When I first saw a brief Associated Press report asserting that Rick Perry, at an event in Des Moines, Iowa today claimed, in AP's words, that "he's created 1 million jobs while governor of Texas," I thought to myself, "Wow, that's a pretty egotistical thing to say -- as if he did it all by himself."
Then I remembered that I was reading an AP report. Of course Perry didn't say that, and, oddly enough (no, not really), a longer AP report proves it.
First, here's the opening half of the unbylined shorter item (bolds are mine):
Perry blasts Obama, notes own job-creating record
Texas Gov. Rick Perry blasted President Obama's handling of the economy and says his own record of creating jobs qualifies him for the White House.
Perry told nearly 400 activists that he's created 1 million jobs while governor of Texas, all during a stretch where the nation was losing 2.5 million jobs. Perry says he'll take a record of cutting taxes and regulation to Washington and says the Texas rebound proves that it works.
It turns out that the shorter item is a brief synopsis of a longer story with the same title by AP reporter Mike Glover. Glover's longer report has the same opening characterization of what Perry said. Ten paragraphs later, a direct quote from the Texas governor completely contradicts what Glover claimed Perry said. Here are paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 13 of that report:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry warned during an appearance in Iowa that President Obama has driven the nation's economy into a ditch, arguing that his own record as governor qualifies him to lead the way out.
"Instead of eliminating our economic crisis, he worsened it," said Perry. "Instead of addressing the debt, he exploded it."
Perry told nearly 400 activists that he's created 1 million jobs while governor of Texas, all during a stretch where the nation was losing 2.5 million jobs. Perry said he'll take his record of cutting taxes and regulation to Washington and he said the Texas rebound proves that those efforts work.
... "Since I've become governor, Texas has created more than 1 million jobs, while the rest of the country has lost 2.5 million jobs," said Perry.
This is far from a quibble. The difference between the actual quote and the way the AP's opening paragraphs describe it is further than the distance from Corpus Christi to Amarillo (which, by the way, is over 650 miles).
Only the most self-centered man or woman would actually try to claim that "I created a million jobs." Rick Perry is surely not suffering from an ego shortage (no one is who believes that he or she is qualified to be this nation's chief executive), but he didn't say what Glover has led readers of his short report or people who would only read or hear the first few paragraphs of his longer effort to believe. What Perry really said is that "Texas" (i.e., the people of Texas) did it, at least partially in response to whatever steps he claims to have taken to improve and maintain the Lone Star State's favorable business climate.
By contrast, the only good thing you can say about the country's Egotist in Chief, President Barack Obama, is that when attempting to favorably describe the economy's historically pathetic pace of job creation since the recession ended, he at least doesn't go to the first person singular. What he usually says (examples here, here, and here) is that "we've created" whatever number of jobs with which we the American people are supposed to be impressed -- as if his administration alone did it all.
At my home blog back in June, I strongly reacted Obama's "we've created" garbage, which in that particular instance relating to a statement about private-sector jobs, and then compared his administration's credit-hogging to two other presidents' credit-giving:
The heck you have. Businesses have created them.
Say what you will about Bush 43, but he understood that government doesn’t create private-sector jobs (except occasionally for some economically inefficient crony-capitalist jobs emanating from federal largesse, which amount to very little in the grand scheme of things):
- State of the Union Address, 2007 — “We are now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth, a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs so far.“
- State of the Union Address, 2008 — “To build a prosperous future, we must trust people with their own money and empower them to grow our economy. As we meet tonight, our economy is undergoing a period of uncertainty. America has added jobs for a record 52 straight months, but jobs are now growing at a slower pace.”
- State of the Union address, 2006 — “In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs — more than Japan and the European Union combined.”
Ronald Reagan, of course, had that same understanding, and was more blunt about who got the credit:
- State of the Union Address, 1986 — “Tonight the American people deserve our thanks for 37 straight months of economic growth, for sunrise firms and modernized industries creating nine million new jobs in three years, interest rates cut in half, inflation falling over from 12 percent in 1980 to under 4 today, and a mighty river of good works – a record $74 billion in voluntary giving just last year alone.”
- State of the Union Address, 1987 — “The unemployment rate – still too high – is the lowest in nearly seven years, and our people have created nearly 13 million new jobs.“
With Obama, it’s all about him and his supposedly wondrous federal government. Apparently, nothing happens without his and their involvement.
Hmm — maybe that’s why almost nothing happens.
Memo to the AP's Mike Glover: Your early paragraph asserting that Perry himself claimed credit for Texas's job growth is wrong. You've got it backwards. Perry said it's not about him, it's about the people of Texas and how they have responded to an atmosphere of relative freedom. Your direct quote of Perry later in your report proves it. Were you just lazy, or did you deliberately set out to make Rick Perry look like an insufferable, self-centered credit hog?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.