Romney promises to bring unemployment down to 6%
May 23rd, 2012
01:35 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney promises to bring unemployment down to 6%

(CNN) - After repeatedly pinning the president for the unemployment level, which now sits at 8.1%, Mitt Romney pledged he could cut the rate by two points if he makes it to the White House.

"I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we'd put in place, we'd get the unemployment rate down to 6%, and perhaps a little lower," the presumptive GOP nominee said in a TIME interview published Wednesday.

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The number marked the first time Romney had talked about a specific rate during this election cycle, although he listed 5.9% as the number he would strive for in his 59-point economic plan released in September.

And economic forecasts suggest he may not be too far off. Based on the current rate of growth, the jobless rate is expected to fall to around 7% by the end of 2015, and 5.5% by the end of 2017, according to reports by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Romney has used the unemployment rate as a main line of attack against President Barack Obama. His campaign frequently points to a 2009 interview in which the president said if his administration could not get the economy turned around in three years, "then there is going to be a one-term proposition."

At the worst of the recession, the unemployment rate reached 10% in October 2009, nine months after Obama took office. It has gradually dropped to its current rate at just over 8%, though some experts attribute the lower rate to the fact that more Americans are leaving the workforce.

The CBO expects the rate to remain above 8% for the rest of this year and next year.

In a conference call Wednesday, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt pointed to those predictions in criticizing Romney's statement.

"Government economists have been clear that under current law their projection today is that unemployment will hit 6% by that point," LaBolt said.

He went on to cite recent remarks in which Romney, chiding the president for his job creation record, said any unemployment figure above 4% was not worth celebrating.

"What I think was interesting about this is that Romney moved goal posts in a matter of weeks," LaBolt said. "He said he was going to get it down to 4% several weeks ago, now he's at 6%, he's already moved the goal posts on a critical promise he made."

In his previous remarks, Romney did not explicitly say he would reduce the unemployment rate to 4%. At a campaign stop in Pittsburgh in May, he said "anything over 8%, anything near 8%, anything over 4% is not cause for celebration."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • unemployment
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Whatever

    Kinda funny that he's setting his expectation 1/2% worse than the projections than if he did nothing...It's almost like he's admitting that if he gets to put his strategies to work, he will screw up our recovery, fragile tho it may be.

    May 24, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. Mr. 1% the "VULTURE CAPITALIST BUSINESSMAN" would outsource the poor, disabled, unemployed and elderly to China and sell America to the highest bidder!

    The CBO states we will be at or near that point of unemployment on the current path'

    So tell us, Mr. Empty Suit, why exactly should we be voting for you and take a chance?

    May 24, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Ann

    at least he makes a clear promise not the vague 'hope and change'.

    May 24, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. starman

    Romney today claims that if you vote for him, he'll get the unemployment rate down to 6%... Makes sense since economists *now* estimate that by 2017 it'll be around 5.5%. That missing .5% Romney is hiding is the ones he'll let go overseas for hia rich buddies.

    May 24, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    I'm not so much worried about us starting a war with Iran if Romney is elected POTUS! I'm more concerned over the possibility of us getting nuked by Russia! A few months ago, Mitt Romney said Russia was our top "geological foe." Yes, Mitt Romney's mindset is so much into yesterday that he still has a cold war mentality when it comes to Russia!

    But speaking of Iran, Mitt Romney also criticize this administration's handling of the nuclear crisis in Iran, arguing that the Obama administration waited too long to impose sanctions on Iran! I wonder why Mitt didn't bother to tell that to GWB face to face when he picked up his endorcement a few weeks ago! Flip flopping etch-a-sketch incompetent, uneducated hypocrite!

    May 24, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Joe Sixpack

    HA HA HA what a liar. He'll say ANYTHING to get elected!

    May 24, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. John B.

    "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs".

    Isn't that what the GoP promised in 2010? (It was I'm just trying to remind you)

    Go ahead and believe the lie again Republicans. You just look more foolish the second time.

    May 24, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind!

    Somebody needs to point out to Team Robme, that just last week Mr. 1% was stating that anything over 4% was no need for celebrating and now, at the end of his first term he is promising 6%?

    Someone on the adviser team should be fired for letting the ROMBOT get his talking points out of sync.

    However, it is clear why TEAM ROBME is using the Secret Service to keep the press away from candidate "empty suit'!

    May 24, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. Rich

    Sure he will… he’ll also turn cow farts into diamond dust. And eliminate taxes completely. And build a Mormon-only colony on Mars. And...

    May 24, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Lindsey

    Hey Mitt. Putting people to work for minimum wage weeding the gardens of your rich friends and benefactors doesn't count.

    May 24, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Larry L


    We definately need someone running this country who has a financial background – the current Prez and his Administration have been running this economy like a bunch of circus performers (in fact, the circus performers could even run it better since they need to balance the budget for the circus, or else all the performers will lose their jobs). Romney is the only option at this point!
    Why not actually give President Obama an actual chance to fix the economy? With over 110 filibusters from the Republicans in the Senate they've blocked that organization. With the Tea Party House members not a single bill has emerged that wasn't degigned as a political ploy – nothing about job or policies to help the middle class. Is it ever possible to "run" an economy, especially as bad as the one Bush left behind, with half of our elected membeers working to obstruct progress?

    May 24, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Mark from Louisiana

    A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that's not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation.

    May 24, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. D$

    Its refreshing to hear a politician put in writing his goals rather than the norm which is to talk CHANGE. Oh things have changed, we stopped talking about our economy and started talking about gays. Go Mitt 2012

    May 24, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. Propoganda Machine

    The government uses "creative accounting" for the unemployment and inflation numbers. During the Great Depression, unemployment was around 25%. If the government tracked unemployment the same way now, the numbers would be around 22%. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time.

    May 24, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. mike

    mitt romney... what a sham. if you can't stop the waters from rising like obama..............................................................

    May 24, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Terry

    So, how many McDonalds and WalMarts does he expect will open in Texas in that time?

    May 24, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. Wayne

    Does anyone really want someone in the White House that keeps their money off shore? That in itself is unAmerican and good reason not to vote for Romney. Not to mention 6%? He was good at laying off, not hiring. Bush was the last so called business man in the W.H. and war profiteering is a money maker. Just not for the middle class.

    May 24, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. Eddie The Barber

    Now let me get this straight – Mitt will retreat to the same basic Cheney/Bush/Republican policies that put us in the economic fiasco we're in right now – right? And he'll cut taxes (decrease revnues) and increase spending and that's going to make everything better because he knows economics 101 right? If I follow this logic with my personal life and I am not earning enough to support my family then – I should work less hours and spend more money right? Oh – so that's how it works. Thanks for clarifying that for me Mitt – works for me and I hope it works for you!

    May 24, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Brian G

    What is his plan exactly for getting to that number? If he can't explicitely communicate his plan, and only wants to be general in his statements, then why should anyone vote for him? Policy and programs aside, this is the main beef I have with the GOP. They haven't offered any sort of detail to how they plan on achieving their goals. So by default, someone like myself thinks it's just their Trickle Down Economics policy that's been a failure since Reagan introduced it back in the 80's. And it has, if you look at the history of economic growth periods over the past 30 years.

    May 24, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    Newest Mitt Romney quote to consider:

    "Don't celebrate until unemployment is less than 4%" – Mitt Romney"

    By Mitt's own admission, he wouldn't be able to meet his own goal. We've seen this strategy played out against President Obama since Jan. 2009. Apparently Mitt has finally decided to admit that no Republican President would ever be held to the same level of obstruction that President Obama has had forced upon him (and still managed to remain effective), therefore, they simply force more obstruction on Obama's shoulders hoping he'll finally break from the pressure. They themselves have nothing substantial to offer America other than what Obama has already accomplished, so they ridicule and mock.

    And in Mitt's case, adopt Obama accomplishments as his own while simultaneously criticizing those accomplishments as not good enough.

    May 24, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. GOP hates America

    The GOP's answer to reducing unemployment is to eliminate the minimum wage so everyone will be working for $1.50/hr and outsource as many jobs as possible. They've come right out and said it. Vote GOP if you want your job to go to China.

    May 24, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. John

    Were the same comments made when Obama promised to bring down unemployment. He most certainly hasn't. He can say it is down from earlier in his disasterous Presidency but that is also not true. There are less people employed in the country today than when Bush left office.

    May 24, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. Kweso

    I've never seen a more desperate candidate who bases his campaign on policies are based on dreams. Wake up, Mittens.

    May 24, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. greg

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – At a fundraiser for his re-election campaign in Denver tonight, President Obama set out to upend conventional Republican wisdom that his administration has been defined by excessive government spending.
    "I'm running to pay down our debt in a way that's balanced and responsible. After inheriting a $1 trillion deficit, I signed $2 trillion of spending cuts into law," he told a crowd of donors at the Hyatt Regency. "My opponent won't admit it, but it's starting to appear in places, like real liberal outlets, like the Wall Street Journal: Since I've been president, federal spending has risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years. Think about that."
    Obama was referring to an analysis released this week by Rex Nutting, a reporter for CBS MarketWatch who is also affiliated with the Wall Street Journal. Nutting concluded that Obama has presided over the slowest growth in federal spending in decades.
    "Government spending under Obama, including his signature stimulus bill, is rising at a 1.4 percent annualized pace – slower than at any time in nearly 60 years," Nutting wrote, citing data from the Congressional Budget Office, Office of Management and Budget and an independent financial firm.

    May 24, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. keeth

    Mittens can do math?

    May 24, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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