Jon Huntsman: Romney is Lousy at Creating Jobs

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/3909233228/">World Economic Forum</a>/Flickr

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While touting his economic record as Utah Governor during a South Carolina campaign stop Monday night, Jon Huntsman took a passive-aggressive swipe at Mitt Romney’s job creation credentials:

When you look at the absolute increases in job creation, Utah led the United States in job creation. That compared and contrasted with other states — say, Massachusetts, I’ll just pull that out randomly — not first, but 47th.

Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller upped the ante Tuesday morning by stating Massachusetts’s job growth under Romney was “abysmal by every standard,” and that it edged past only Louisiana, Michigan, and Ohio:

You know your job creation record is bad when you brag about leapfrogging a state ravaged by Hurricane Katrina…We assume Mitt Romney will continue to run away from his record.

Some of the media reaction to these statements was overblown. For instance, Slate‘s David Weigel took this to mean that Huntsman had completely abandoned his campaign’s “civility pledge” (apparently confusing “civility” with not saying anything at all), and ABC News characterized it as “go[ing] nuclear” on Romney.

Nevertheless, in strongly criticizing the Republican frontrunner—certainly more sharply than Tim Pawlenty did with the short-lived “Obamneycare” critique—the Huntsman campaign really doesn’t have anything to lose. Less than a month into his presidential run, Huntsman is still saddled by unimpressive poll numbers, lack of name recognition, and a low second-quarter cash haul (Romney leads him nearly 5 to 1 in fundraising). So his challenge to Romney sort of feels like that time the director of BloodRayne challenged Michael Bay to a boxing match: some media buzz, but with minimal immediate impact.

That doesn’t mean the jobs issue won’t matter down the road. Huntsman’s critique is largely accurate: as Mother Jones‘ Andy Kroll reported, Romney’s claims of being a great job-creator are dubious at best. Huntsman has highlighted something that could become a big liability for the GOP frontrunner in the coming months. But will Huntsman still be in the race to see it?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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