Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Claims and counter-claims on Mitt Romney's Massachusetts record

The Obama campaign ran this ad attacking Mitt Romney for his record as Massachusetts governor.

Both sides are stretching the truth about Mitt Romney's economic record as governor of Massachusetts.

We’ve done three fact-checks recently and all ended up at Half True. Here’s a rundown:

• President Barack Obama’s campaign released a television ad that claimed that "when Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs, a rate twice the national average."

We found that the Obama campaign’s numbers checked out: Manufacturing jobs did decline at a steeper rate on Romney’s watch than they did nationally. Still, we concluded that it was a stretch to lay at Romney’s feet the decline of manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts. His policies had a relatively small impact compared with the decades-long trend beyond the control of any politician. And the rate of decline under Romney was actually slower than it was before and after he took office. On balance, we rated the claim Half True.

• A Romney campaign ad, claimed that "Romney reduced unemployment to just 4.7 percent." We checked Bureau of Labor Statistics data and found that the statistic was correct. However, the ad overstepped by suggesting that Romney did this on his own. The employment situation in Massachusetts was subject to many factors, not just the governor’s policy. On balance, we rate the claim Half True.

• An Obama campaign ad, dubbed "We’ve Heard it all Before," claimed that "instead of hiring workers from his own state, Romney outsourced call center jobs to India." We found that Massachusetts was one of the states considering a ban on contracting with companies that outsourced labor overseas. Ultimately, Romney vetoed the measure because he said that even if those jobs were back in the United States, they would not necessarily have been in Massachusetts.

The Obama campaign's wording suggests a broader, more deliberate policy when the state was sending some work overseas. But in choosing to veto the bill, Romney let the arrangement continue. The statement leaves out important information. We rated it Half True.