Geithner: Romney Remarks On Women ‘Ridiculous,’ ‘Fiction’

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Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Sunday derided Mitt Romney’s argument that it’s President Obama who is waging the “real war on women” as “ridiculous” and based in fiction.

“It’s a ridiculous way to look at the problem,” he said on ABC’s This Week. “And this is a political moment and you’re going to be seeing — just to borrow a line from Mario Cuomo — ‘You’re going to see a lot of politicians choose to campaign in fiction. But we have to govern in fact.'”

As Democrats seek to hammer the point that Republican policies on contraception and reproductive rights are antithetical to the interests of women, Romney last week fired back by saying it’s Obama who’s waging the “real war on women” with his economic policies. In a line that he, his campaign and his surrogates repeated all week, Romney argued on the campaign trail that “92.3 percent of the job losses during the Obama years have been women.”

The argument, while premised in an accurate statistic, is misleading and lacks important context. The early job losses during the recession mostly affected men as they were largely in areas of manufacturing and construction. Women suffered more as the recession fully hit as layoffs hit education and other professions. Now that the recovery is taking hold, men are returning to work sooner as those lost jobs come back at a quicker pace.“It’s a ridiculous and deeply misleading look at the economy,” Geithner said of Romney’s remark on NBC’s Meet The Press. “You saw the composition of those job losses change over the course of the recovery, but the president’s policies have been very focused on trying to ease the pain on working families.”

Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom fired back on Twitter.

“Geithner on ABC concedes 92% of lost jobs under Obama were women, but says it’s because men lost jobs first. Great argument,” he wrote.

The cherry-picked statistic, while a poignant talking point, reflects Romney’s best effort to bridge what polls say is a growing, double-digit lead among women voters for Obama.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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