Mitt Romney chatted with some unemployed people in Tampa this morning, and joked he’s “also unemployed.” I gave him a hard time, but Ezra Klein argues we should cut candidates some slack when it comes to misfired jokes.

I think the larger context — Romney’s record of laying off thousands of Americans, his off-putting sense of humor, etc. — makes this more interesting, but reasonable people can certainly disagree.

What’s nearly as interesting, though, is what else Romney said at the same location.

“We have all been distressed by the policies that this administration has put in place over the last two years,” Mr. Romney said. “We have seen the most anti-investment, antigrowth, antijob strategy in America since Jimmy Carter. The result has been it’s harder and harder for people to find work.”

On this, Ezra and I couldn’t agree more.

By any measure, this is absurd. Taxes are at a 50-year low. The Dow has staged a roaring recovery. Business profits are near record levels. And the economy has gone from losing 780,000 jobs a month to gaining about 160,000 jobs a month. That is to say, it’s getting easier and easier for people to find work, even if it’s not nearly easy enough.

I don’t mind bad jokes. What I mind is bad economic analysis.

I’m inclined to take note of both, but it’s important that folks realize that it’s not just the bad joke that matters. When it comes to what Romney intends to do different about his signature issue, the guy either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s doing an excellent imitation of someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.