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. Jimm

    Gee, I wonder why Mitt forgot to mention that the CBO is projecting unemployment to be at 6% under current projections bt 2016.

    May 24, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  2. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    So Willard is proposing to do worse than the projected level under current conditions??? The glide path already would have unemployment at 5 and change, Willard is saying he'd do worse and have it UP to 6%. No thanks.
    PS Willard said anything above 4% is unacceptable. Too bad he can't keep track of his lies.

    May 24, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. gatordave

    What, by cutting taxes and reducing regulation? We've had that since W, and guess what? DOESN'T WORK!

    May 24, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. CNNuthin

    Hey Mitt, isn't it your job to do that now? I mean, it is not the responsibility of just one man, but of many people in Government. Or do you mean that you and your cronies will stop sitting around holding the country hostage and put all the plans that have been blocked for 3 years into motion if you are elected. When are the Republicans going to stop holding the nation hostage? At what point can we get these horrible people up on charges. People are dying in this country because of the Republican's hatred for one man. There has to at least be an associate to murder charge there that can get into headlines.

    May 24, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Sure Mitt, by the time the election comes around in November, the unemployment rate may be down to 6% or close to that figure anyway, so what's your point? A few monts ago you said the unempoloyment rate should be at 4% now you're saying that if you were President, your goal would be to reduce the unemployment rate to 6%? So why not hold yourself to the 4% standard you have held our President too? Flip-flopping shameless hypocrisy!

    May 24, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. Robert Lang

    Mitt lies so much he doesn't realize what is true and no true. Love his statements when he says "I misspoke" isn't that called a lie?

    May 24, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. American

    Romney follows & desperately tries to take credit for plans already put in place by President Obama to save American jobs.

    Obama-Biden 2012

    May 24, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  8. rika33

    And he can fly too.

    May 24, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  9. Jeb

    Romney wants to pick up where Bush left off with the exact same Bush policies that left us in stuck in two wars and the great recession.

    No thanks!

    May 24, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. Paul

    Well good thing every chart out right now shows the jobless rate by 2016 at 6% no matter who is the president. Mitt is the same guy who would have approached Detroit like it was Bain capitol......

    May 24, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Chedar

    The strategy at Bain is obviously if the corporation doesn't close it. Layoff and not bother improving. It is a bigger step to lower the unemployment from 10 to 8% than from 8 to 6%. Obama has the track record already what does Romney's track record will be. If he try to cut the deficit to lower the unemployment, it will get the opposite effect. It's already been proven in the Eurozone Romney. What zone are you in Romney. It won't work. Your economic plan belongs to the Looney Tunes.

    May 24, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. Flogged

    Rom has made a killing profiting from the financial misfortune of others. He is a profiteer and I expect his time in the Whitehouse would be spent lining his own pockets.

    May 24, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. moose

    we know and 2.50 gas you my friend are apart of the reason it got so high corperate cuts moving everything to china let me guess you will lower minum wage to 5 bucks a day or just cut unemployment bennifets after 3 months so numbers look good

    May 24, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  14. PPolicy832

    A) I think we all realize the president gets too much blame/credit for the unemployment rate (which somehow seems to be the only measure of the economy people care about)

    B) I don't see how any current Republican strategy will boost employment levels in the short run (2-4 years): Cutting federal government spreading = layoff of federal workers and overall less money in the economy = less private sector work for contractors who rely on government for projects = private sector layoffs = higher relative unemployment.

    May 24, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |

    I will also get gas back to $1.20 a gallon. (At least for a week or so) And see that every American has all the HD Cable channels.

    May 24, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  16. DonJuan1943

    Wanna-be President Mitt Romney is not stupid. But he thinks WE ARE. Obama's recovery has been showing progress; and Romney wants to try to claim credit for himself. ...just like he did with the auto industry recovery. Romney believes this: "IF YOU TELL A LIE OFTEN ENOUGH, IT BECOMES THE TRUTH."

    If Obama and The Democrats want to win; they had better get out in front of these lies NOW. Otherwise the Democrats are going to see a repeat of Tea Party/Republican lies succeed in November 2012.

    May 24, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @ republican

    you said low taxes and cuts in spending will improve the economy and create jobs? You mean like GWB and the GOP did from 2000 to 2008? And what was the end result of those policies? We ended up in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression! Been there, done that! Go hide your face!

    May 24, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  18. NCollins1982

    The whole "Job Creators" business is only a buzz word. Why haven't the republicans created jobs thus far. The rich (the so called job creators) are continuing to get the same tax breaks. I am not fooled by any words or ploy of the republicans. The economy has always been pushed or driven by the working middle class. Give me a break. Obama will be able to get the unemployment to 6% in four years! When Obama took office he stated that turning the economy around would not be easy and that it will take time. It took 8 years to crash the U.S. Economy. It will take longer to make it strong again. Romney had years as governor of MA, how many jobs did he create. How many jobs did he create at Bain. Show me the data/numbers not just words.

    May 24, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. Sean

    Oh please, give me a break. What has President Obama done in his first 2 years of service, which he had a Democrat majority in the House and Senate? Answer: NOTHING. Where was this "change" theory he was promoting in his campaign? Where is getting the politics out of Washington? To sum it up, he is creating more politics in Washington than necessary. He needs to go back to fundraising, go back to church with Rev. Wright, have daily "tea" with Bill Ayers and George Soros, and worry about what he will do after his Presidency is up in late January. Since he likes talking in front of an audience, perhaps he should be a motivational speaker - since many of you have bought his crap!

    May 24, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. Irma in North Carolina

    It scares the hell out of me if Romey gets to te white house and the Ryan bill passes. What will it do to the older people in this country. What does the flip floper think he is doing. How about how many jobs he created while he was running Mass. Some one ought to bring this up. I hope the good lord sees to it that this guy does not make it there.

    May 24, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. JS

    Know how to tell when Romney is lying?
    When his mouth moves.

    May 24, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. maximusvad

    Tax on Companies that ship jobs overseas- A bill that would have eliminated a tax break that companies get when they ship jobs overseas. Republicans blocked this, allowing companies to keep the tax break they receive when they ship jobs to other countries.

    May 24, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. John

    Romney is actually taking it easy on Obama. The unemployment "decrease" that's been widely publicized is only down because that figure no longer counts those who have given up looking for work. If you look at the numbers, true unemployment is worse than it was when Obama took office.
    It's entirely possible that this is just an empty campaign promise- but it might not be. On the other hand, Obama promised much larger improvement in unemployment, and has failed, demonstrably. Balance the promise that might work or might not against the proven failure of the current President and his failure to keep his promises, then decide for yourself.

    May 24, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. steven harnack

    Of course what he didn't say is that his "plan" is for the Imperial American occupation of the middle east and an endless succession of "little wars" and everyone not working in a defense industry will be drafted into the military occupation forces. The old PNAC is still alive and well and counting on Romney.

    May 24, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  25. Sorensen

    Romney does not have the first idea about macroeconomics. He is a mediocre hedge-fund manipulator. From Bain.
    Poor Bain. They are going down the drain after this. Congratulations to McKinsey and BCG.

    May 24, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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