COMMENTARY | President Barack Obama just can't seem to stick with one cohesive re-election campaign strategy or get the facts straight about his opponent's track record. The latest defensive campaign advertisement focused on Mitt Romney's record while serving as governor of Massachusetts presented a distorted view of the state's budget as Romney left office, according to the Los Angeles Times.
David Axelrod again failed to deliver accurate information when comparing the job creation record of the two men vying for the Oval Office. Criticisms of Romney's spending habits and deficit are fair game, but only if the facts are not skewed beyond recognition.
Axelrod and Romney's Democratic successor Deval Patrick said Romney left Massachusetts less than fiscally healthy. A stinging and rhetoric-filled memo from Axelrod compounded his insulting statements when ridiculing the idea Romney is a fiscal conservative. Before grabbing the microphone and engaging in the typical election year name-calling, Axelrod should have reviewed Massachusetts budget figures during the Romney years.
As the Los Angeles Times discovered, Massachusetts taxes were not at an all-time low under the Romney administration, which gives the presidential candidate a bit of a black eye with fiscal conservatives. But Romney did not leave the state with a $1.1 billion debt. Romney exercised fiscally responsible tactics and exited the governor's office with a balanced budget. The Los Angeles Times credits $384 million in Romney spending cuts and a "replenished" $2 billion rainy-day fund as important factors in balancing the state's budget.
There was no actual Romney induced deficit in Massachusetts. Romney passed on words of caution to his successor about a potential shortfall if the state maintained the current rate of spending. It is shameful the Obama campaign twisted Romney's responsible behavior into an ill-advised ploy to trick voters into believing the candidate is fiscally irresponsible.
It is understandable why the Obama campaign wants to deflect from the failures of their boss, but a little bit of research could have prevented the embarrassment of getting Romney's record wrong publicly. Obama's staff should have learned its lesson about criticizing Romney on issues where Obama has proven to be a miserable failure.