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New Mitt Romney commercial presents Mass. record in favorable light

Mitt Romney today harked back to his tenure as governor of Massachusetts in a new television commercial arguing that he will bring the same focus to his first day as president as he displayed during his leadership of the state.

The presumptive Republican nominee boasts about his job-creation record, the balanced budgets he signed, and bipartisanship he fostered while serving as governor from 2003 to 2007.

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The commercial uses loose language that presents Romney’s record in the most favorable light.

For example, the commercial says, “Mitt Romney had the best jobs record in a decade.”

There have only been two governors during the bulk of the past decade: Romney and Democrat Deval Patrick. The latter has governed through the worst recession since the Great Depression. The decade that preceded Romney’s term, though, included the Clinton administration tech boom, when fellow Republicans William F. Weld, Paul Cellucci, and Jane Swift led the state.

The Romney campaign cites Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showing the state lost 131,700 net jobs while Swift served as acting governor from April 2001 to January 2003, added 31,200 jobs during Romney’s single term in office, and lost a net 21,300 jobs during Patrick’s term-and-a-half as governor.

The commercial accurately notes that unemployment also fell from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent during Romney’s term. Some of that drop, however, was achieved by the same phenomenon for which he now criticizes President Obama: people giving up their job search and leaving the workforce.

In addition, while highlighting the balanced budgets he signed, Romney fails to note that he was constitutionally mandated to have a balanced budget. The other governor during the past decade, Patrick, has also balanced the budget annually.

And while noting he balanced the budget without raising taxes, Romney fails to mention the millions in fee hikes by his administration. He has argued they were not broad-based taxes but targeted user charges. He has also argued that, in some cases, the existing fees either hadn’t been adjusted in years or did not cover the cost of the service they provided.

The ad is a continuation of an introductory series the Romney campaign has been airing, trying to cement in the voters’ collective mind’s eye an image of the former governor as the future president.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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