Looks like Mitt Romney might want to get himself a better Communications Director than Gail Gitcho. From this Thursday night's Anderson Cooper 360: Anderson Cooper Explains Non-Partisan Congressional Budget Office To Top Romney Adviser:
Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho says the “CBO” report from the Obama administration claimed that the stimulus would keep unemployment below eight percent. The CBO doesn't work for Obama, as Cooper notes, and it never wrote that. The eight percent figure comes from a projection authored by Obama aides before he even took office.
These surrogates get used to getting a lot of fact-free, unchallenged air time way too often. It was nice to see one of them challenged when trying to tell a few whoppers as Gitcho was here. We've already discussed the fact that the Romney campaign just can't quit lying. Here's Steve Benen's latest compilation from this week: Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XXII.
Full transcript via CNN:
COOPER: So, Gail, the big focus today was jobs. Something Governor Romney had to say about public sector jobs got a lot of attention a few days ago. I just want to remind our viewers what he had to say back then.
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ROMNEY: He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Didn't he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.
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COOPER: Now, you know, the Obama campaign has hit those comments hard, saying he wants to fire firemen, police and teachers. Then earlier this week Governor Romney pushed back with these comments.
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ROMNEY: Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level. And also by states. The federal government doesn't pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So, obviously, that's completely absurd.
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COOPER: But the federal government, though, does provide billions of dollars every year in essential funding for schools and first responders and a big percentage of that aid goes to pay for personnel. Like more than $14 billion I think under Title 1 this year. Billions more programs for improving special education and a lot of that is hiring special education teachers, community policing support. So without that federal aid, many of those positions would disappear.
Would Governor Romney want to cut those federal programs?
GAIL GITCHO, COMMUNICATIONS DIR., ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: First of all, what the Obama campaign is doing is that they're trying to distract from President Obama's comments on Friday that the private sector is doing just fine. And I think that what you heard Governor Romney say is that the -- it's absurd to think that he would slash any jobs for teachers or firefighters or first responders.
But the states and the local governments, they actually are the ones that hire them. But what you have here --
COOPER: But the -- but --
GITCHO: -- is two competing visions --
COOPER: But money is provided by -- Governor Romney is saying money is not provided -- the federal government doesn't provide money for these --
GITCHO: Governor Romney --
COOPER: But they do.
GITCHO: Governor Romney is saying is that the funds are provided to the state and the local level who then they apply the moneys to where they see fit.
COOPER: But I guess -- I just don't understand why he is saying specifically the federal -- and I want to get his quote right. "The federal government doesn't pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen, when, you know, billions and billions of dollars every year is spent by the federal government on these programs.
GITCHO: But that's just -- that's just some of that money. And you remember that a lot of this came in the form of a stimulus that failed to get this economy back on the right track. Some of that money does go to those entities that you just described. But it's up to the folks at the local level to decide where that money goes and who is hired because of it.
COOPER: For the record, the Title 1 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, that's not stimulus related. But I want to ask you about something that we've asked your colleagues before. Some of your surrogates suggest that we should focus on the governor's record at job creation in Massachusetts after his policies had time to go into effect, not the first year when they obviously hadn't yet.
You inherited, you know, a bad economy and that's a fair point. Is that a standard that should be applied to President Obama's record as well?
GITCHO: Well, I think that what needs -- what people need to look at is the end result here. You've got -- we're happy to compare these records.
You have President Obama where we have 40 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent and he promised that with the stimulus that it would be below 8 percent. And even --
COOPER: He didn't actually promise that.
GITCHO: His CBO reported that. His CBO said that in a report --
COOPER: Right, but you guys keep saying he said that when he actually didn't say that.
GITCHO: Well, it's his administration. It's his report that came out because of his stimulus that he put into place. But, look, if we're happy to compare these economic records, if you take a look at what Massachusetts was when Governor Romney took office, you had unemployment at 5.6 percent. When he left office, it was at 4.7 percent. Obama's record is just terrible. You have 40 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent when he said that it's supposed to be below 6 percent in this CBO report.
So we're happy to compare those records. If you want to just take a look at those two record, it's 8.1 percent and above or 4.7 percent. Those are the two numbers that really matter.
COOPER: Isn't the CBO, they're nonpartisan? I mean, you're saying -- your campaign, Governor Romney, says this all the time. Obama said. Obama did not say that. If the CBO puts out a report, that's not the president's --
GITCHO: Well, it wasn't a CBO -- well, it's still a report that came out of his stimulus that came out of his administration, sure.
COOPER: Well, but, I mean, he doesn't control the Congressional Budget Office. He's not the one saying this stuff.
GITCHO: Right, but -- Anderson, let's just look at the facts here. This economy is on -- is not on a road to recovery which is what he has promised.
In fact, three years ago, President Obama said if he did not fix this economy, he would be looking at a one-term proposition. Today in Ohio, he's asking for a do-over.
COOPER: Gail, appreciate you being on. Gail, thank you.
GITCHO: Thank you very much.