John Kerry on Obama Lead on Libya:
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry of Massachusetts said that President Obama “enlisted our allies, built the coalition, shared the burden” when now-deposed Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi promised to kill his own people. It’s true, as Kerry said, that “Muammar el-Qaddafi is gone and Libya is free” after the United States took military action.
But France and Great Britain led the calls for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone over Libya to stop Qaddafi’s warplanes from attacking rebels taking part in the uprising, even as Obama appeared reluctant in the earliest stages of the violent crackdown. Kerry himself was an earlier advocate for the no-fly zone in Libya. Still, Kerry is correct to credit Obama for helping to build the military coalition with European and Arab partners once he agreed that military action was necessary—and the United States did insist that any United Nations resolution authorizing actions go well beyond simply enforcing a no-fly zone. On March 19, a coalition led by the United States, France, and Great Britain began the air war before transferring the lead to NATO later that month. “Unlike other NATO operations, Europeans led the charge with France and Britain conducting the bulk of air strikes while the United States [played] a quiet yet crucial role by providing intelligence and air-to-air refueling,” as Agence-France Presse reported.
Barney Frank on Romney’s Massachusetts record:
Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts took on Romney’s record as the governor of Massachusetts, repeating the often-used statistic about the state ranking 47th in job creation during his four years in office.
“The myth of Romney is that his financial experience means he knows how to create jobs,” Frank said. “As governor of Massachusetts, the real Mitt Romney's record on job creation was terrible. During his term, net job growth was less than 1 percent, about one-fifth the national average, 47th in the country.”
It’s true that Massachusetts averaged 47th in job growth during the four years Romney was governor. But, as the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s factcheck.org notes, it was 50th the year before he took office and 28th the year after he left, so it was moving in the right direction.
“The myth of Romney is that he worked hard to bring employment opportunities to Massachusetts,” Frank continued. “The real Mitt Romney did no such thing. During his time in the governor's office, manufacturing jobs were leaving our state at twice the national rate.”
While Frank is correct that Massachusetts lost manufacturing jobs at twice the national rate, the statistic is misleading without context. The state was losing manufacturing jobs at a much faster rate in the years before Romney took office in January 2003—if anything, his tenure coincided with a slower pace of decline in the sector. From 2004 until 2008, manufacturing job losses slowed significantly, starting a year into Romney’s term and ending when the financial crisis hit.