WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney on Thursday night praised President Obama for killing Osama bin Laden, even while giving him an overall “F” when grading his term.
“I’m sure he has,” Romney told CBS News, when asked whether Obama had done anything well. “I appreciated, for instance, the decision he made to go after Osama bin Laden and to make sure he was executed.”
When asked what grade he would give the incumbent he is trying to unseat, he said, “Oh, an F. There’s no question about that. Across the board.”
“I look at what’s happening in the Middle East -- the Arab Spring has become the Arab Winter; that’s hardly a success,” he continued. “And of course domestically it’s hard to call what now, 39, 40 months of unemployment above 8 percent a success when even he said by now it would be in the 6 percent range.”
The interview, with CBS News’ Jan Crawford, was conducted in an airport hanger and aired on the nightly news.
The former Massachusetts governor, when asked about what he would do to improve the economy, mentioned a program he oversaw in Massachusetts. The program gave employers a $2,000 to help train workers who had been unemployed for more than a year.
Romney also outlined a potential shift in federal unemployment payments, something that could become a major topic during the election.
When asked whether unemployment insurance should be extended Romney suggested a different system altogether.
“I think it would be a much better system to have folks have a personal account, if you will, where they’d build up over time an unemployment account,” Romney said. “They’re able to draw from that, perhaps as being matched by the government, they’d draw from that.”
“So they’d have an incentive to get back to work,” he added. “At the same time, they have the resources they need during difficult times of unemployment.”
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.