Mitt Romney and President Obama are locked in a "swing state rumble" over the economy, with Obama arguing that his policies will boost the middle class, and Romney countering that the president is leading the nation "off a cliff." But Romney's message is getting undermined by Republican governors in critical battleground states — including Iowa, Virginia, and Ohio — who boast about how well their states are doing. In speeches and TV ads that sound like campaign plugs for Obama, these governors are telling voters that their states are creating jobs, reducing unemployment, and growing the economy. Are they torpedoing Romney's claim that Obama's economic policies are poison?
These GOP governors are a godsend for Obama: Of course, swing-state GOP governors want Mitt to win, says Alec MacGillis at The New Republic. But to save their own skins, they're talking up job growth and corporate investment, kneecapping Romney's core message that the economy stinks. Even better for Obama, you can't "truthfully account for Ohio's comeback" without mentioning his auto bailout, or shed light on Virginia's rebound without talking federal stimulus.
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Romney will have to resolve the clashing messages: These tensions have long been brewing, says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post. Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently said that his state had "made a lot of progress," a theme Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been hitting, too. But the conflict really came to a head when Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad openly called on Romney to stop hyping bad economic news in the Hawkeye State. Romney has to reconcile his message of national gloom with governors' state-based optimism, but that's going to be "a tricky one."
And, after all, GOP governors have earned the right to brag: Republican governors and legislatures have had real success creating jobs, say Ryan Lovelace and Melissa Quinn at The Daily Caller. A new federal report shows that GOP-run states have created 16 percent more jobs than states with Democrats in charge. Obama will say that his stimulus spending created jobs across the board, but while "the White House may swing a sledgehammer at unemployment, state governments wield finer instruments and operate closer to the local economies where employment grows or shrinks."
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