Photo: The Iowa Republican
Mitt Romney has repeatedly said that President Barack Obama inherited an American economy in recession and only made it worse.”He didn’t create the recession, but he made it worse and longer,” Romney said during the June 13th New Hampshire debate.
That assertion (as a matter of fact) is debatable: the National Bureau of Economic Research, which tracks and officially bookends American recessions, says the recession ended in June 2009.
Worse, though, Romney recently denied having ever claimed such a thing. “I didn’t say that things are worse,” he told an NBC reporter last week. “What I said was that the economy hasn’t turned around.”
Steve Chapman, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, in one of the best examinations of Romney’s shortcomings as a candidate that we’ve read, argues that the “made it worse” episode demonstrates Romney’s weaknesses as a campaigner:
“This incident is not just an isolated flub. It’s a reminder of Romney’s chief flaws as a candidate. One is his habit of eagerly changing any position whenever he can gain by it. Another is his tendency to deny having done so.”
Chapman says that Romney, as the Republican front-runner in the race to replace Obama, should be debating the administration’s economic message. Instead, Chapman writes, “he’s debating himself, and he’s losing.”
“By bungling his economic message, Romney revives the suspicion that he can’t stick to a position or stick to the facts. He also undermines his main advantage: the belief among many Republicans that the economy will be the deciding issue and that Romney, with his business background and managerial acumen, is best suited to exploit it.”
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