Romney Adviser Eric Fehrnstrom Slams Obama's Economic Leadership


Romney campaign senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom slammed President Obama's "deficit in leadership," claiming that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's business experience better prepares him to turn the slumping economy around.

"What we really have here is a deficit in leadership," Fehrnstrom said this morning on the "This Week" roundtable. "And this president came into office without any prior experience running anything. He never even ran a corner store. And I think it shows in the way that he's handling the economy."

"Governor Romney has led in the private sector," Fehrnstrom added. "He organized and ran the Winter Olympic Games in 2002. He's run a state successfully. I think that's a big difference between these two."

The latest jobs report showed the economy created just 69,000 jobs in May, well below expectations, as unemployment inched up to 8.2 percent. The stock market tumbled 275 points on Friday, wiping out all of 2012's gains - setting the stage for the state of the economy to remain the central question for voters on Election Day.

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter defended President Obama's leadership on the economy, saying he helped save the auto industry which has kept manufacturing strong.

If you looked at the report on Friday, the areas where we are doing well are areas that we've been able to affect policy," Cutter said. "Manufacturing jobs continue to rise. And that's precisely because the president stepped in and did what nobody else was willing to do to save the auto industry. And that has had a great impact on manufacturing jobs up and down the supply chain."

Cutter also continued the Obama campaign's targeting of Romney's record as Massachusetts governor, saying that he failed to boost the state's economy.

"It did fall to 47th out of 50 in jobs creation," Cutter said of the Bay State under Romney. "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."

Fehrnstrom defended Romney's Massachusetts record, touting the state's 4.7 percent unemployment during Romney's term.

"I have no doubt that President Obama would happily trade his 8.2 percent unemployment rate for Mitt Romney's 4.7 percent," Fehrnstrom said.

Cutter and Fehrnstrom agreed that jobs aren't being added fast enough right now, but Fehrnstrom said Obama's policies have not been effective in speeding up the recovery.

"It's not that we don't think that this president is trying. I think he is," Fehrnstrom said. "It's just that his policies are not working."

But Cutter said Congress has failed to act on President Obama's proposals to spur hiring in industries like construction and teaching.

"The proposals that we've put forward that have been sitting there for nine months," Cutter said. "They need to get off their hands and stop rooting for failure."

Nobel-prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman agreed that Congress has blocked Obama's economic policies.

"The fact of the matter is, this president has not managed to get very much of what he wanted done," Krugman said. "It's terribly unfair that he's being judged on the failure of the economy to respond to policies that had been largely dictated by a hostile Congress."

But ABC News' George Will said the Obama has not lived up to his economic promises, and has little time before the election to make further progress.

"With his predictions about what his stimulus would accomplish, what his green jobs programs would accomplish, the president gave a lot of hostages to fortune, and fortune has shot the hostages," Will said.