Huffpost Politics

Romney Hammers Women's Job Loss Number, Campaign Ignores Context

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On a conference call Wednesday morning, the Mitt Romney campaign continued to repeat their new mantra that women have suffered 92 percent of job losses since President Obama took office.

It's the campaign's retort to the Democratic claim that the Republicans are waging a "war on women."

Politifact has rated the Romney campaign's claim "mostly false," but Romney's top policy adviser, Lanhee Chen, blew past a question about the context of the numbers when asked by a reporter on a conference call.

"The first point that people seem to want to make about this number is that, you know, we shouldn't start counting from the start of the president's administration. And what I would suggest is that the president should stop blaming other people and start accepting responsibility for the fact that, you know, they've done a tremendous amount of damage to American women in this economy," Chen said.

The other point made by Politifact and others, however, is that while women suffered 683,000 of the 740,000 job losses from January 2009 to March 2012, there were millions of job losses in the year leading up to when Obama took office -- when Republican President George W. Bush was still in office -- and men suffered about two thirds of those job losses.

Politifact quoted Betsey Stevenson, a Princeton University professor of business and public policy, as saying: "In every recession men’s job loss occurs first and most, with unemployment rates for men being more cyclical than those of women's."

Chen partially responded to this claim as well, but did not really address the context of job losses under Bush.

"What's fascinating to me is that they seem to suggest that somehow this is a pattern that is regularlized in recessions, when in fact I would challenge anybody, any analyst, to find a 38-month period that's been as difficult on women as has the 38-month period in which we've been above 8 percent unemployment," Chen said.

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