Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney appears to have his swagger back. After a grueling primary campaign, the former Massachusetts governor has pulled average polling over the last few weeks to just under two points behind the president, seen the president's central attacks against his private sector experience flounder, and is now making bold predictions. During a 36-minute interview with Time's Mark Halperin released Wednesday, Romney makes the claim that he would be able to bring unemployment down to 6 percent by the end of his first term.
Halperin: So Governor, the economy is the big issue in this campaign. I want to talk about a range of things, as much as we can fit in in the time, but, obviously, jobs is the biggest issue. You’ve started to tell people what you believe in, but you could be President in eight months, so it’s very real. You’ve got a new ad out that tells people some of the things you do, but I want to go broadly on jobs and then drill down in some of the other areas that relate to the economy, about what you’d do as President. So, Americans would like to know what you’d be like as President, and I know you want them to know. So let me start broadly saying: what would the United States look like at the end of 2013 in terms of jobs, unemployment, and economic growth, if you were President?
Romney: Well you’d see a very dramatic change in the perspective of small businesses, entrepreneurs, middle-size businesses, and perhaps even some large multinationals. They’d say, you know what, America looks like a good place to invest again, a good place to take risk, a good place to hire again. That the policies – from energy to labor policies, trade policies, government policies relating to debt and deficits are all aligning in such a way that America, far from being one of the places people are running from, is a place people are going to come to and add jobs. This is all about creating good jobs for middle income Americans, and it’s a place where the President, frankly, has failed. His effort to put in place a series of liberal proposals he thought were historic kept his eye off the ball of getting the economy going again. It is the economy, and the American people aren’t stupid. They want someone who can get this economy going again.
Halperin: Would you like to be more specific about what the unemployment rate would be like at the end of your first year?
Romney: I can’t possibly predict precisely what the unemployment rate will be at the end of one year. I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we’d put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6%, and perhaps a little lower. It depends in part upon the rate of growth of the globe, as well as what we’re seeing here in the United States, but we’d get the rate down quite substantially, and frankly, the key is we’re going to show such job growth that there will be competition for employees again. And wages – we’ll see the end of this decline we’re having. The median income in America is down 10% in just the last four years. That’s got to stop. We’ve got to start seeing rising wages and job growth.
Considering unemployment throughout the Obama administration has never been lower than 7.8 percent, the day he took office in January 2009, Romney's prediction seems like an offer voters should not be able to refuse, and if elected; Democrats will not forget. The Hill notes Romney's claims come as polls show voters rank the economy as the most important issue in the upcoming elections.
Watch Romney's complete Time interview here.