The following is a transcript of WFTV political analyst Dr. Rick Foglesong’s “Reality Check” segment that aired on Channel 9 on June 28, 2012.
Last week, I reviewed an ad from President Barack Obama and called it misleading. The camp for Mitt Romney responded to that ad with this one: Romney's Strong Leadership Ad
However, this one shades the truth as much as Obama’s.
Yes, Massachusetts’ jobless rate dropped under Romney. But, that rate basically tracked the national index, rising and falling with it.
Yes, Romney balanced the state budget without raising taxes. But to do that he increased government fees by hundreds of millions of dollars.
After airing that ad, the Romney camp hastened back to attacking Obama with this ad: Is the Private Sector Doing Fine?
This powerful ad works on the subconscious by repeating the president’s words. But is it fair?
In one sense, yes. Using use an opponent’s words against him is no foul, even when taken out of context. Obama did it against John McCain in 2008; It happens all the time.
In a deeper sense, no. Missing context matters, in this case, and most others.
The president spoke about waning public-sector employment. Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, corporate profits rose 58 percent and private companies added 3.1 million jobs. But public employment dropped by 601,000 jobs in this period, as state and local governments cut costs.
Are public-sector layoffs helping or hurting the recovery? Getting a substantive answer, rather than mocking the president, would help create what a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week called, “searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse.”