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Republican Gov. Scott Walker drew criticism in conservative circles when his campaign TV ads portrayed Democratic rival Mary Burke as an outsourcing profiteer at Trek Bicycle Corp.
Walker was asked if the strategy was hypocritical, given that he criticized President Barack Obama’s relentless attacks on 2012 GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney as a greedy outsourcer in his private equity days at Bain Capital.
"Fundamentally different," Walker was quoted as saying in the July 24, 2014 Wisconsin State Journal.
Walker argued that, "Mitt Romney did not run his campaign on the basis of arguing his experience in the business world was a reason to vote for him. If he had, then I think it would be fair game to say then you need to look at all of his experience."
Let’s hit the rewind button.
Is Walker right that Romney "did not run his campaign on the basis of arguing his experience in the business world was a reason to vote for him"?
Presidential politics, circa 2012
To back up the claim, Alleigh Marré, a Walker campaign spokeswoman, sent us 11 video examples of Romney criticizing Obama and his record, as well as touting his own plans.
"The contrast Governor Walker was making between Burke and Romney in the statement you provided is that Romney was running a more robust and dynamic campaign that did not focus solely, or even primarily, on his business experience like Burke’s does," Marré wrote in an email.
But Walker did not couch his remark that way; he said Romney didn’t offer his business experience even as "a" reason to support him.
That’s a rewrite of history.
Romney may have downplayed his tenure as Massachusetts governor.
But from start to finish in the campaign, he hammered home his private-sector time, as did campaign surrogates including key Republican officials.
A few examples:
April 2011: Just 45 seconds into his announcement video, Romney ran through his 25-years-long private-sector resumé and emphasized how it could help him solve America’s economic woes: "I learned how America competes with companies in other countries, why jobs leave and how jobs are created at home."
September 2011: "I spent my life in the private sector, not in government," Romney said in Orlando during a GOP primary debate. "I only spent four years as a governor. I didn’t inhale. I’m a business guy."
August 23, 2012: Responding to Obama attacks, Romney defended and embraced the lessons of his private-sector years, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
"The lessons I learned over my 15 years at Bain Capital were valuable in helping me turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. They also helped me as governor of Massachusetts to turn a budget deficit into a surplus and reduce our unemployment rate to 4.7%. The lessons from that time would help me as president to fix our economy, create jobs and get things done in Washington."
August 30, 2012: At the Republican convention, Romney repeatedly used his acceptance speech to talk about the fundamental divide between he and Obama.
"He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business," Romney said. "Jobs to him are about government. I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience."
October 2012: In the second presidential debate, Romney cited his real-world work experience to bolster his credibility on tackling complex problems: "I want to make small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go."
And that list is just after a cursory review.
Finally, we offer one more quote from the 2012 campaign trail:
"We know that Mitt Romney had an incredible career in the private sector, turning businesses around that otherwise would have failed, and thousands of people owe their jobs to that today."
That was from an introduction of Romney at a Nov. 2, 2012 campaign rally in West Allis.
The speaker: Scott Walker.
Walker said that "Mitt Romney did not run his campaign on the basis of arguing his experience in the business world was a reason to vote for him."
To the contrary, Romney made frequent and high-profile use of his extensive private-sector credentials, making them the core of his deep and sustained criticism of Obama’s record on handling the economy.
Nobody would know that better than Walker, who helped remind voters of nominee’s business-world record.
The claim is inaccurate and ridiculous.
Pants on Fire.
Interview with Alleigh Marré, Walker campaign spokeswoman, July 31, 2014
Scott Walker, in Wisconsin State Journal, "Scott Walker: Criticism of Mary Burke not a criticism of outsourcing," July 24, 2014
Media accounts, as noted
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