LAMBRO: Making Romney’s day over employment

Job-creation attack leaves Obama vulnerable on his own dismal record

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One of its successes was a tiny, undercapitalized startup office-supply company in Framingham, Mass., called Staples. Mr. Romney helped build it into a global corporation in 26 countries, employing thousands of Americans.

There were many success stories in Mr. Romney’s career, ones we’ll be hearing about in the months to come. They underscore one of his chief strengths in a painfully slowing economy where jobs are in short supply.

Mr. Obama’s track record on job creation not only has been abysmal over the past three years, it is the worst record of any president since the New Deal era.

Keith Hennessey, a Stanford University economist, went back over the past 10 presidents, charting the average jobless rates of their presidencies. Here’s what he found:

Lyndon Johnson, 4.2 percent; Dwight Eisenhower, 4.9 percent; Richard Nixon, 5.0 percent; Bill Clinton, 5.2 percent; George W. Bush, 5.3 percent; John F. Kennedy, 6.0 percent; George H.W. Bush, 6.3 percent; Jimmy Carter, 6.5 percent; Ronald Reagan, 7.5 percent; Gerald Ford, 7.8 percent; and Barack Obama in his first three years, 9.2 percent.

Mr. Obama’s job-creation record not only is a mediocre one, it’s been a colossal waste of hard-earned tax dollars.

Unlike Mr. Romney, who was building businesses and jobs with private investment capital, Mr. Obama through his job stimulus bill was dishing out nearly $1 trillion to federal, state and local government agencies, with little to show for it.

After nearly 3 1/2 years of his costly stimulus spending programs, unemployment remained between 9 percent and 8 percent. A Washington Post poll last week reported that nearly half of all Americans surveyed expressed an unfavorable view of his stimulus, 49 percent to 47 percent.

Mr. Obama tried to create jobs by “investing” money directly into clean-energy programs that he said would create tens of thousands of jobs in the future.

One of them was the Solyndra Corp., which made solar panels. Administration officials in several agencies sent repeated warnings to the White House that this was a bad investment, but Mr. Obama pushed it anyway with a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee. The firm went bankrupt, more than 1,000 workers lost their jobs, and the taxpayers were left holding the bag.

Other Obama “investments” went belly-up, including a $118 million grant to Ener1, a manufacturer of electric car batteries that also filed for bankruptcy.

Mr. Romney will be reminding voters later this year of the money Mr. Obama’s poor “investments” have lost thus far and the job-creating deals he killed, including the TransCanada oil pipeline. That decision to block the 1,700 mile Keystone XL pipeline cost the American people more than 20,000 jobs.

That’s going to make one heck of a campaign ad, ending with a line like, “Would you want Obama investing your money?”

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

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