Jon Huntsman: Romney is Lousy at Creating Jobs

<a href="">World Economic Forum</a>/Flickr

While touting his economic record as Utah Governor during a South Carolina campaign stop Monday night, Jon Huntsman took a passive-aggressive swipe at Mitt Romney’s job creation credentials:

When you look at the absolute increases in job creation, Utah led the United States in job creation. That compared and contrasted with other states — say, Massachusetts, I’ll just pull that out randomly — not first, but 47th.

Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller upped the ante Tuesday morning by stating Massachusetts’s job growth under Romney was “abysmal by every standard,” and that it edged past only Louisiana, Michigan, and Ohio:

You know your job creation record is bad when you brag about leapfrogging a state ravaged by Hurricane Katrina…We assume Mitt Romney will continue to run away from his record.

Some of the media reaction to these statements was overblown. For instance, Slate‘s David Weigel took this to mean that Huntsman had completely abandoned his campaign’s “civility pledge” (apparently confusing “civility” with not saying anything at all), and ABC News characterized it as “go[ing] nuclear” on Romney.

Nevertheless, in strongly criticizing the Republican frontrunner—certainly more sharply than Tim Pawlenty did with the short-lived “Obamneycare” critique—the Huntsman campaign really doesn’t have anything to lose. Less than a month into his presidential run, Huntsman is still saddled by unimpressive poll numbers, lack of name recognition, and a low second-quarter cash haul (Romney leads him nearly 5 to 1 in fundraising). So his challenge to Romney sort of feels like that time the director of BloodRayne challenged Michael Bay to a boxing match: some media buzz, but with minimal immediate impact.

That doesn’t mean the jobs issue won’t matter down the road. Huntsman’s critique is largely accurate: as Mother Jones‘ Andy Kroll reported, Romney’s claims of being a great job-creator are dubious at best. Huntsman has highlighted something that could become a big liability for the GOP frontrunner in the coming months. But will Huntsman still be in the race to see it?


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.