The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Midday Update: Candidates Spar Over ‘Secretary of Business’

by Newsteam Staff
November 2, 2012

Photo of the day: GOP nominee Mitt Romney arrives in his campaign bus for a rally November 2, 2012. (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the day: GOP nominee Mitt Romney arrives in his campaign bus for a rally November 2, 2012. (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters)


GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama’s proposal to consolidate numerous government business programs (CBS) into one agency as another layer of bureaucracy, while the Obama administration characterized it as streamlining the federal government.

A White House spokesman said that the plan would save $10 billion over three years and that it has the support of the Chamber of Commerce, reports CBS.

The October jobs report, the last to be released before Election Day, shows that while the unemployment rate increased by a tenth of a percent to 7.9 percent, more jobs than forecast were added (NBC).

“The largely positive report will make Mitt Romney’s challenge tougher Friday to go after the president’s handling of the economy, but the Republican can at least point to the fact that the unemployment rate is higher now than it was the month Mr. Obama took office,” reports PBS.

CNN reports that the jobs report “may be the single most motivating event to take place at this point in the campaign,” and that it may sway undecided voters in swing states.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that, if Republicans take control of the Senate and he becomes the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he will have senior Obama administration officials answer questions about the consulate attack in Benghazi under oath (RealClearPolitics).

He has also said, if he becomes chairman, he would focus on “reforming the civilian side of the organization and expanding oversight of its procurement process,” reports Politico.

While President Obama and Mitt Romney have been focusing on China’s role in U.S. trade and jobs issues, a new Pew survey shows that the top concern of U.S. voters regarding China is the large amount of U.S. debt that it holds.

This CFR Issue Tracker details both candidates’ stances on U.S.-China policy.

In TIME, E.J. Dionne Jr. and Rich Lowry make the cases for President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Dionne on Obama’s handling of the economy:

Most relevant to this year’s choice is the fact that the economy is in far better shape than it would have been if we had followed the counsel of Obama’s foes. They would have allowed the auto industry to collapse. They would have ignored history’s lesson that government must step in to stimulate economic activity when private demand plummets. We know from the experience of Europe that austerity leads to stagnation. Obama made the better choice.

Lowry on Romney’s economic plan:

Not all of Romney’s program will be achievable, obviously. The tax reform won’t have a smooth trip through the congressional sausage factory. And some of Romney’s promises are unwise. One hopes that if he really labels China a currency manipulator on “Day One,” he spends Day Two figuring out how to avoid a trade war. But the thrust of Romney’s agenda would be good for our finances and our economy. It would begin to reverse the tide of federal spending in the short term and improve the fiscal outlook in the long run. Businesses could look forward to lower tax rates, modest regulation and cheap energy. (The last is especially important to manufacturers.)

Read more about the candidates’ positions on the economy in this CFR Issue Tracker.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

1 Comment

  • Posted by Beatrice S

    Is this a joke? The unemployment rate increased, but it hurts Romney because more jobs were added than was forecast.

    It’s the holiday season. Jobs always increase this time of year no matter who is President, but most are temporary and have nothing to do with government policies.

    What helps Romney is not statistics, but the sorry state of our towns, cities, and neighborhoods under Obama. Statistics can’t hide the devastation we see every day in our lives and in our surroundings.. We want leadership, maturity and help. We want Romney.