'This Week' Transcript: Stephanie Cutter and Eric Fehrnstrom

ROMNEY: This building, this half-a-billion-dollar taxpayer investment, represents how the president thinks about free enterprise. Free enterprise to the president means taking money from the taxpayers and giving it freely to his friends.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to talk about each of these issues in turn. Stephanie, let me begin with you. You saw David Axelrod make the point about the Massachusetts' jobs record, but in Massachusetts, unemployment did go down...

CUTTER: Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... under Mitt Romney, and it was below 5 percent when he left.

CUTTER: Right. So let me tell you the story about Massachusetts under Governor Romney. It did fall to 47th out of 50 in jobs creation. Wages went down when they were going up in the rest of the country. He left his successor with debt and a deficit, and manufacturing jobs left that state at twice the rate as the rest of the country.

And there was a reason for this, because the governor didn't have policies to get the economy moving again. Remember, that recession that he blames ended almost a year before he was even elected, and the country was growing jobs. Six months before Massachusetts -- he created one job in Massachusetts.

Now, at this point in his term, 40 months into his term, he had created about 4,000 jobs. At this point in the president's term, Massachusetts has created five times that amount in Massachusetts. The reason the unemployment rate went down, in part, according to independent analysis in Massachusetts, is because 250,000 people left that state.

KRUGMAN: Can I just break in? That actually...


FEHRNSTROM: Well, I'd like an opportunity to respond to the political attack, and -- and that is, the magic number, here, George, is 4.7 percent. That was the level of unemployment achieved by Governor Romney in Massachusetts during his term in office. That's close to full unemployment. What does that mean? It meant anybody who wanted a job had a pretty good chance of finding one. I have no doubt that President Obama would happily trade his 8.2 percent unemployment rate for Mitt Romney's 4.7 percent.

KRUGMAN: Massachusetts is a classic example, having nothing to do with current politics. It shows why America works as a currency union, while Europe doesn't, because Massachusetts had a terrible bust at the end of the '80s, and the unemployment rate eventually came way down, although there was no recovery in jobs. And the reason is people left, which is an interesting story, and it's good that people could find jobs elsewhere, but I don't think a president of the United States can solve our job problems by encouraging Americans to move to some other country to find work.

FEHRNSTROM: Can I just say, on the jobs question, because this comes up repeatedly that Massachusetts was 47 out of 50 in terms of jobs growth. Actually, when Mitt Romney arrived, Massachusetts was an economic basket house. If you throw D.C. into the mix, we were 51 out of 51. By the time Mitt Romney left four years later, we were in the middle of the pack. We were 30th in the nation in terms of job growth. That's the trend line that you want to see. That's called a turnaround. And it's what this president has been unable to execute with the national economy.

CUTTER: Well, I guess I'd just -- I have been looking at different numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics...



CUTTER: ... which I think we all follow.

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