Romney, Obama campaign spar over job numbers

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is pushing his job creation claims up to 110,000, even as President Barack Obama’s campaign aides have stepped up their efforts to ridicule and delegitimize his business record.

“Four of the companies we invested in … ended up today having 120,000 jobs,” Romney declared at Monday night’s Republican debate in South Carolina. That total was offset by 10,000 layoffs at all of the companies he invested in, he told Fox News later that night.

“Mitt Romney has taken credit for creating jobs during his time as a corporate buyout specialist,” said a release from Obama’s campaign office. “But his claim is ever-changing … look at the zigs and zags it has taken over the years.”

In 1994 Romney claimed to have invested in firms that created 10,000 jobs, and in 2002, he claimed “ten of thousands” of jobs at 200 companies, said the Obama message. Nine years later, in 2011, Romney told ABC News that he had helped fund “over 100,000” jobs, according to the message.

Romney said Jan. 17 that he funded 120,000 jobs.

In response, Obama’s campaign claimed that “Mitt Romney’s goal wasn’t job creation: it was creating profit for himself and his partners at any costs by bankrupting companies, outsourcing jobs and laying off workers.” (RELATED: Full coverage of the 2012 elections)

The Obama campaign did not contest the numbers. Instead, it focused on the difference between Romney’s claims, even though they were made over 18 years apart.

In 1984 Romney spun off a private equity firm from Bain & Company. His new firm, Bain Company, helped create Staples Inc. in 1986, and later funded Domino’s Pizza, Sports Authority, Calumnet Coach and other companies.

The companies grew or shrank, thereby adding or subtracting to the number of jobs that Romney can claim to have helped create.

The DNC also slammed Romney’s job-creation record when he was governor of Massachusetts, from 2003 to 2007.

“One quick look at his record tells you the real story: under Romney, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50th in job creation, saw incomes and wages fall and experienced a decline in manufacturing at twice the national average,” said the DNC’s message.

In separate interviews, Romney has identified four companies — Sports Authority, Staples, Steel Dynamics and Bright Horizons Children’s Centers — that he invested in, and which now employ 120,000 people.

“We were there at the beginning, we helped found them,” Romney told Fox News Jan. 16.  However, that gain was offset by the loss of 10,000 jobs at all of the other companies that he worked with, Romney said.

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