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. Derek

    If the CBO already predicts that unemployment will fall below 6% by the end of the next presidential term, what's the point of Romney's promise? Shouldn't Obama be able to claim the exact same thing?

    May 24, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Rudy NYC


    Romney can do it, Obama can not do it. Capitalism what makes the Economy grow not Socialism.
    If capitalism is such a godsend, then why are conservatives always so focused on religious social issues? I find that most of the self-described Christian Conservative Politicians are complete hypocrites, especially on the topics of captialism and faith.

    Matthew 21:12–17, 21:23–27 Jesus drove the "moneylenders" from the Temple. Capitalism is a sin. It is a sin to worship "that which is Caesar's"

    May 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. I could do that

    Just cut the working class hourly rate by half and have two people working instead of one. There would be more productivity for the company and the CEO and stock holders would make alot more. But for me and the middle class it would suck. Vote out Republicans!!!!!!

    May 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. DUH

    another crooked politician spouting empty promises to the masses and keeping secret promises to his funders.

    May 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. Critcal Thinking

    If you want European style cradle to grave government, then you will get European unemployment levels of 8% to 12%. When the government is sucking $1.5 trillion additional dollars to meet it's spending levels from the captial markets, that is $1.5 trillion each and every year that is not available to invest into private companies who can then expand and hire. To get this going in the right direction, you need a leader who understands and embraces private business growth. This President does not. He think bigger government, like the europeans, is the best approach for society. As we can see from current conditions in europe, that is not the case. Bigger government is the problem, not the solution. We should begin to right size our government and ease our borrowing needs, thereby allowing private business to more easily expand. This approach will help to honestly reduce our unemployment rate to 6% and over time even lower. We as a nation need to wake up and embrass the say; "there is no such thing as a free lunch, there never was no matter what a politician says"

    May 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. DaveSEMass

    Romney probably meant down to 6% in some country where he plans to ship our jobs.

    May 24, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. Scott

    There is no way that he can make a promise like that. Anyone who believes that he can is fooling themselves.

    May 24, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. Johnnie

    Romney is a stylistic classic deceiver who seduces by saying anything for the simple sake of winning the 2012 presidential elections. Any serious analyst who is slow to reads into Romney would know he flips and flops and that is a characteristic of liar. It is this same reason the GOP delayed to support him and they still do. His fellow candidates are very skeptical of his stand and that can also divide the Republican establishment if he secures the presidency. He is a shrewd businessman who would sell anything defective to win. Romney lacks passion for the ordinary man and woman and may be "selfish" to my opinion. The republicans may be voting for a custodian for their wealthy donors but not a president for the people; on the other hand the GOP are also aware that Obama's second term would prove a gain for the middle class who constitutes the ordinary day to day strugglers on the highway, and solidify another democrat as formidable leader in 2016.

    May 24, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Mike

    That's funny. Why not promise $2 gasoline while your at it? Or a moon colony?

    May 24, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  10. helpuz

    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!

    May 24, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  11. ezduzit757

    What the people who watch Fox News won't hear is that the latest studies have shown that if we follow the path we are on now, the unemployment rate will be 5.5% by then, so if Mitt is promising 6, he's moving in the wrong direction. And by the way, what happened to the 4% he thought Obama should have gotten us to? So Obama should have gotten us to 4 % in the midst of the worst recession ever and Mitt can get us to 6% in the midst of a recovery? Doesn't sound like much of a challenge.

    May 24, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Dilip

    Sure Romney!!! Asin Massachussetts !!! 47th out of 50

    May 24, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  13. maggie

    Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer is absolutely right. The unemployment rate is generically projected to be at about 6% by the end of the year so Obama will have done the work for ya, Mitt. Interesting though that he sets 6% as a lofty goal for himself. He recently commented about Obama that anything less than 4% is unacceptable. As usual, hypocrite.

    May 24, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  14. Canto

    Mitt plans to fire the unemployed. That's all he knows how to do.

    May 24, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. maggie

    Derek, haven't you figured it out yet? Romney is claiming anything and everything, doesn't have to be true, doesn't even have to be the same as what he claimed yesterday. He has a red meat crowd willing to buy into anything not Obama and that is the ship of fools he's banking on. I have nothing against Conservatives or their beliefs. I do have something against Conservatives with amnesia. You look at what the GOP is up to and who Romney is surrounding himself with. Bush/Cheney II is on the way if he is elected. Didn't we learn our lesson? Fine if you think Obama didn't do such a hot job. So we think going back to a failure is good remedy?

    May 24, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. clc777

    2%. That's nothing new get it down to 1% . There's no way that this guy can do this. The president himself tried, there's a lot of people in the United States and are looking for jobs there a lot of people that can work or don't work. Same as it was with the Bush administration. This is what is going to be like with the Romney administration, given the rich what they want. Forget about the rest of us.

    May 24, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Anonymous

    The job creator won't be able to get the unemployment levels down any futher than the current President would be able to in the same time frame? Interesting.

    May 24, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. drod

    According to this article Romney has confirmed that under current Obama Policies the unemployment rate is going to drop even more than it is today. Thanks Mitt.

    May 24, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Bill, NY

    If anyone here believes Mr. Romney's claims, I have several choice parcels of real estate, including bridges that I would love to sell to you.

    May 24, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. C Davis

    The fact is, whoever is the next president will see unemployment drop to 6% or lower by no doing of their own. Economies are like giant ships and do not turn on a dime. The ship has already turned and we should see those numbers by 2013

    May 24, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. v_mag


    "Romney can do it, Obama can not do it. Capitalism what makes the Economy grow not Socialism. President Obama you just don't get it. Low Taxes and Cuts in Spending will do the trick."

    What you're say is that the policies of George W. Bush, who caused this mess, will cure this mess? It can easily be shown that Bush's policies created an economic disaster. So, show me evidence that another Bush-Romney
    presidency will do the least bit to help our economy.

    Romney = Bush = economic disaster

    May 24, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. Amy

    The taxpayers can not afford to pay unemployment to U.S. citizens that CONGRESS is displacing with work visas!

    America's highest-skilled workers are being displaced from their professions by employment-based visas:

    •H-1b: Congress has authorized employers to sponsor and hire foreign workers regardless of whether qualified Americans are available to fill the positions. Employers can legally force Americans to train their foreign H-1b replacements as a condition of receiving a severance package.
    •L-1: Congress has authorized employers to bring foreign workers into the U.S. for one year while continuing to pay them their foreign wage level.
    •PERM: Congress has authorized employers to sponsor foreign workers for green cards by simply running a few classified ads and then to find any reason possible to disqualify all American applicants.

    May 24, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. drod

    Fox News Alert-
    Romney has just confirmed that the Obama policies are working to bring the country back from the FAILED BUSH-REPUBLICAN polices that caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    May 24, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Observer974

    There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind that, by making use of the Sherman Antitrust Act, sky high tariffs, and intelligent protectionist policies, we could bring unemployment down to 4%. Since Romney is advocating a rather weak version of this, mainly targeted at CHina, it is quote clear that 6% is entirely possible. Obama, on the other hand, is wedded to Wall Street, multinational corporations, and Chinese campaign dollars, all of which spell disaster.

    May 24, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. Red State America

    Based on those CBO numbers, a better headline would have been, "Romney promises to make absolutely no impact on unemployment"

    May 24, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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