They Can Run, But They Can’t Hide Their Stimulus-Loving Pasts
Just as we were crawling out of bed this morning, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign eagerly blasted out a new video attacking President Obama on the stimulus. Shortly thereafter, however, Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry became engaged in a nasty fight over who had flip-flopped harder on their past support for the Obama stimulus plan.
Here’s a rundown of how the action unfolded today and, more importantly, how both Romney and Perry are forever entangled with the Recovery Act, as much as they’d both like to pretend otherwise now.
Round 1: Romney Tries to Edit Away His Pro-Stimulus Comments, Calls Perry A Liar
Though Romney was also critical of the Recovery Act in his book, he at least initially offered an undeniably positive comment:
- Mitt Romney in the 2010 hard cover edition of his book No Apology:
The ‘all-Democrat’ stimulus that passed in early 2009 will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery.
- Mitt Romney in the 2011 soft cover edition of his book No Apology:
The ‘all-Democrat’ stimulus passed in early 2009 has been a failure.
Romney, who is apparently unaware of the existence of “the google,” also excised another passage from his book in which he suggested that Romneycare and its individual mandate could serve as a model for the entire nation.
The Romney campaign responded to the attacks by calling Perry a liar, saying he has “a problem with truth.”
Round 2: Romney Reminds Everyone That Perry Extensively Relied on the Stimulus
As ThinkProgress has been reporting since way back in March 2009 and the Romney campaign reminded reporters today, Perry is all hat and no cattle when it comes to his opposition to the Recovery Act:
- Perry relied the most heavily of any state on stimulus funds to balance his budgets.
- Perry said the stimulus didn’t create any jobs at all, when in fact it saved or created as many as 3.6 MILLION jobs — including in Texas.
- After showily rejecting stimulus funds to cover unemployment benefits, Perry later reversed course and requested hundreds of millions of dollars— even more than he initially rejected.
Round 3: Romney’s Pro-Fed and Fiscal Stimulus Past Further Exposed
While these days Republican leaders are practically begging the Fed to keep unemployment high, it wasn’t always so. Back in December 2008, Romney eagerly supported action by the Fed and clearly said a stimulus plan was necessary:
So this is surely the time for economic stimulus. But — and this is the crucial point — the government can’t just make itself bigger and more oppressive in the guise of stimulating the economy. That would make matters worse. Nor should we forget that fiscal stimulus is but one part of the solution. As Christina Romer, Barack Obama’s designee as chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors concluded from her study of the Great Depression, bad monetary policy was its greatest cause and good monetary policy was its most effective cure. The Fed should continue to expand the money supply. And, it should confirm that it will not tolerate deflation — the pain of inflation pales in comparison.
That being said, a stimulus plan is needed without further delay, and there are some things that Republicans should insist on.
The Romney campaign once again attempted to dispatch this latest round of attacks from Perry by calling him a liar with a “Pinocchio problem.”
IN ONE SENTENCE: Mitt Romney and Rick Perry will do nearly anything to appease the Tea Party extremists in their party, whether it’s running from their pasts or attacking President Obama’s plan to make sure that no millionaires are paying a lower tax rate than working families — a commonsense rule that even two-thirds of Republicans say they support.