get a single Dem vote are any indication, he is toast, and he deserves it.

    May 31, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    Andrea Saul stop lying for your liar boss. 4 million private sector jobs under Obama minus the 500k public sector job losses (that's a good thing according GOP logic since we're shrinking govt) is still a net gain of 3.5 million. Romney in MA created less than 50,000 jobs. Not. Even. Close.
    Speaking of Willard in MA, he managed to parlay his brilliant private sector experience into moving MA from 37th in the nation on job growth all the way down to 47th in the nation. Atta girl Willard!!!! Dropping 10. Unlike weight and golf scores, you don't want to move that number down. So we have the facts that the great businessman managed to knock MA down to 3 from the bottom using his private sector experience. Willard does not want to really talk about his private sector experience, he does not want to talk about jobs from his time in the public sector....what else can we talk about from his public sector? I know - Healthcare!!! No? You mean the one signature accomplishment he had, Romneycare the blueprint for the ACA, is off limits too? Why is that? Could it be that flippy was for mandates before he was against it? Shame that he has no spine and can't stand up to his party or take a stand on anything other than protecting his fellow priviledged few. So Willard, what can we talk about? Soviet Union? Czechoslovakia? Chen? Libya? Anne? Car elevators?

    May 31, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  24. Alex

    As MA Governor Romney –
    1.raised state spending 6.5 percent each year and left Massachusetts with the largest per-capita debt of any state in the nation.
    2. #47 in job creation. Meaning 46 states had a better job creation record.
    3. Approval rating when he quit as Governor = 32%
    4. Only 27% said they will vote for him again (73% said NEVER AGAIN)..
    5. His two TOP economic advisers are the SAME top advisers of Bush.

    So much for his record in the private sector!!!

    May 31, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  25. ThatsIt121

    These attacks are like the pot calling the kettle black. Instead of attacking, why not run on your accomplishments and on the direction you want to lead the country? Unless of course, you want to lead the country into a nation of discourse and divide.

    May 31, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
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