Steppin’ In It

I think Mitt’s going to have some problems with this jobs answer. Mitt Romney just insisted that his 100,000 jobs number includes both jobs gains and jobs losses. But in fact his own top advisor said only a few days ago that the 100,000 number came from the jobs created from three companies and did not include the losses.

Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post finally pressed the Romney campaign on this. And Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom gave Kessler this …

Fehrnstrom says the 100,000 figure stems from the growth in jobs from three companies that Romney helped to start or grow while at Bain Capital: Staples (a gain of 89,000 jobs), The Sports Authority (15,000 jobs), and Domino’s (7,900 jobs).

This tally obviously does not include job losses from other companies with which Bain Capital was involved — and are based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain. (Indeed, Romney made his comments in response to a former employee of American Pad & Paper Co. who says he lost his job after Bain Capital took it private.)

So when pressed Romney spokesman said it’s the gains of three companies — not the losses.

And what did Romney himself just say in response to Stephanopoulos? Here’s the exchange …

Romney: In the business I had we invested in, over 100 different businesses, and net / net, taking out the ones where we lost jobs and the ones where we added? those business have now added over 100,000 jobs. I have a record of learning how to create jobs.

Stephanopolous: There have been questions about that caluclation of the 100,000 jobs, so if you could explain a little more, I’ve read some analysts who look at it and say that you’re counting the jobs that were created, but the jobs that were taken away. Is that accurate?

Romney: No, it’s not accurate, it includes the net of both, I’m a good enough numbers guy to make sure I got both sides of that.

How can these two statements be reconciled? Ferhnstrom’s statement clearly contradicts Romney’s.

Late Update: TPM’s Benjy Sarlin caught up with Ferhnstrom at the ‘spin room’ after tonight’s debate. And Ferhnstrom backed up Romney’s explanation. To work around the apparent contradiction he said in so many words that even with the layoffs, the total amounted to more than 100,000 jobs. See the Late Update in this piece for Ferhnstrom’s full response.

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