President Obama's senior campaign adviser, David Axelrod, is crying foul over the Romney campaign’s comparison of the two presidential contender’s economic records, accusing the Romney campaign of “breathtaking hypocrisy” by employing a double standard.
“It’s breathtaking hypocrisy for them to say, ‘you really can’t include [Romney’s] first year [as governor of Massachusetts] because he took over at a tough time,’ ” Axelrod said in a conference call on Monday. “That’s not the standard by which Gov. Romney has held this president … the question is, are they kidding, and do they expect people to take this seriously?”
The Romney campaign has consistently hit the president for net job losses incurred since he took office in January of 2009, including in an email sent to reporters on Monday citing a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that shows the country has lost 572,000 jobs under the Obama administration.
Those numbers include job losses from Obama’s early days in office, when the economy was hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. The Obama campaign argues that now that the president’s policies have had time to take effect, the economy has logged 27 straight months of job growth.
But while the Romney campaign has held Obama responsible for job losses using the full-term metric, some Romney surrogates have argued that Romney’s record on job creation as governor of Massachusetts, which the Obama campaign has assailed as the 47th worst in the country, should only take into account the final years of his administration, when his policies had time to come into effect.
Axelrod argued that the Romney campaign is trying to have it both ways by applying a different standard to the president than the one it’s applying to Romney, and said the Obama campaign intends to judge Romney’s “performance according to the standards which he has measured us.”
“Romney doesn't give Obama any credit for inheriting a bad economy, but expects you to give him a break in Massachusetts,” he continued. “He thinks there should be rules for him and rules for everyone else. We’re going to hold him to the same standard that they’ve held us.”
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul shot back in a statement, saying “it is good news that President Obama’s team has decided to discuss jobs and the economy.”
“We are happy to compare Governor Romney’s record of positive job creation and a 4.7% unemployment rate in Massachusetts to President Obama’s record of declining job growth and 40 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent.”
Both campaigns have intensified their attacks on their rival's economic policies after a weak jobs report showed unemployment rising to 8.2 percent and the economy only adding 69,000 jobs in May.
Romney has touted his record at private-equity firm Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts to argue that he has the skills needed to turn around the economy, which voters rank as the most pressing issue.
The Obama campaign, however, has questioned Romney's success in bringing jobs to the Bay State. On Sunday, Axelrod said that Romney's record in government and the private sector did not show a strong track record in creating jobs.
"No one’s arguing whether Mitt Romney’s qualified to be president," he said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "What we’re arguing is whether he’s qualified to call himself a job-creator. That’s not what he did in business. ... And that’s not certainly what he did in Massachusetts, where they had one of the worst economic records in the country.”