Mitt Romney appeared on Fox & Friends to walk back his suggestion that we should not hire "more firemen, more policemen, more teachers."
On Friday, after President Obama called for federal funding to stem the tide of public-sector job losses, Romney mocked the president, claiming "he wants to add more to government." Romney continued: "He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message in Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
On Monday, Fox & Friends' defense of Romney's comments included deceptively editing remarks by David Axelrod so that Romney's comments would not appear in the clip.
But today, the show took a slightly different tack. While the co-hosts still did not air the initial comments from Romney, they referred to them during an interview with the candidate and gave him the opportunity to walk them back.
KILMEADE: [President Obama] says that you're out of touch. He says you want to cut firefighters and teachers, that you don't understand what's going on in these communities. What do you say to that, Governor?
ROMNEY: Well, that's a very strange accusation. Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn't pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So, obviously that's completely absurd. He's got a new idea, though, and that is to have another stimulus and to have the federal government send money to try and bail out cities and states. It didn't work the first time. It certainly wouldn't work the second time.
But the criticism that Romney wants to cut firefighters and teachers is far from "absurd."
Romney did in fact suggest we don't need more government workers such as teachers and firefighters, an assertion in direct contrast with reality. Economists have found that there have been severe and unusual state and local government job losses, which has been a significant drag on the economy -- job losses that have coincided with the loss of federal stimulus funds. Congressional Republicans are seemingly on the same page, blocking the federal government from providing aid to states to rehire these workers.