From this Sunday's State of the Union, while discussing whether President Obama's reelection prospects might hinge on the economy improving or not, Virginia's wingnut Gov. Bob McDonnell decided to throw out here what TPM's Sahil Kapur thinks might be a trial balloon in case the economy continues to improve; it's Republican governors that deserve credit for the recovery, not Obama:
Virginia Governor and Mitt Romney surrogate Bob McDonnell (R) on Sunday floated what may turn into a Republican talking point if the economy continues to improve: It wasn’t President Obama who made it happen, it was the GOP governors.
“Look, I’m glad the economy is starting to recover, but I think it’s because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president,” McDonnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” [...]
The intricacy of McDonnell’s argument is noteworthy: He didn’t say jobs are created on the state level, as opposed to the federal level. He said the improvements happened because of Republican governors. That’s a difficult argument to make when the recovery is taking hold across the country, even in states with Democratic governors.
It’s also problematic because Republicans have been eager to give Obama ownership of the economy. But McDonnell’s trial balloon suggests that if the economic indicators continue to tick upward, the 2012 elections could shift from a battle over who’s to blame for a weak economy to who deserves credit for an improving one.
During the segment above, after McDonnell took credit for how his and other Republican led states are doing, Crowley cut off Gov. Martin O'Malley before he had a chance to respond to him. I'm wondering if he was going to point out that Virginia is doing well because of the amount of stimulus money his state accepted.
And after all the layoffs of government workers, their attack on public sector employees, with Republicans doing everything they can to sabotage any economic recovery on purpose for political gain, recall elections of unpopular Republicans, and Republican governors tanking in the polls over the last year due to their unpopular agendas, I say good luck with trying to make that argument to the public.
As far as O'Donnell's claim that the stimulus didn't work, I'd just refer readers back to Karoli's post on that -- Dear Democrats: The Stimulus Worked, Start Acting Like It.
Transcript below the fold.
CROWLEY: Governor O'Malley to you, when you look at this at the swing state picture, what turns this around for the president? Because these are must wins for either candidate, but what turns it around for him?
O'MALLEY: I think really there's one central issue, and that is the economy. And I think the best two indicators of whether or not the economy is becoming better after the Bush recession or whether it's getting worse is the job creation numbers, 23 months in a row now of positive job creation. We haven't done that as a country since 2005.
CROWLEY: But remember, four of these 12 swing states have unemployment rates over 9 percent. And they vote state by state.
O'MALLEY: Which makes it even more -- this issue even more acute and even higher on the radar screen of people there.
The second thing, and you mentioned this in your piece, is the foreclosure rates in all of those states.
CROWLEY: Again, four in ten of these states have...
O'MALLEY: Four out of 10, and yet we have now driven, because of President Obama's choices and policies, we've driven foreclosures down to their lowest rate in 49 months. Foreclosures are now lower than they were before. What is Mitt Romney's response to foreclosures? Let it bottom out. Do nothing. I don't think that's going to be an alternative to people in any states really think is a responsible one for homeowners.
CROWLEY: Governor McDonnell I'll give you a chance to respond to that, but I also want you to address something else that Democrats are bringing up and that is they say sure, at this moment there is this what looks like a statistical dead heat in the swing states, but if you look at the past two races, in particular, meaning Florida and Nevada, they note that the number of people participating, number of Republicans participating in these contests is down. And they say that that means that Republicans aren't all that enthusiastic about any of these guys, and that that does not bode well for you this fall.
MCDONNELL: Well Candy, I disagree. You gave at the top of the show the difference in the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats by about 12 points in terms of their interest in this race.
This race is coming down to three things, it's leadership, it's jobs, and it's the national debt and deficit sit. And on all of those, President Obama's failed. He spends most of his time blaming Republicans and the Tea Party and Wall Street for all the problems in the country and not taking responsibility. He's completely failed to get the national debt and deficit under control. He's contributed nearly $5 trillion to the national debt with no plan to get out of it.
And despite Governor O'Malley's stats, the bottom line is we've been over 8 percent unemployment for virtually his entire presidency, 36 months. This is a president who said pass my big stimulus spending bill and we won't be over 8 percent, well we haven't been under 8 percent in all that time. He got no budget done when he had his own party in control. So it's been a complete failure of leadership. He cannot run on his record. He's had no plan for jobs or energy that he got passed so he's got a tough -- I'm glad the economy is starting to recover, but I think it's because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president.
O'MALLEY: Well, that's very interesting. In fact I was going to ask Governor McDonnell, Candy, if his state is creating jobs again or is Virginia still losing jobs as you were in the recession? And that's a rhetorical question, governor. Your state is now creating jobs, my state is creating jobs, throughout our country, Candy, we're now creating jobs again.
Now we could create jobs faster, Governor McDonnell, if your party were not captive of the right wing Tea Party folks in congress who want to keep anything from happening. But facts are stubborn things. We've gone 23 months in a row of positive job growth, we've driven foreclosures down to their lowest rate in 49 months and unemployment has now been driven down to its lowest rate in three years.
And there's more progress we still need to make. It's all about creating jobs and bringing people together to do that.
CROWLEY: Governor McDonnell, I want to ask you -- go ahead, go ahead.
MCDONNELL: Well, let me just respond to my friend, Martin.
By the way we get along. We do a lot together in the Washington area but I just flat disagree with him. 11 out of the top 15 states in America that are ranked by CNBC as top places to do business are Republican states. Seven out of the 10 states that have had the biggest drop in unemployment are states run by Republican governors.
And he and I disagree. His plan in Maryland is to increase taxes on income, on gas, on cigars and everything else, but the bottom line is, I'll take our record in Virginia of creating jobs, we're at a 6.2% unemployment, Maryland is at 6.9.
O'MALLEY: Actually 6.7.
MCDONNELL: From the time I became governor I've had -- well, Ok, it's going to fluctuate.
O'MALLEY: And we're creating jobs four times the rate that Virginia is, Candy.
CROWLEY: Let me move you on to a slightly different...
MCDONNELL: Well, the point is that's...
CROWLEY: Let me move you on to a slightly different subject because I'm going to -- you all are going to talk through this and I won't be able to get this in.