Obama: Romney claim about women job loss is "bogus"

WASHINGTON Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:41pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks after touring the Port of Tampa in Florida, April 13, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks after touring the Port of Tampa in Florida, April 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday his likely Republican opponent Mitt Romney's argument that women had been disproportionately affected by job losses under Obama's administration was "bogus."

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and probable Republican presidential nominee, has cited statistics showing that 92 percent of the people who lost their jobs under Obama's watch were women.

In an interview with Telemundo television, the president, a Democrat, said that was not true.

"Everybody who's looked at this claim knows it's bogus," Obama said, according to a transcript.

"What he doesn't mention obviously is that all these job losses, both men and women, took place as a consequence of the worst financial crisis and the worst economic crisis that we've seen since the Great Depression," he continued.

"They're a direct result of the policies he wants to go back to, and I think the American people understand that," Obama said.

Fact-checking website Politifact branded the 92 percent claim "mostly false." But the Romney camp stuck by the figure, which it said was based on women accounting for 683,000 of the 740,000 nonfarm payroll jobs lost from January 2009 to March 2012.

Obama and Romney are increasingly vying for the support of women voters, who polls show are swinging to Obama, partly because of a divisive debate during the Republican primary race about contraception rights.

But a comment by a Democratic strategist this week that seemed to criticize Romney's wife for being a stay-at-home mom may have chipped away at the gains Obama has made with women.

Obama, who said spouses should be off limits for criticism, noted that the strategist, Hilary Rosen, had apologized, and said there were more important differences between himself and Romney worth debating.

"We've got some big issues to debate in this country about tax policy, about how we're going to grow the economy, how we're going to make sure everybody in America gets a fair shot," he said. "There are more than enough differences between me and Mr. Romney that should be our focus."

Obama, who is spending the weekend in Colombia at a summit with Latin American leaders, reaffirmed his commitment to immigration reform and accused Republicans of being hypocritical in their approach to Latino issues.

Hispanic voters may be critical swing votes in states such as Colorado and Nevada that could determine who wins the November 6 presidential election.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (19)
stambo2001 wrote:
Mostly false? It was also largely true. Look it up. The vast majority of job losses over the last 3 years has been amongst women.

It is funny how barry wants to get a pass on the ‘housewife doesn’t know what work is’ comment. Come on, let’s get real. If it had gotten any traction at all he would have rode that horse until it died.

Apr 13, 2012 8:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Skruples wrote:
@ stambo2001:

Mostly false but largely true. I’m not going to try and figure out what kind of mental gymnastics you had to do in order for that to make sense when you wrote it.

But I took your advice and did, actually, look it up. It’s actually more than just mostly false. From the BLS statistics on gender and workforce, numbers in thousands:

Sep 2008:
Women 20 and over employed: 65,149; unemployment rate 5.1%
Men 20 and over employed: 74,844; unemployment rate 5.6%
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_10032008.pdf

Dec 2009:
Women 20 and over employed: 63,430; unemployment rate 7.6%
Men 20 and over employed: 70,251; unemployment rate 10.4%
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_01082010.pdf

May 2010:
Women 20 and over employed: 63,506; unemployment rate 7.8%
Men 20 and over employed: 71,655; unemployment rate 9.4%
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_06042010.pdf

2011:
Women 20 and over employed: 63,710; unemployment rate 7.5%
Men 20 and over employed: 73,183; unemployment rate 7.8%
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_01062012.pdf

From March 2012:
Women 20 and over employed: 64,756; unemployment rate 7.2%
Men 20 and over employed: 72,567; unemployment rate 8.3%
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm

Women lost about 1.6 million jobs, and men lost about 4.6 million. Women have had consistently lower unemployment rates. Not only was Romney just wrong, he was wrong by 67%. As in, women lost about 25% of the total jobs, and men lost the other 75%.

But then, if you’d looked it up you’d already know all this.

Apr 13, 2012 9:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
NewsDebbie wrote:
Obama is right. It is pretty bogus. The reason is that women make 77 cents out of every $1.00 a male earns. It is/was a labor cost issue. When you are laying people off you lay off those who make more than you want to pay that was males. Each male laid off was a 23 cent savings.

Apr 13, 2012 11:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.