May 31st, 2012
01:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod launches attack on Romney's home turf

(CNN) – The Obama re-election team launched an all-out offense against Mitt Romney's record while governor of Massachusetts on Thursday with his top strategist arguing the "failed" policies supported by Romney as governor mirror those he now espouses.

On the steps of the Massachusetts State House, David Axelrod compared the promises Romney makes on the trail to those he delivered to Massachusetts voters, policies that he said led, among other things, to an increase in taxes and debt, a drop in job creation and cuts to education.

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"Massachusetts stumbled under Gov. Romney. He brought the orientation of a financial engineer who's career has not been about generating jobs it's been about generating short-term profit," Axelrod said before a group of supporters and protesters. "This may work in the realm of leveraged buyouts and quick scores. That may work in that world, but it's not how you build a future."

Axelrod followed a stream of former and current state officials who served the Bay State while Romney was governor, who each said Romney is trying to falsely sell his private sector experience as something that will help him ignite job creation, a promise he made and failed to deliver during his four years as governor.

"Gov. Romney came to the governor's office stating his business experience was to help the middle class by creating more jobs when in fact the record will show that he failed miserably," said John Barrett, the former North Adams, Massachusetts mayor.

Axelrod was greeted by Romney-supportive protesters, who he addressed at the top of his remarks.

"It is great to be in Massachusetts, Obama country," Axelrod responded. "I get tweets from some of these folks so I feel close to them. You can shout down speakers my friends but it is hard to etch-a-sketch the truth away."

The "Etch-A-Sketch" comment was a reference to a statement earlier in the year from a top Romney adviser who described the impending campaign re-set after the GOP primary as "like an Etch-A-Sketch."

The coordinated attack from Team Obama is the latest step from the campaign to discredit Romney's public and private record. They have steadily targeted his past as a private equity executive at Bain Capital and more recently have turned their lens to his experience in elected office.

Before the Obama event, two Republican state representatives took to the same steps to defend Romney's Massachusetts record on job creation, saying he generated more jobs while chief executive of the state than President Barack Obama has in his first term.

"The beautiful thing about the contrast here today with Gov. Romney and President Obama is that it's an apples to apples comparison. Both men took office as chief executives in a time of recession, in a time of downturn in the economy, look at the track record both men have to show for it," state Rep. Dan Winslow told reporters. "Romney had job creation in Massachusetts with net jobs created that exceed the number of net jobs created in the entire Untied States under the Obama administration."

"The reason Axelrod is here, the reason they're attacking Gov. Romney's record is they have nothing positive to say about their record of the last four years," Winslow added.

But Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, pointed to job creation in the United States over the past two months and said it makes more sense to compare job growth in Massachusetts with other states during the same time period, instead of with the president's record.

As the campaign often does, Smith pointed the state's 47th standing in the nation in terms of job growth when Romney left office.

That oft-cited number 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.

Earlier Thursday, Winslow described the statistic as a "canard," adding that Massachusetts was hit hard by the tech bubble burst.

- Watch an interview with Axelrod on CNN's "John King, USA" at 6 p.m. ET.

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Dee Bee

    With all this "dark" money in politics now, America is turning into an oligarchy. SuperPacs are unidentifiable where the money is coming from. Voters do have short-term memory dont' they. Obama's record on job creation is that there has been almost 2 straight years of job growth under Obama. But what got our country into alot of this mess? Deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, allowing Wall Street to play games with people's money,,,etc. What does Romney want to do, deregulate, more tax cuts and allow Wall Street to do whatever they want. And there are Americans who say,,"let's go back to that and try it again. It'll work this time." Trickle down economics and slashing programs for the poor is what this country needs. Haven't we tried this during Bush. The tax cuts and unfunded wars were the biggest cost to our surplus and deficits.

    May 31, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    How is the comparison of job creation between Obama and the national numbers and Romney and Massachusetts. number really fit? Why hasn't there been a way to see the numbers from Massachusetts during the time of Romney? Are we comparing the net jobs (gains and losses) or just gains? Let get some apples and apples together here.

    May 31, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Mario

    Mitt is a sell out and will do and say anything for money. What has he done in the last for years? Nothing but make millions on his over seas accounts and pay 13% in taxes. If we had a republican congress that is not controlled by the Tea Party and work to pass job bill million of American would be working. Since 2010 Obama is the only one creating jobs threw his excessive order. Obama is a true hero for the middle class and the low income people in this country.

    May 31, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. sanity

    Too bad Obama can't run on his own record; but, Romney can run on Obama's record.

    May 31, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. OnetermBama

    Hey, what about Obama's own record?
    Obama himself said that when people say something, they mean what they said. So what about Obama's 2008 campaign promise that he will cut the deficit by half at the end of his first term? If Obama cannot keep his word, why he deserves a second term? Does he think we the American voters are stupid ?

    May 31, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. jake

    Math is still math, makes no difference how you dice and chop it. As Governor of Mass, he ranked 47th...47th in job creation of all 50 states. Only 3 states did worse. Using that logic and reasoning, it would make more sense to nominate any of the other Governors of the first 46 states since they did a better job than Mitt did in creating jobs. Coming in at 47 out of 50 is no badge of honor, Mr. Mitt. Numbers don't lie, people like YOU do.

    May 31, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. John

    Massachusetts was 47th in job creation under Romney. He was a job destroyer and not a job creator. The facts do not lie....

    May 31, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. beevee

    The only way to do well in this election is to be on the offensive all the time until November 8 and not let up pounding Romney's out of touch (with the middle and poor people of this country) rich life and ruthless business savvy.

    May 31, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. BHPT

    Romney claims to love this country. Yet he made his fortune doing leveraged buyouts (which never work in the interests of working people), hides his assets in foreign bank accounts to avoid U.S. taxes, and neither he nor his five strapping healthy sons has chosen to serve defending this country.
    So where's the beef, Romney?

    May 31, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. BigTBone

    The last thing this country needs is to be run "like a business", especially a corporate raider-run business.

    Also, was there an opposition party filibuster/supermajority situation in the Mass. state govt to the extent that Obama has seen? Makes it hard to govern when you know 60 votes is an impossibility...

    May 31, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Romney was a failure as the Gov. of Mass. His 4.X% unemployment is very misleading. Most especially when you consider that MA had negative private sector jobs growth, and that 200,000 workers left the state during his tenure. New jobs were scarce, and people packed up and left.

    May 31, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. cuisinemanager

    The Obama camp would be better off telling people ideas they have to get the economy moving, instead of attacking anything that moves. The entire Bain incident made Obama look foolish and every time he has his attack dogs lash out it makes Obama look petty and incompetent.
    Where are the ideas, the plans, the things were said in the campaign! This attacking business must stop on both sides but particularly the President!

    May 31, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Dan

    Jake, I think you are missing the point...even if Massachusetts was ranked 49th in job creation, he still would have created more jobs than the current President has. Additionally, Governor Romney worked with a state legislature that was over 75% Democrats...he worked to close up many tax 'loopholes' and increased a number of fees, I thought these were things that progressives generally liked? President Obama had his own party in both of the national houses of Congress and was able to pass each and every major piece of policy that he wanted. Look at where that has us now...

    May 31, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. cuisinemanager

    Running the country is a business, what in the world do you think it is, an experiment. The country better be run like a business and when cuts in employment, cuts in the budget need to be made because others have spent recklessly then CUT. When others run the country into the ground because they do not think it needs to be run like a business than we need ruthless cuts just to keep it alive. When the CEO borrows too much, spends too much, gives too much away then we need to fire the CEO and hire a new one! Running the country is simply a business, nothing more nothing less!
    The trouble begins when people and politicians think that the country should not be run like a business!

    May 31, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Dan

    Massachusetts was 47th in job creation under Romney. He was a job destroyer and not a job creator. The facts do not lie....

    John, the facts state that Romney had 1.5% job growth (the stat leading to the '47th' line) while Obama has a net job loss nationally. Would those facts not indicate that Obama is a job destroyer and Romney a job creator, as you state? I love when people spew blatant lies and then the actual facts completely contradict them!

    May 31, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Aquamaninaz

    wow politfact has a report that is contradictory to what they are saying Romney did, but hey let's not look at the numbers.

    May 31, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. RWB1956

    It always makes me laugh when people on this blog claim to know what the "real" job numbers are. They're so busy being negative, that can't even hear what the Republicans are saying they are going to do to them and this country if elected. Fortunately, it won't be just the fearful old people and bigots voting this election.

    May 31, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. Dan

    BHPT, you clearly have no knowledge of venture capital or leveraged buyouts, and I suspect only get your 'knowledge' of them from the talking points of various news media. While some may result in bankruptcy and loss jobs, many others result in restructing and then great success and growth for the company. That of course results in private sector job creation. Not to mention that many of the failed examples were companies on the cusp of failure/bankruptcy to begin with. You are joking yourself if you want to argue that business practices like those of Bain Capital have been a net negative on our economy, because that is simply not true.

    May 31, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Dean

    Axelrod is a tool.

    May 31, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. joe

    I read every buzz point that Obama put out about Romney, whether exaggerated or a lie or deception (worse than a lie, malice with forethought) repeated by his sheep. Obama could vote to kill babies and these people would still vote for him. Oh that's right, he did vote to kill babies. I would love to see Barack have a beer summit with a botched late term abortion survivor. Wonder how that conversation would go?

    May 31, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. larry5

    You'd better have a strong healthy immune system if you get anywhere near Axelrod. A good pair of boots are a good idea, too.

    May 31, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Brhino

    Axelrod is a joke and he's not helping the president. The dem party needs to do some housecleaning or they will lose big in Nov. Come to think of it, I hope he stays. As a matter of fact, let's hear more from Biden too.

    May 31, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. deven politicer watcher for THE TRUTH

    President Obama's campaign called Mitt Romney a " loser " if he was a loser he wouldn't of won the republican presidental nomination.President Obama said he would cut the debt by half.That was a failed promise by President Obama.President Obama campaign team said Mitt Romney took jobs away.WRONG.He got in Bain Capital when the company was going bank rept.Mitt Romney had to fire people fix the company then he hired people.Running a buisness isn't easy.Try doing it your self and you would see how hard it is.Advice to Obama don't make promisses that you can't keep because it's gonna bight you in the ass back.Mitt Romney is a true American leader that we need.

    May 31, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. ltinny

    Romney is a loser..look how much money it took him and FINALLY he got the delegates, not by integrity either. He smeared his own. He would sell his own to win. Repubs worship greed. They are all losers in that party, including the Tea baggers.

    May 31, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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