FACT CHECK: Perry, Romney Twist Records In Debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Mitt Romney and Rick Perry thumped their chests over their job-creation records as governor during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, they left the bad parts out.

Yes, employment has grown by more than 1 million since Perry took office in Texas. But a lot of those jobs are not well paid.

True, unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent when Romney was Massachusetts governor. But the state’s employment growth was among the nation’s worst.

A look at some of the claims in the debate, and how they compare with the facts:

PERRY: “Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that we’ve created have been above minimum wage.”

THE FACTS: To support the claim, the Perry campaign provided federal statistics for December 2010 showing only 5.3 percent of all jobs in Texas pay the minimum wage.

But those figures represent all workers, not just the new jobs, for which data are unavailable. And that does not account for low-wage jobs that may be barely above the minimum wage. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 51 percent of all Texas workers make less than $33,000 a year. Only 30 percent make more than $50,000 a year. Nationally, Texas ranked 34th in median household income from 2007 to 2009.

About 9.5 percent of Texas hourly workers, excluding those who are paid salaries, earn the minimum wage or less, tying Mississippi for the highest percentage in the nation.


ROMNEY: “At the end of four years, we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent. That’s a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in the entire country.”

THE FACTS: To be sure, 4.7 percent unemployment would be a welcome figure nationally. But Romney started from a much better position than President Barack Obama did. Unemployment was only 5.6 percent when Romney took office in 2003, meaning it came down by less than 1 percentage point when he left office in 2007. Obama inherited a national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.


PERRY: “Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.”

ROMNEY: “Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.”

PERRY: “That’s not correct.”

ROMNEY: “Yes, that is correct.”

THE FACTS: Romney was correct.

Romney accurately stated that George W. Bush — even without his predecessor — saw jobs grow at a faster rate during his 1994-2000 years as governor than Perry has during his 11 years governing Texas. Employment grew by about 1.32 million during Bush’s six years in office. Employment during Perry’s years has grown about 1.2 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As for Perry’s claim about Romney’s record and that of Dukakis, he was at least in the ballpark.

Democratic Gov. Dukakis saw Massachusetts employment grow by 500,000 jobs during his two divided terms, 1975 to 1979, and 1983 to 1991, a rate of more than 41,000 jobs a year.

Romney, governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, saw employment grow from 3.23 million to 3.29 million, growth of about 60,000 jobs, or a rate of 15,000 a year. That means Dukakis’ job growth rate was nearly three times Romney’s.


MICHELE BACHMANN: “Obamacare is killing jobs. We know that from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, but I know it firsthand from speaking to people. We see it this summer. There are 47 percent of African-American youth that are currently without jobs, 36 percent of Hispanic youth.”

THE FACTS: The health care law that Obama pushed and Congress passed last year has long been labeled a job killer by Republicans, who often cite a Congressional Budget Office analysis to buttress their claims. But the CBO at no point said the law would result in job losses. Instead it made the more nuanced assertion that fewer people would chose to work.

“The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount — roughly half a percent — primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,” the CBO said in an analysis. That’s not job-killing, that’s workers choosing not to work because of easier access to health care. The budget office said some people might decide to retire earlier because it would be easier to get health care, instead of waiting until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.

The Minnesota congresswoman also states the percentages of unemployment among minority youth. But there is no evidence that the health care law is responsible for that level of unemployment. In fact, the health care law is still largely unimplemented, with some of its key provisions not taking effect until 2014.


PERRY: On global warming, “The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just, is nonsense. … Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.”

THE FACTS: The scientific consensus on climate change is about as settled as any major scientific issue can be. Perry’s opinion runs counter to the view of an overwhelming majority of scientists that pollution released from the burning of fossil fuels is heating up the planet. The National Academy of Sciences, in an investigation requested by Congress, concluded last year: “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by human activities, and poses significant risks to humans and the environment.”


BACHMANN: “It’s wrong for government, whether it’s state or federal government, to impose on parents what they must do to inoculate their children.”

THE FACTS: She was correct that Perry supported mandatory immunization of girls to reduce future risks of cervical cancer, although the measure was blocked by Texas lawmakers and parents would have had some ability to file a conscientious objection to the requirement. Perry signed an executive order in 2007 directing his state health department to make the human papillomavirus vaccine available to “mandate the age-appropriate vaccination of all female children” before they enter sixth grade. Texas would have been the first state to require the immunizations.


PERRY: “What I find compelling is what we’ve done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade.” He specifically mentioned successes in reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 58 percent and ozone levels by 27 percent.

THE FACTS: Texas has reduced emissions as Perry described, but most of those reductions were required under the federal Clean Air Act. However, the Environmental Protection Agency recently rescinded the state’s authority to grant some air pollution permits because the state did not comply with federal regulations. Texas, home to America’s oil and gas industry, still emits more carbon dioxide — the chief greenhouse gas — than any other state in the country, according to government data. Several metropolitan areas in Texas still violate health-based limits for smog, and the county that is home to Houston is one of the biggest emitters of hazardous air pollution in the country. The Texas Legislature also passed, and Perry signed, a law that will delay enforcing stiffer clean air regulations by two years.

Associated Press writers Chris Tomlinson in Austin, Texas; Steve Peoples in Exeter, N.H.; Dina Cappiello in Washington; and Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., contributed to this report.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Jim

    Well, here are the facts:

    Both have stellar records as compared to what Obama has done with his first two and a half years in office.

    How many private sector jobs has he created?

    Besides the poor, illegal immigrants and union workers, which make-up less than 30% of the entire U.S. population, who has he helped besides himself and his other Washington cronies? The answer is simple, no one!

    The left leaning media needs to get a grip and come to the realistic conclusion that Obama is over his head and ill prepared to lead this country!

    • Change the System

      Here’s something interesting;: There is no one, repeat NO ONE qualified to run the US Gov’t because it is so proufoundly complex that it would take 8 or possibly 10 years of hand-ons, on-the- job-training to learn how to manipulate all the variables for optimum effect. The system is inherently flawed with a 4 year term because the president it not even half-way capable of running an effective US Gov’t before the next election or any serious long-term results can be achieved.

    • Matt

      A President can not create private sector jobs. He does not run a private company. He only can create government jobs which increasing taxes. Right now we have private companies that could be creating jobs yet they sit on their cash. We can’t cut spending nor taxes until more people are employed.

      • Another Matt

        THANK YOU – you couldn’t be more correct on this, I’m so sick and tired of any politician stating they created a job. it’s not possible, they can only create the environment for job growth. Additionally, wait until Obama comes on tonight and says we need to continue to spend money to create jobs, the guy doesn’t have a clue.

        • What?

          Where have all you intelligent people been? Everytime I come on to read these posts–it’s a bunch of uninformed back and forth. Suddenly, today there’s a Matt and Matt and a Bernanke page full of intelligent life.

          • what!?!

            For the most part, the WCCO’s comment sections are only worth a good laugh.. But every now and then you will see signs of intelligences..

            Stay angry friends!

    • frozenrunner

      I do not believe in recent years that either Romney or Perry have worked in the private sector. The only private sector jobs they created were semi permanent campaign staffs.
      To paint the media with the broad stroke of left leaning shows your disconnect with reality. You can find a media outlet to tell you whatever you want to hear.

      • Just sayin

        When you open with”thumped their chests” you are a bit slanted.

        • GH

          That’s because CCO is as liberal as Obama. I just love how they always attack Republicans, but bad word is never said about any Dems running.

  • Hungry

    Romney and Perry look like the next batch of crooks being shoved down our throats. You would think Americans would be able to spot corruption a mile out after being taken for a ride so many times before. The only republican candidate I trust is Ron Paul and that’s only because I actually did my own research and stopped listening to the media !!

    • Another Matt

      I’m with you brother, the media is a joke, that was the worst setup debate I’ve seen, basically to your point it was here’s your choices, Romney, Perry and because he’s the most liberal, here’s a shot of Huntsman.

      Ron Paul is the best option for the US, and I think the only one that could legit malty turn things around.

      • dan

        I’m on the Republican side with you, but Ron Paul, really? The guy thinks we should abolish FEMA, TSA, FDA and all auto safty standards.
        I am for much less govt, but dont you think this is a bit extreme?
        I did love Newts comments last night about not falling into the medias all out battle between the candidates.

        • Ron Paul 2012

          We’ve been living in federal bondage for so long that we think this little old baby doctor is extreme. What would we do without these government agencies? We’d form better, smaller, centalized versions. Freedom—- is not extreme.

    • Jay

      Gov Perry has created jobs in TExas by eliminating taxes on business. Now its all on the backs of the middle class! which has compared the incomes of Texans comparable to Miss. Neither of these two candidates, nor Bachman would be good for us!! Our country cant afford more people that believe businesses desserve tax free status while workers make minimum wages..

  • G Dog

    None of those bozos on the stage have a clue. Liars, flip floppers, delusional (Yes, you Michele), inflated egos with not a care for the average American.

    • dan

      And what has Obama done for the average American? reduced payroll tax and give you an extra $3 per week? Doubled unemployment, Doubled gas prices, Doubled the National debt. I think in Basketball they call it a Triple Double!

      • Matt

        get your fact straight.

        US Federal debt increases by U.S Presidents:
        Reagan —–186%
        Bush I —–54%
        Clinton —41%
        Bush II——72%
        …Obama –23%

        • Billy


          Please give us the dollar figure increase for each president and maybe average it per year in office. Might be a slight difference in opinion.

          • Dale

            @ Billy
            Since math would appear to be difficult for you, Averages are
            Reagan 23,25% per year
            Bush I 13.25
            Clinton 5.12
            Bush II 9.0
            Obama 8.36 as he has been in office for 2 3/4 years.

      • OtherDan

        Doubled unemployment? Doubled gas prices? You need a fact check. As mentioned in comments above, politicians do not and can not directly create jobs. Similarly, the president doesn’t have the power to “double unemployment” and many of the measures that could be used to help set a positive environment for unemployment are being held up by congress as a political stunt. Companies are holding onto a record amount of cash, but are outsourcing and not hiring. And gas prices? You think the president controls gas prices (or that crazy Michele can dictate that gas will sell for $2)? Ever heard of speculators or seen the effects of deregulation while oil companies make record profits?

        (And this ignores the fact that your interpretation of ‘double’ doesn’t seem to mean twice as big. Unemployment is not double what it was when Obama took office – 7.8% x 2 does not equal the 9% we’re at – gas prices were $4.12 / gallon at the end of Bush’s term – are you buying gas for $8.24 right now? – and the national debt percentage increases are really no where near 200% – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms )

        I agree with G Dog, “none of those bozos on the stage have a clue” and it will be a sad day when we’ll have to choose between them. Why does it have to be a matter of “at least he’s not as bad as _____” instead of having someone we want to vote FOR?!!! I want to see candidates I want to vote FOR, not candidates I vote for as a way to vote AGAINST someone else.

        • dan

          I wont waste my time on all your drabble. Average gas Price in January 2009 were $1.78 times 2 equals $3.56. Actually prices are closer to $3.69 today so more than doubled. I will let you check the rest of your facts

          • Matt

            what make you think that a President can control the price of anything…

          • frozenrunner

            What you are saying then is there should be government control of gas prices? Government control of the oil companies? Obviously you don’t like the price of gas. The price of crude oil is $10 higher now then when Obama took office so you can’t blame it on the price of crude oil. Nasty oil companies like Exxon with their 10.7 billion dollar profits. You must think it is an outrage for a company to make so much

            • Matt

              you know by drabble, he means facts.

        • Ron Paul 2012

          There’s plenty Obama could have done. He either didn’t have the right people around him or he’s just a deer in the headlights, over his head, failure. He could have attacked the mortgage mess fast and with muscle to refi all the crap and keep people in their homes before they plunged further. He could have recognized the debt problem and not pushed the debt ceiling up in secret in 2010 and then push thru an expensive obamacare operation–his only political capital blown in one shot. He could have “asked” that Bernanke to not flood the market with imaginary dollars with his magic printing press. Need I go on?

  • Sick Of Politics

    The real winners of the debate are the people who ignored this clown show and watched Family Guy reruns instead.

    • OtherDan

      Here here! (Though it’s ironic that one of the episodes last night had Lois getting into politics by running for mayor)

  • Betty

    I wonder if there will be a “Fact Check” after Obamas job speech tonight? Doubt it as he wont have the guts to give any details or any information that he could be held accountable to!

    • Carl

      The libturd media wont touch it. They will be in all praise mode tomorrow spouting how this was the turning point in his presidency and what a wonderful inspirational leader he is.

  • nobama

    obama has done nothing but devide this nation! We have been hoodwinked by this adminastration

    • Matt

      Republicans are so blind to the damage they are doing to the US just to make Obama look bad. question I am wondering for you. Why are you on a CBS news site shouldn’t you be over on fox news.

      • Reasonable

        It’s free and anonymous to post here?

        While it’s true that the knuckleheads running the GOP right now simply want to get rid of the current president at any cost, I’d have to say that Obama hasn’t done all that much to help himself. He capitulates to to the right but for some reason thinks it’s compromise to start in the middle and fall to the right. For someone who is hailed as a great orator, he never tries to change the conversation. I mean really, somehow or another letting old people retire and use a govt savings account (social security) and having access to reduced cost health care (since they’re retired and no longer have their full income) is now an “entitlement” as opposed to something that has been earned by years in the workforce. When did this happen?

        It’s all just so absurd and when you all burn your own house down by voting heavily in favor of the GOP, I’ll be glad to finally use my dual citizenship and get out of your way on the road to self destruction.

        • Ha!

          Dude, are you married? Cause I really need to be a part of that dual citizenship plan you got going on! I’m hot.

        • Tim

          Don’t worry you won’t be kicked out of MN just cause you realized the dem plan has failed. You’re being very honest. A rare quality with a dem!!! None of your friends will know you posted and I’m sure most of them have changed their minds too. Obama said 2010 was a shellacking? Wait til 2012. He ain’t seen nothing yet!!

      • Reality sucks

        They are all blind to the damage they are doing to the U.S. Did you read the latest on the first day of the super committee? Fun stuff. Obama is making himself look bad, the (R) candidates are running a dog and pony show and the reason we post on CCO is because it’s easier than the other sites. Do you think Obama will be able to pack those superdomes this time around? Can’t wait to see how this goes down.

      • Sensible

        Obama is doing a fine job of looking bad without anyones help!

        • Matt

          It is hard to do a good job with the terrorists in the house are unwilling to do anything that allow Obama to be a good President. Come 2012 we will remember the time the terrorist teaparty took us hostage.

          • John

            I have some swampland I’m sure you would buy. Man are you gullible!!!
            What grade are you in?
            BTW-NO Santa Claus-Sorry!!

  • MET

    Oh, but it OK for the govenment to tell people who they can marry, right Bachmann? And what the heck is her obsession with the healthcare plan? She brings that up no matter what people are discussing!! How is that hurting the job growth? She makes the statement and doesn’t explain why she thinks that/ She’ll be out of there soon….Thank God!!!!

  • meow

    Landslide win for Obama … again.

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