Fact Checking the Fact Checkers: Republican Debate
The Associated Press ran a fact-checking article on some of the responses by Republican hopefuls Rick Perry and Mitt Romney at Wednesday’s debate. Let’s see how the fact checkers did:
PERRY: “Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that we’ve created have been above minimum wage.”
THE FACTS: To support the claim, the Perry campaign provided federal statistics for December 2010 showing only 5.3 percent of all jobs in Texas pay the minimum wage.
But those figures represent all workers, not just the new jobs, for which data in unavailable. And that does not account for low-wage jobs that may be above the minimum wage.
So, Perry used a statistic that didn’t completely mesh to the parameters he was using (the statistics for new jobs are “unavailable”). That’s a fair criticism. But what’s this about not accounting for jobs that are “low-wage” but above the minimum wage? Those jobs are, well, above minimum wage, right?
ROMNEY: “At the end of four years, we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent. That’s a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in the entire country.”
THE FACTS: To be sure, 4.7 percent unemployment would be a welcome figure nationally. But Romney started from a much better position than President Barack Obama did. Unemployment was only 5.6 percent when Romney took office in 2003, meaning it came down by less than 1 percentage point when he left office in 2007. Obama inherited a national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
Nothing Romney said is demonstrably false. The only bit in his statement that is opinion is that the president would like to see that sort of unemployment, and the authors agree. And, while unemployment “only” came down by less than a percentage point while Romney was in office, it’s climbed from 7.8% in January of 2009 to 9.1% in September of 2011. A less than one percent decline might not be great, but’s a it’s a heck of a lot better than a 1.3% increase.
PERRY: “Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.”
ROMNEY: “Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.”
PERRY: “That’s not correct.”
ROMNEY: “Yes, that is correct.”
THE FACTS: Romney was correct.
Romney was correct in this instance. Though unspoken is the fact that, whichever of the two got outshined by previous governors in the job creation arena, both of them can boast that they decreased the state unemployment rates over their terms.Tags: associated press, debates, Jay W., mitt romney, rick perry