Political Animal


January 13, 2012 9:10 AM How low can he go?

By Steve Benen

Everyone has probably heard the corny “I once caught a fish this big” joke. A guy boasts about the size of the fish he reeled in, but when pressed, he gradually reduces the actual size of his catch. The little comedic routine is about exaggeration.

I wonder if Mitt Romney has heard it.

As recently as two weeks ago, Romney had a fairly specific number in mind when it came to the jobs created by his vulture-capitalist firm.

“I’m very happy in my former life; we helped create over 100,000 new jobs.”

A few days ago, the total dropped.

“People here in the state know that in the work that I had, we started a number of businesses, invested in many others, and that over all created tens of thousands jobs.”

This morning, the Romney campaign unveiled a new ad, which moved the goal post again. Greg Sargent picked up on the new message:

The ad claims Romney only created “thousands of jobs,” which is the latest shift in his campaign’s claims.

So, over the course of two weeks, Romney has gone from “over 100,000 jobs” to “tens of thousands” to “thousands.”

By next week, I expect Romney to tell us, “I probably created a handful of jobs.”

The criticism and scrutiny of Romney’s record of mass private-sector layoffs appears to be taking a toll on the Republican’s rhetoric.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


  • chopin on January 13, 2012 9:18 AM:

    Wake me up when the number matches exactly the number on his corporate raider swat team.

  • c u n d gulag on January 13, 2012 9:19 AM:

    In the voice of Maxwell Smart (aka - Don Adams):

    "Ok, then...
    Would you believe - a Boy Scout with a newspaper route?"

  • TorontoBentley on January 13, 2012 9:27 AM:

    Finally, he will state, confidently, that HE got a job...at Bain.

  • low-tech cyclist on January 13, 2012 9:30 AM:

    Next week: "HUNDREDS of jobs!"
    Week after: "DOZENS of jobs!"

    So I'm guessing it'll take three weeks before Romney gets to c u n d gulag's Maxwell Smart scenario.

    And now I've got the "Get Smart" theme music running through my head. No, that's not a complaint.

  • walt on January 13, 2012 9:33 AM:

    When the investigations start pouring in, Romney will have to play defense on what is supposed to be his trump card. True, it will be "he said, she said" but it will have the effect of clouding his entire rationale for being president.

    In 2008, the pain wasn't so deep that this could mortally wound Romney. In 2012, it's more than deep enough.

  • SWENXOF on January 13, 2012 9:34 AM:

    Wake me up when the number matches exactly the number on his corporate raider swat team.


  • kevo on January 13, 2012 9:35 AM:

    He's made a most envious amount of money in America, but how has he helped in making American manufactured goods over the same course of time?

    Are people envious of his money when it comes at the expense of good hard working Americans? Maybe!

    Are the American people envious Mr. Romney may have half of Alabama's GDP in offshore Cayman Island accounts? Maybe!

    How about that envious amount of money being spent on non-green card labor around the varied estates the Romney's enjoy? Maybe!

    Or, Mr. Romney, how about washing your hands with our envy when you come clean as to how legal, yet morally bankrupt, you've been all these years as you've enjoyed an unfair American tax system?

    Bingo! -Kevo

  • stormskies on January 13, 2012 9:36 AM:

    Such is the life of a pathological liar, a Soul whose very essence is one of duplicity ...

  • Geek Hillbilly (@GeekHillbilly) on January 13, 2012 9:36 AM:

    Like most GOP/Teanderthals,Romney is willing to do or say anything in order to gain power.Anyone with at least a single working brain cell will bot or can not trust any GOP candidate.I don't trust a lot of the Dems ,either but there at a few decent ones.None on the GOP side especially this year.

  • SYSPROG on January 13, 2012 9:47 AM:

    The next iteration of the 'ad' will be...'Bain was not in the business to 'create' jobs, they were in the business to 'create wealth' and THAT is capitalism!' Watch for it!

  • Ron Byers on January 13, 2012 9:49 AM:

    Arthur Brisbanes piece was telling. Apparently Romney and his handlers are used to stenographers and have never dealt with reporters who ask follow up questions. The NYT stenography school of journalism doesn't do a guy like Romney any favors. If reporters were to ask hard followup questions, Romney might be able to develop a compelling story telling the truth, but the NYT style stenography temps people like Romney to take the easy route and lie.

    I said yesterday that the Arthur Brisbane vision of journalism doesn't help anybody, and I meant it. Enabling lying doesn't even help the liar when the truth comes out.

  • Kathryn on January 13, 2012 10:04 AM:

    Off topic, but did anybody catch Mitt's joyful bragging about how pleased he was when Ted Kennedy had to take out a mortgage on his home in order to run for the Senate against him, , it sort of got lost in the firing comment stuff? This is one mean spirited cyborg who revels in the difficulties of others and it shows, which won't serve him well. Also, on Rachel's show last night, she had more info about Seamus, the Irish setter, and his trip in the "airtight kennel" on top of the Romney station wagon. Poor animal got sick with stomach distress, Mitt took him out, hosed him and kennel down, put him back and off they went. One more pet comment, I've had quite a few dogs but never one who could climb up to his kennel on the top of a station wagon. I have two now who would love to have the ability to climb in their futile attempts to get those pesky squirrels.

  • Skip on January 13, 2012 10:32 AM:

    So when the 99% vote for this guy in the primaries, what exactly are they voting for...the hair?

    Maybe he should stop talking and just run on that: I'm the Guy With Nice Hair. At least the lying would stop.

    The big question no one asks Mittens is how he represents the edicts of his church with this consistent violation of the truth. Even Gingrich gets asked such questions.

  • KarenJ on January 13, 2012 4:37 PM:

    Ah, Skip. Mitt IS representing one edict -- or more accurately, a tenet -- of his church when he lies.


  • fignaz on January 13, 2012 4:58 PM:

    Granted it's now 18 yrs. ago, but-- if my memory serves me --Mittens used the same Bain/10,000 jobs claim in his 1994 race against Ted Kennedy. This wasn't a crucial part of his candidacy, which primarily sought to capitalize on Kennedy's weakness post Palm Beach & not on Romney "can-do businessman". But it became more relevant once the Kennedy campaign successfully made Bain an issue.