FACT CHECK: Pawlenty Didn’t Always Think Romney’s Failed Record Was So Funny

FACT CHECK: Pawlenty Didn’t Always Think Romney’s Failed Record Was So Funny

Governor Tim Pawlenty came to the podium armed with jokes tonight, but he didn’t always think Mitt Romney’s failed record as Governor was so funny. He frequently attacked Romney for increasing spending, and raising taxes and fees on the middle class as Governor. The truth is that Mitt Romney’s failed record was defined by leaving the state 47th out of 50 in job creation and 1st in the nation in per capita debt, while raising taxes and fees by $750 million a year and outsourcing jobs to India.

PAWLENTY SLAMMED ROMNEY FOR RUNNING UP SPENDING IN MASSACHUSETTS

Pawlenty Claimed Romney “Ran Up Spending On His Watch As Governor .” During the Iowa GOP debate, Pawlenty discussed Romney’s record and said, “That is not the only similarity between Governor Romney's record and president Obama's record. In spending, I've got the best spending record I took Minnesota's spending from highs to lows. Mitt ran up spending on his watch as governor – 44% in four years. In the area of judicial selections the Boston Globe said two out of three or so of Mitt's judge selections were either pro-choice, Democrat or liberal. I appointed conservatives to my supreme court. We have to show contrast not similarities to Barack Obama.” [Fox News Debate, Iowa, 8/11/11]

Pawlenty Claimed Romney’s Record Had Many Similarities With President Obama: He “Ran Up Spending In His Watch As Governor” And Had Judicial Appointments That “Were Either Pro-Choice, Democrat Or Liberal.” During the Iowa GOP debate, Pawlenty discussed Romney’s record and said, “That is not the only similarity between Governor Romney's record and president Obama's record. In spending, I've got the best spending record I took Minnesota's spending from highs to lows. Mitt ran up spending on his watch as governor – 44% in four years. In the area of judicial selections the Boston Globe said two out of three or so of Mitt's judge selections were either pro-choice, Democrat or liberal. I appointed conservatives to my supreme court. We have to show contrast not similarities to Barack Obama.” [Fox News Debate, Iowa, 8/11/11]

MCCAIN CLAIMED ROMNEY HAD “LIBERAL POSITIONS” AS GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS, AND “DOESN’T REPRESENT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY”

McCain: Romney “Had Liberal Positions On Literally Every Issue” In Massachusetts. Sen. McCAIN: ...thinks that his record--his record--his record is very clear, that he ran in Massachusetts as a very liberal Republican. He said he didn't support President Reagan, said he didn't want to go back to the Bush/Reagan years, voted for a Democrat for president, supported a Democrat candidate here in New Hampshire, had liberal positions on literally every issue. I think we owe the voters our respect before we get their respect. And that respect means being straightforward on your record, run on your record, and justify the positions that you took.” [CBS, Face The Nation, 10/14/07]

McCain: “I Don't Think That It's Appropriate To Say, As Governor Romney Did, That He's The Only Person That Represents The Republican Party. In fact, He Certainly Didn't--Doesn't Represent The Republican Party.” [CBS, Face The Nation, 10/14/07]

McCain Accused Romney Of Not Making Being A Republican “A Priority.” McCain: “One of the other Republican candidates made an extraordinary statement yesterday. Former Governor Romney yesterday proclaimed himself the only real Republican in this race. As we all know, when he ran for office in Massachusetts being a Republican wasn't much of a priority for him. In fact, when he ran against Ted Kennedy, he said he didn't want to return to the days of Reagan-Bush. I always thought Ronald Reagan was a real Republican. When Governor Romney donated money to a Democratic candidate in New Hampshire, I don't think he was speaking for Republicans. When he voted for a Democratic candidate for President, Paul Tsongas, I don't think he was speaking for Republicans. When he refused to endorse the Contract with America, I don't think he was speaking for Republicans. And when he was embracing the Democratic position on many major issues of the day, I don't think he was speaking for Republicans. So you'll understand why I'm a little perplexed when Mitt Romney now suggests that he's a better Republican than me, or that he speaks for the Republican wing of the Republican Party.” [McCain remarks to the New Hampshire GOP, 10/13/07]

McCain: “When Governor Romney Donated Money To A Democratic Candidate In New Hampshire, I Don't Think He Was Speaking For Republicans. When He Voted For A Democratic Candidate For President, Paul Tsongas, I Don't Think He Was Speaking For Republicans.” [McCain remarks to the New Hampshire GOP, 10/13/07]

McCain: “When He Refused To Endorse The Contract With America, I Don't Think He Was Speaking For Republicans. And When He Was Embracing The Democratic Position On Many Major Issues Of The Day, I Don't Think He Was Speaking For Republicans.” [McCain remarks to the New Hampshire GOP, 10/13/07]

PAWLENTY CLAIMED ROMNEYCARE LED TO INCREASED SPENDING, TAXES, AND FEES

Pawlenty “Said The Costs Of The Massachusetts Plan, Which Succeeded In Reducing The Number Of The Uninsured, Is Up To $1.3 Billion For 2009, Well Above The $387 Million Originally Budgeted When It Was Passed Earlier This Decade.” “Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) sent a letter to his congressional delegation raising concerns about the current healthcare measure House Democrats have moved through several committees. He also took a veiled shot at one of his potential rivals. Pawlenty urged Minnesota's seven Democrats and three Republicans to focus on cost containment and quality of care rather than simply expanding access. ‘This flawed attempt at healthcare reform would do little to solve the healthcare cost crisis facing our nation,’ Pawlenty wrote. ‘I encourage you to abandon this legislation and instead evaluate what states have done to improve healthcare quality and make healthcare more accessible and affordable. ‘Focusing only on access while neglecting cost and quality would be a dramatic mistake,’ Pawlenty added. The bill before Congress, he said, is similar to a program implemented in Massachusetts, where costs have run higher than expected. Pawlenty said the costs of the Massachusetts plan, which succeeded in reducing the number of the uninsured, is up to $1.3 billion for 2009, well above the $387 million originally budgeted when it was passed earlier this decade. The shot at Massachusetts is an implicit attack on the Bay State's former governor, Mitt Romney (R). Romney, a leading contender for the 2008 GOP nomination who is contemplating another run in 2012, played a major role in passing the Massachusetts healthcare reform plan. Pawlenty pointed out costs in Minnesota, which he said are rising at a rate of 20 percent every biennium. He worried such exploding burdens on budgets would bankrupt states, and instead of the Romney plan, he pointed to a program he helped implement that links quality of care and cost.” [The Hill, 7/28/09]

Pawlenty Claimed Romney’s Health Care Reform Led To “Increased Taxes And Fees” In Massachusetts. In August 2009, Pawlenty penned an op-ed on health care reform in the Washington Post in which he wrote, “Massachusetts’s experience should caution Congress against focusing primarily on access. While the Massachusetts plan has reduced the number of uninsured people, costs have been dramatically higher than expected. The result? Increased taxes and fees. The Boston Globe has reported on a current short-term funding gap and the need to obtain a new federal bailout. Imagine the scope of tax increases, or additional deficit spending, if that approach is utilized for the entire country.” [Tim Pawlenty, Washington Post, 8/3/09]

UNDER ROMNEY MASSACHUSETTS RANKED 47TH OUT OF 50 IN JOB GROWTH

In Romney’s Four Years As Governor Massachusetts Ranked 47th Out Of 50 In Jobs Growth.  “The Republican contender was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last.  The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane. The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%). The national average: More than 5%.” [Marketwatch, 2/23/10]

PolitiFact: “No Matter How We Sliced The Data” Massachusetts Was 47th Out Of 50 States In Job Creation Under Romney. PolitiFact said the of the statement: When Romney was governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation, “Indeed, federal jobs numbers indicate that, no matter how we sliced the data, the state was 47th.”  [Politifact, 6/22/11]

BY THE END OF ROMNEY’S TERM MASSACHUSETTS RANKED FIRST IN THE NATION FOR HIGHEST PER CAPITA DEBT

The Republican Headline: “Mass. Tops U.S. As Debtor State.” [The Republican, 2/3/07]

The Tax Foundation Listed Massachusetts As Ranked With Highest State Debt Per Capita At The End Of Fiscal Year 2007. The Tax Foundation listed Massachusetts debt per capita as $10,546 at the end of fiscal year 2007. It was first in the nation, while Alaska was second. [Tax Foundation, Facts & Figures, 2009]

Romney’s Secretary Of Administration And Finance, Eric Kriss: “We Are Champions, Albeit Of Dubious Distinction: The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts Has More Debt Than Particularly Anyone Else.” Romney’s Secretary of Administration and Finance, Eric Kriss wrote in an op-ed for the Boston Herald about Massachusetts’ state debt, he wrote: “Since we are all recovering from post-Red Sox traumatic stress, the yearning for some sort of championship for Massachusetts is certainly understandable. We are champions, albeit of dubious distinction: the commonwealth of Massachusetts has more debt than practically anyone else. Even California and New York must yield to our superior mass - pardon the pun - as measured by per capita debt and debt as a percent of personal income.” [Op-Ed Eric Kriss, Boston Herald, 11/3/03]

 ROMNEY RAISED TAXES AND FEES BY $750 MILLION ANNUALLY ON MASSACHUSETTS' MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES

Romney: “We Raised Fees On All Sorts Of Things In Massachusetts.” ROMNEY: “We raised fees on all sorts of things in Massachusetts. Fees hadn’t been touched, in some cases, for decades, and we said, look, we’re going to raise the fees… we’re not going to raise the fees on things that are broad based like driver’s licenses and license plates because everybody gets hit with that. But on those things that are done by a minority of people and where the state provides a service, we did raise fees, yeah.” [Howie Carr, 12/21/11]

Washington Post Fact Checker: “The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation Estimated That The Former Governor Raised An Extra $750 Million Per Year Through Fees And Loophole Closures.” [Washington Post, Fact Checker, 6/12/12]

National Conference of State Legislatures: Massachusetts Imposed More Fee Hikes Than Any Other State in the Nation In 2003. [Congress Daily, 8/28/03]

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation: Fee And Tax Increases In Romney’s First Budget “Will Surely Hit Taxpayers’ Pocketbooks As Hard As Any Tax Increase And, Many Would Argue, Less Fairly As Well.” [Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation 8/11/2003]

Cato Institute On Romney’s Claims He Stood By A No-New-Taxes Pledge As Governor: “Mostly A Myth.” [Cato Institute’s Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2006, 10/24/06

Club For Growth: Romney’s “Fee Hikes And ‘Loophole’ Closures Are Troubling.” [AP, 8/28/07]

ROMNEY OUTSOURCED MASSACHUSETTS JOBS OVERSEAS AND VETOED A PROVISION TO STOP THE PRACTICE

2004: Romney Vetoed Legislation That Would Have Barred Outsourcing of Massachusetts State Jobs Overseas. “In a surprise move, Romney also vetoed a provision barring overseas outsourcing by vendors doing business with the state, even though in March he proposed a $29 million package of incentives designed to discourage Massachusetts companies from moving jobs out of state. Romney said that the plan included in the budget was hastily crafted and would drive away some businesses while failing to create jobs here.” [Boston Globe, 6/26/04]

Romney’s Administration Signed A Contract For A Food Stamp System That Involved A Call Center In India. “When Romney was governor of Massachusetts, his administration signed a $160,000-per-month contract with Citigroup to operate an electronic food stamp system that included a consumer call center in India.” [Boston Globe, Political Intelligence, 5/2/12]