COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Mitt Romney slammed President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package Saturday at a rally featuring a plant owner who said he received some of the money and it didn’t create any jobs.
“This president came into office and said: 'OK, we're going to get this economy going by borrowing $787 billion in stimulus.’ And he said if we borrowed that money he would hold unemployment below 8 percent. It has not been below 8 percent since,” Romney told a crowd at Springs Fabrication. He said the January jobs report – showing 8.3 percent unemployment, the lowest since February 2009 – is “still above the emergency line of 8 percent, and by the way, he doesn't get credit for things getting better.”
Romney said the credit belongs to people like Tom Neppl, the CEO of Springs Fabrication, “who built a place like this and employed people in this great state." Neppl told the crowd, estimated at over 1,000 by the Romney campaign, that “I did not support the stimulus, I did not seek out stimulus funds, and the stimulus did not create or save a single job here. One of our best customers placed an order as they have in the past, for a government project like those we have done in the past. The only significant impact I have seen from the stimulus is a massive increase in our national debt.”
Estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and several private forecasting firms suggest that the stimulus has saved or created 1.5 million to 3.6 million jobs since it was enacted in early 2009, and that it staved off worse unemployment and recession. The jobless rate has been dropping for several months now, potentially shifting the economic debate to less favorable ground for the Republican presidential contenders.
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