07/01/2011 09:40 am ET | Updated Aug 31, 2011

Mitt Romney Backtracks: Economy Not Worse Under Obama

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, speaking Thursday at a press conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania, steered away from his recent claims that President Barack Obama's policies have worsened the economy.

During the New Hampshire debate in early June, Romney said of Obama: "He didn't create the recession, but he made it worse and longer."

Romney expanded on that thought on Monday, again from New Hampshire:

The people of New Hampshire have waited long enough. They want to see good jobs. They want to see rising incomes. They want to see an economy that's growing again, and the president's failed. He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.

But on Thursday, when questioned by an NBC producer why he believes the Obama polices have hurt the America's financial recovery, Romney did some back-tracking.

"I didn't say that things are worse," Romney said, speaking in front of the boarded-up Allentown Metal Works, a steel plant Obama once highlighted as benefiting from the stimulus.

He added:

What I said was that [the] economy hasn't turned around, that you've got 20 million Americans out of work, or seriously unemployed; housing values still going down. You have a crisis of foreclosures in this country. The economy, by the way, if you think the economy is great and going well, be my guest. But the president of the United States, when he put in place his stimulus plan and borrowed $787 billion, said he would hold unemployment below 8% -- and 8% seemed like an awfully high number. It hasn't been below 8% since. That's failure. We're over 9% unemployment. That's failure. He set the bogie himself at 8% ,which strikes me as a very high number and we're still above that three years later.


On Friday, the Democratic National Committee released a web video highlighting Romney's contradictory statements about Obama and the economy.

“The fact is that Mitt Romney was plain wrong on the economy, and instead of admitting it, he is compounding the problem by making another ridiculously false statement," said DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse. "Mitt Romney has a well-deserved reputation for flip-flopping and misleading voters about his previous statements and positions -- but this really takes the cake. Not only can you not count on Mitt Romney to stand by what he said in the last campaign or in the last year – you literally can’t count on him to stand by what he said in the same week. The only question now is -- what will Mitt Romney say tomorrow?"