The Washington Post's Greg Sargent took note of this interview over the weekend and I've got to agree with him on all of his points other than one thing. Calling Candy Crowley a "neutral journalist." She parrots Republican talking points constantly on CNN and is about as "neutral" or as much of a "journalist" as the talking head over at Fox.
Here's more from his post -- CNN amplifies Romney’s bogus jobs claims:
Yesterday the Romney campaign distributed a memo to reporters that attacked Obama’s record on jobs as a “failure.” To support this conclusion, the memo cited, among other things, the “net” job loss that has occurred on Obama’s watch.
This use of that “net” job loss number, which is technically true in the most narrow sense, is at best highly misleading and dishonest. That’s because it factors in the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs the economy was hemorraghing in the months just after Obama took office, when the economy was in free fall — before Obama’s policies kicked in. Yet the Romney camp has again and again presented this “net” job loss number as proof that those same policies have failed. Today on CNN, Candy Crowley confronted David Axelrod with this same number — and presented it as a meaningful one, just as the Romney camp continues to do. [...]
I hope Crowley takes a look at at Paul Krugman’s explanation and chart, which details how absurd it is to use this figure in isolation as a metric to judge Obama’s policies and as evidence that they destroyed jobs. Indeed, the statistics show that once the stimulus passed, private sector job loss declined from month to month and turned around in the spring of 2010, after which there have been over 20 straight months of private sector job growth. Crowley might also check out Steve Benen’s charts, which make all this very simple to understand.
Greg noted in his post that "If this is how this debate is going to be covered, it’s going to be a very long campaign." Get ready for a long campaign Greg, because the corporate media is going to continue to carry water for Romney. This is just the beginning. And Obama's policies do deserve some honest scrutiny, but I'm not expecting to get much of that from our beltway Villagers that thrive on conflict and fake balance to get ratings. Facts don't seem to be something they've got much concern for. If Democrats want those charts you linked to be shown, they'd better start showing up with them on their own poster board, or they're not going to show them on the air.
Full transcript below the fold.
CROWLEY: Well, let me bring you some -- a very Washington thing, and that is poll numbers. The latest CNN/ORC poll, the question was who can best get the economy moving? Who can get the economy moving? Under Obama, 40 percent; Romney, 53 percent.
Where -- you obviously think there's a disconnect here. Where is it?
AXELROD: Well, I think that's what campaigns are for. And we're going to have a big debate about our visions for the future. You know, Governor Romney told some voter who was sharing her economic concerns with him about her own life the other day, and he said -- you know, he gave her a whole treatise on the economy and said -- finished by saying, well, you know, productivity equals income.
Well, he misses the central issue of our time. Americans aren't -- it's not that they're not working hard enough. They're working harder than they've ever worked, and for the last decade, their -- their income has been flat, really for several decades, and it's dropped in the last decade.
That is the central issue of our time. How do we create an economy in which the middle class is growing; wages are growing; standards of living are not declining but growing. That's what a successful economy looks like. He misses that point. And we're going to have a big debate about how we achieve that kind of economy. It's not just about folks at the top doing well. It's about everybody having the opportunity to get ahead.
CROWLEY: But couldn't that huge gap, which is a pretty big gap between those who think you could handle the economy as opposed to Mitt Romney -- couldn't it also be that, from the day -- from the month the president took office, we still have 1.7 million fewer jobs in the marketplace?
AXLEROD: Candy, let's have -- you know what, I'm happy to have that discussion. Do you know that, when he was campaigning for president in 2007 and 2008, Governor Romney had nothing but praise for the economic policies that were in place at that time, as America was sliding into the worst recession since the Great Depression, after eight years in which we...
CROWLEY: But this isn't Romney. This is a fact.
AXELROD: ... after which we squandered the -- a $2 trillion surplus.
The worst month that we've had of job loss was the month that this president took office from the last administration, and since that time, we've created 3 million private-sector jobs.
If you look at the chart, the chart's going like this. We've had 22 straight months of private-sector job growth.
Now, we need to accelerate that. But the fact is Governor Romney praised the policies that got us into this mess. He wants to go back to those policies, and he assigns everything that's gone wrong in our economy to the president, and he says everything that's gone right has nothing to do with him.
CROWLEY: Let me talk a bit about Bain Capital, where Mitt Romney, you know, ran the company.
AXELROD: I've heard that.
CROWLEY: He has -- it has been quite the rage subject on the campaign trail. And one of the things that you all have said and tried to reiterate what some of his Republican rivals are saying is, listen, this guy is a big corporate raider; he went in; he, you know, closed up companies, lost all these jobs.
He was asked about this recently on CBS, and I want to tell you -- I want to play for our audience something he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: In the general election, I'll be pointing out that the president took the reins of General Motors and Chrysler, closed factories, closed dealerships, laid off thousands and thousands of workers. He did it to try and save the business. We also had, on occasion, to do things that are tough to try and save a business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: You've got to do things that are tough to try to save a business. Does he have a point?
AXELROD: Let me point out that there are 150,000 more people working in the auto industry because of what the president did.
CROWLEY: There are, but they did lay off people.
AXELROD: And we would have lost -- if we had followed Governor Romney's prescription, which was to let Detroit go -- he famously wrote an op-ed saying let Detroit go bankrupt. If that had happened, we would have lost 1.4 million jobs. The reason that his -- his work at Bain is an issue is because Governor Romney has offered his business experience as his sole credential, really, for being president of the United States. So it behooves everybody to look at what that experience is.
The truth is that he closed 1,000 or more factories, stores and offices. He outsourced tens of thousands of jobs. He took 12...
AXELROD: Just a second. He took 12 companies to bankruptcy, on which he and his partners made hundreds of millions of dollars.
CROWLEY: But the point here is, I think, that doesn't he have a point by showing, look, the president had to say to GM, for instance, you've got to lose some of these jobs. They closed up dealerships. So in order to make the company healthy and able to move on to then create more jobs, he had to cut jobs?
AXELROD: Look, first of all, the bankruptcies that I -- that I cited, the 12 bankruptcies, were ones in which he participated, in which he and his partners made hundreds of millions of dollars. He is the one who is claiming job gains for companies -- from companies after he and his -- Bain got out of them, years after he and Bain got out of them. I'm just assigning to him the things that he personally...
CROWLEY: We're talking about a record that isn't there at the moment.
AXELROD: ... that he was responsible for. But in terms -- and closing -- you know, saving an industry, as the president did, is different than stripmining companies in order to -- in order to profit off of them, which is, in many cases, what -- what Mr. Romney did.
Again, he's entitled to do that. That is -- that was his business practice. He's entitled to do that. Nobody is begrudging him that. The question is, is that the philosophy that you want in the White House? Is that the economic vision for this country outsourcing, offshoring, stripping down companies, lowering wages, lowering benefits? I don't think that's the future for this country.
And for the record, here are some of those charts it would have been helpful to show Crowley. From Krugman's post -- Obama, Romney, Jobs:
And another from Krugman:
And from Steve Benen -- What Romney fails to understand about jobs:
Here’s a chart showing private-sector job gains and losses over the last two decades. Blue columns show years in which there’s a Democratic president; red columns show years in which there’s a Republican president. (Note: the 2011 totals do not yet reflect December’s job numbers.)
The “A” marks where we were when the economy crashed, and the “B” marks were we are now. Can anyone explain why Romney thinks “A” is preferable to “B”?