As in 2008, Ted Strickland has been among President Barack Obama’s most enthusiastic campaign trail surrogates this year, serving as Obama’s national campaign co-chairman and regularly appearing on national media outlets to urge Obama’s re-election.
The former Ohio governor has also been publicly pondering a rematch against John Kasich, the Republican who defeated him by two percentage points in 2010, and trying to burnish his own legacy as governor by arguing that the state’s economic recovery actually started during Strickland’s term in office.
In an appearance Oct. 7 on CNN’s "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley, Strickland touted his own performance as governor as he argued with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine over whether Obama or Republican Mitt Romney would win Ohio’s presidential vote.
After Crowley showed a clip from Kasich’s Aug. 28 Republican National Convention speech where the current governor argued that Ohio "needs a new partner in Washington," Crowley asked Strickland who’s responsible for Ohio’s relatively good economy.
Strickland responded by accusing Kasich of "not telling the truth" during a part of the speech that immediately followed the excerpt that Crowley showed her viewers.
"He said in that speech that Ohio’s economy was 38th, I believe, in the nation when he took office," Strickland told Crowley. "That’s not true, we were sixth in the nation in terms of economic job growth."
Ohio’s recovery, Strickland said, began before John Kasich became governor.
"If you look at the data, Ohio’s unemployment declined 1.6 percent in 2010. It declined another 1.7 percent in the first year and a half of the Kasich administration." Strickland went onto attribute Ohio’s turnaround to the Recovery Act and the auto rescue.
PolitiFact Ohio decided to check Strickland’s claim that Ohio actually ranked sixth, rather than 38th.
We started with Kasich’s speech. What Kasich actually said was: "When I came into office, we were 48th in the nation in job creation. " Later in the speech, Kasich indicated his 48th in the nation comments cited job creation numbers from the four years before he took office -- which corresponds to Strickland’s term.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that between Strickland’s inauguration in January 2007 and his departure in January 2011, Ohio lost 372,300 jobs. Only two states - Florida and California - lost more jobs in that time, according to BLS data. That backs up Kasich’s contention that Ohio was 48th in the nation in job creation during the four years before he took office.
We asked Strickland where he got his statistic that Ohio was sixth in economic job growth when Kasich took office. Strickland cited a 2010 report that he said was issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. His aide, Louis Capobianco, subsequently sent an email that provided an August 2010 table compiled by Reed Construction Data, which he said had come from the Federal Reserve report. Our search of reports released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia did not find that table, and the bank’s manager of media relations, Marliyn Wimp, said the bank did not release any reports that classified Ohio as the sixth fastest growing state.
"That must have originated somewhere else," she said.
Reed Construction Data, which compiles data for the architectural, engineering and construction industries in North America,did not return PolitiFact Ohio’s calls about the table. It places Ohio behind New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia, Michigan and South Carolina in "recent economic performance" over the three months that ended in June of 2010.
Another table on the same page ranked Ohio tenth from the bottom in the "Change in economic activity index - from 2007-2008 peak index value."
An article on Reed Construction’s website said the table tracked "the state economic growth indexes calculated by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank from state employment and income data which are benchmarked to approximately track national GDP growth." The article said a manufacturing boom had pushed the industrial Great Lakes states past New England as the strongest regional economy after many years at the bottom of the list, and that economic expansion was underway in 46 states.
PolitiFact Ohio also checked whether Strickland’s statements about Ohio’s declining unemployment were correct. BLS data bears out Strickland’s assertion that Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped by 1.6 percent during 2010, Strickland’s last year in office. The state’s unemployment rate fell from 10.6 percent in January of 2010 to 9 percent in January of 2011. From February of 2011 through August of 2012, it fell from 8.9 percent to 7.2 percent, as Strickland said it did.
While Strickland might be correct that Ohio’s economic recovery began on his watch -- the state’s unemployment rate did begin to drop during the last year of his administration -- he was incorrect on the statistics he cited in criticizing Kasich.
The former governor did not accurately cite Kasich’s words when he tried to rebut them on CNN. During his speech, Kasich said that Ohio was 48th in the nation in job creation when he took office. He did not say that the state’s economy was 38th in the nation, as Strickland maintained.
What’s more, BLS data backs up Kasich’s assertion. Ohio’s rate of job creation did rank 48th relative to other states during Strickland’s term. So Strickland’s statement that Kasich "was not telling the truth" was itself incorrect.
And the statistic Strickland cites to support his claim that Ohio actually ranked sixth in economic job growth is misportrayed. That statistic from Reed Construction Data refers to "recent economic performance," not "economic job growth," as Strickland said on CNN. It also examines a narrow three month period of time during 2010 - not the full four years of Strickand’s administration that Kasich’s speech referenced.
On the Truth-O-Meter, Strickland’s claim rates False.
The Plain Dealer via Cleveland.com, Ted Strickland blasts Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Cleveland speech, says rematch possible, Sept. 11, 2011.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s speech to the Republican National Convention, August 28, 2012
CNN’s State of the Union, interview with former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Oct. 7, 2012
Bureau of Labor statistics data accessed on Oct. 12, 2012
Interview with former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and aide Louis Capobianco, Oct. 10, 2012
Emails with Strickland aide Louis Capobianco, Oct. 11 to 16th, 2012
Reed Construction Data, Ranking States by Recent Economic Performance June 2010, Aug. 3, 2010
Reed Construction Data, Economic Expansion Underway in Forty-Six States, Aug. 3, 2010
Interviews and emails with Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols, Oct. 11, 2012 to Oct. 15, 2012
Interview and emails with Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia spokeswoman Marilyn Wimp, Oct. 16, 2012
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