Nothing to Celebrate in Romney’s World

A nice catch by TPM of two nearly simultanous statements on unemployment by the presumptive Republican nominee for president and a presumptive economic advisor to any GOP administration.

First, here’s Mitt:

At a campaign stop in Pennsylvania Friday, Mitt Romney set the bar for a good unemployment rate at 4 percent. Reacting to the lackluster April jobs report, which showed unemployment dropping to 8.1%, Romney said the number needs to be far lower than that before anyone hands out attaboys.

“Just this morning there was some news that came across the wire that said that the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.1% and normally that would because for celebration,” he said. “But, in fact, anything over 8 percent, anything near 8 percent, anything over 4 percent, is not a cause for celebration.”

Then, there’s this:

A leading conservative economist took issue with Mitt Romney’s claim that, “anything over four percent [unemployment] is nothing to celebrate.”

“I understand the desire for low unemployment and the current 8.1 is unacceptable,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum told TPM via email Friday afternoon. “But 4% is not a realistic target.”

Holtz-Eakin, you may recall, was the chief economic advisor to John McCain during the 2008 campaign, and a former Director of the Congressional Budget Office when it was under Republican management.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.