09/06/2011 01:03 pm ET | Updated Nov 06, 2011

Jon Huntsman Ad Touts His Jobs Record As Superior To Romney's

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman's campaign is out with a new ad today, using the numbers "1" and "47" to set up a comparison between Huntsman and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

What's up with the numbers? Is Huntsman trying to say that he has the support of one New Hampshire primary voter for every forty-seven that Mitt has? Of course not! I don't think Huntsman has nearly that much support in New Hampshire. Rather, Huntsman is touting his own record as a job-creating governor: he is the top man with a motorbike, and Romney is a sad Mitt left on the baseball field. Or something!

Huntsman takes his number one ranking from this Katrina Trinko piece from the National Review's Corner blog, and, in keeping with contemporary citations of baseball-based statistics, this one comes with an asterisk:

While all the GOP contenders are quick to hit the “jobs, jobs, jobs” mantra, the former governors running for president have very different records on job creation. According to a National Review Online analysis of seasonally adjusted employment data (looking at the total number of those employed) from the Bureau of Labor website, Gary Johnson has the best record of the official candidates, with a job-growth rate of 11.6 percent during his tenure.

But Johnson, who governed from 1995 to 2003, doesn’t overlap much with the other governors — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Jon Huntsman — who are running. Among the crowd who governed primarily during the 2000s, Huntsman has the best record. During his 2005 to 2009 tenure as governor of Utah, the number of jobs grew by 5.9 percent.

So, Gary Johnson has a right to take issue with this.

"One man's record is sadly similar to Obama's," says the ad, alluding to Romney. But let's get beneath the atmospherics of the ad for a second. What do we know of Huntsman's "jobs plan?" Lots, actually. The key features are: tax cuts for the wealthy, tax cuts for corporations, massive deregulation, repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank, energy production through drilling in America and offshore. Outside of some differences at the margins, does anyone expect Mitt Romney's "jobs plan" to be much different?

I'd say no. So, this #1 versus #47 stuff from the past is irrelevant. Either Mitt Romney is going to be just as good at creating jobs as Jon Huntsman, or Huntsman is going to be just as terrible.

(Most campaign reporters will tell you: "OMG! HUNTSMAN IS GOING AFTER MITT ROMNEY! SUCH STRATEGY!)

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