"I believe the economy is coming back, by the way," Romney said. "We'll see what happens. It's had ups and downs. I think it's finally coming back. The economy always comes back after a recession, of course. There's never been one that we didn't recover from. The problem is this one has been deeper than it needed to be and a slower recovery than it should have been, by virtue of the policies of this president. Almost everything he's done has made it harder for this economy to recover."When Mitt Romney launched his campaign, he said the reason he was running was that the economy was in dire straits and America needed his skills as a job creator to get back on track. Then Newt Gingrich challenged his skills as a job creator and he said anybody who attacked his business experience was an enemy of free enterprise. Now he says the economy is coming back, but it's President Obama's fault that it took so long.
According to Romney, the reason the economy is coming back is that it "always comes back after a recession"—no matter what the president does. How does he square that with his claim that America needs a president with his (claimed) experience as a job creator? He doesn't. He simply makes the vacuous claim that if it weren't for President Obama, the economy would have recovered more quickly, as if he took a bad situation and made it worse.
Actually, President Obama took an extraordinarily bad recession and stopped it from becoming a second Great Depression. When he took office we were losing nearly one million jobs per month. We've now had the best year of private sector job growth in the past five years. In fact, President Obama in just three years has a better private sector job growth record than George W. Bush had in eight years. (And under Mitt Romney, Massachusetts ranked 47th.)
There's only one way we could have had a stronger recovery and that's if we'd had a bigger stimulus. Perhaps President Obama should have asked for a bigger one, but the one thing we know is that it was congressional Republicans—particularly in the Senate—who led the effort to block the stimulus. Don't forget, they filibustered it and it only passed when three Republicans crossed party lines to vote for it.
Before President Obama took office, Mitt Romney himself called for a stimulus. The only major difference between what he wanted and what ultimately passed is the final stimulus included aid for states and local governments in addition to tax cuts and infrastructure spending, both of which Romney endorsed. But as Romney has also argued on the campaign trail, cutting spending during slow economic times is bad for the economy. In other words, if he'd had his way, growth would have been even slower.
Given all this, if you're confused as to what Mitt Romney's rationale is for why he should be president, then join the club. As far as I can tell, Mitt Romney is running to be president because it's something he wants to be. I can discern no other consistent explanation for his candidacy. Sure, he's pretty good at attacking his opponents, but that isn't enough to qualify someone for the presidency. If he wants Karl Rove's job, he's more than qualified. President of the United States of America? I think not.