Commentary Magazine


Obama Wants Credit For Texas Job Growth

Rick Perry hasn’t even officially entered the race yet but David Axelrod is already taking some preemptive strikes at his jobs record, Politico reports. Over the past two years, half of all national job creation has taken place in Texas, so the White House is right to be nervous. The Democratic talking point on Perry – which has already been gaining some traction in the media — is that the majority of the job growth was due to federal spending, not Perry’s policies.

On the CBS Early Show, Axelrod fired the Obama campaign’s first shot:

”I don’t think many people would attribute it to the leadership of the governor down there,” he said of jobs growth, citing federal spending on oil production and the military.

Then he hammered it in during an interview with George Stephanopoulos:

“When you examine the entire record what’s happened to education in that state, what’s happened to health care in that state, it’s a record of decimation not of progress,” David Axelrod told me.

“I don’t think the picture of Texas is what people want for the country when you look at the whole array of things that happened there,” he said.

Texas’ record of job creation has more to do with profits from the oil industry, a growing military and receiving aid from the Recovery Act, according to Axelrod.

This attack-line may at least help muddy the waters on Perry’s jobs record, and give Obama supporters a counter-argument when Perry starts touting his economic successes on the campaign trail. But even if there’s truth to the Axelrod’s claims, will voters actually buy the idea that Obama’s the one who should get credit for job-creation in Texas? Especially when his job-creation policies have been so ineffective in the country as a whole? It’s a feeble argument, but it might be all Obama has right now.