During a press conference call Friday afternoon, Democratic Massachusetts state Senator Karen Spilka debunked Mitt Romney’s claims of bipartisanship. She said many legislators– including Republicans — would say that Mitt Romney not only wasn’t bipartisan, but he didn’t even know where that aisle was.
Sen. Spilka recounted that at one point, after she had been working with Romney for weeks, he still didn’t know who she was. Romney then came to her district and still didn’t know who she was. In retelling this to a Republican colleague, the colleague told her not to feel bad because Romney didn’t know who the Republican legislators were either. He said, “Karen, don’t feel so badly. He doesn’t know who we are either.”
The picture painted by Senator Spilka is not one of a hard working Governor, much less a bipartisan one. Spilka said contrary to the fairy tale Romney is selling the public about how he convinced the lions to lay down with the lambs and used his business experience to bring everyone together, the Mitt Romney they know from Massachusetts belongs in a “Grimm Fairy Tale”. She said it was clear by the end of year two that Mitt Romney was more interested in running for president than anything to do with Massachusetts. He was gone 417 days from Massachusetts, prompting the New York Times to dub him the “absentee” governor.
Spilka repeated the often echoed charges that Romney was aloof and distant to such an extent that he had stationed police around his office so that the legislators and public couldn’t get in to see him. According to her, no other governor before or since has done that. She said, “He treated us like employees.”
A reporter from the Wall Street Journal brought up the bipartisan healthcare reform law passed under Romney as an example of him working across the aisle. The Senator explained that they had been working on that for years, “We had been talking about reforming healthcare in the early 2000’s. Romney embraced it. This is his major achievement in helping getting it through.” However, she continued, “As soon as it was signed, he ran away from it – went around the country and mocked it. It is the single example of Romney actually sitting down, rolling up his sleeves, working with legislature. In all other instances, he wanted to tell us what should happen. When there was other dialogue, it was his way or the highway.”
The Senator charged that Romney failed to deliver on his promises of jobs and a balanced budget, noting that even as the national economy was growing, “We were sinking.” Spilka added, “He promised to balance budget, but he left his successor with billion dollar deficit.” Businessman Romney also left the highest debt per person of any state in the country.
The Senator is correct about the deficit Romney left in Massachusetts. Massachusetts’ long-term debt increased by 16.4 percent, or by $2.6 billion over four years. [Source: Massachusetts Office Of The Treasurer] and Romney left behind a billion-dollar deficit when he left office. [Source: Boston Globe, 12/30/06]
With job creation, income and wages lagging well behind the rest of the country, 222,000 residents left the state, the third-highest rate of population loss in the country. In 2007, the Boston Globe noted that under Romney, “We were one of only two states to have experienced no growth in its resident labor force.”
Additionally, her other charges regarding Romney’s economic record are also accurate. According to Think Progress:
Under Mitt Romney’s leadership, Massachusetts ranked 47th among the 50 states in job creation.
During Mitt Romney’s tenure, Massachusetts’ job growth was at 0.9 percent, far behind the national average of over 5 percent.
A Northeastern University economist found that Massachusetts lagged on virtually every economic indicator while Mitt Romney was in office.
Mitt Romney called for taxes on the poor, saying low-income Americans having no income tax liability is “a problem” that will “kill the country.”
The Boston Globe confirms the Senator’s story about the troopers being used to cut off access to the governor, “During Romney’s four years as governor, the troopers reserved one of the two elevators outside the Corner Office solely for Romney’s use. They also erected velvet ropes in front of his office, allowing only those approved to enter. The beefy men and unflinching women of the detail ensured that few approached the governor who were not expected.” (Boston Globe, 2/3/12)
Mitt Romney didn’t even know the names of Republican legislators, let alone the Democrats. It’s not just that Romney failed to be bipartisan, but that he was so absent he didn’t even know the names of some of the Republican legislators.
Senator Spilka pointed out, “Why would anyone think he would be any different as president? We’ve seen the real Mitt Romney we know his record. Massachusetts knows Mitt Romney more than anyone else in the country, and Massachusetts is voting for Barack Obama.”