AP: When Mitt Romney and Rick Perry thumped their chests over their job-creation records as governor during the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, they left the bad parts out.
Yes, employment has grown by more than 1 million since Perry took office in Texas. But a lot of those jobs are not well paid.
True, unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent when Romney was Massachusetts governor. But the state’s employment growth was among the nation’s worst.
A look at some of the claims in the debate, and how they compare with the facts:
PERRY: “Ninety-five percent of all the jobs that we’ve created have been above minimum wage.”
THE FACTS: To support the claim, the Perry campaign provided federal statistics for December 2010 showing only 5.3 percent of all jobs in Texas pay the minimum wage.
But those figures represent all workers, not just the new jobs, for which data in unavailable. And that does not account for low-wage jobs that may be above the minimum wage. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 51 percent of all Texas workers make less than $33,000 a year. Only 30 percent make more than $50,000 a year. Nationally, Texas ranked 34th in median household income from 2007 to 2009.
About 9.5 percent of Texas hourly workers, excluding those who are paid salaries, earn the minimum wage or less, tying Mississippi for the highest percentage in the nation.
ROMNEY: “At the end of four years, we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent. That’s a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in the entire country.”
THE FACTS: To be sure, 4.7 percent unemployment would be a welcome figure nationally. But Romney started from a much better position than President Barack Obama did. Unemployment was only 5.6 percent when Romney took office in 2003, meaning it came down by less than 1 percentage point when he left office in 2007. Obama inherited a national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
BBC: The crew on board the International Space Station (ISS) have paused in silence for six people killed in a shooting in Arizona which left US congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, seriously wounded.
The ISS Commander, Scott Kelly, who is Ms Giffords’ brother-in-law led a tribute to the victims. Ms Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, is also an astronaut.
“As I look out the window, I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not. These days, we are constantly reminded of the unspeakable acts of violence and damage we can inflict upon one another, not just with our actions but also with our irresponsible words. We are better than this. We must do better.”
President Obama has released a statement calling on a national moment of silence tomorrow at 11 a.m., and signed a proclamation ordering flags be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for the victims of the “senseless act of violence” committed yesterday morning.
The President’s statement:
“Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time, I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives. It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.”
The President will observe the moment of silence with White House staff on the South Lawn.
The signed proclamation ordering flags be flown at half-staff reads:
“As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 14, 2011. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
A portrait of Gabrielle Giffords is placed at a memorial outside the hospital where she and other victims of Saturday’s shootings are recovering in Tucson, Arizona January 9
A portrait of slain federal judge John Roll sits at a makeshift memorial on January 9, in Tucson, Arizona
President Barack Obama pauses during a moment of silence in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House at 8:46AM, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in remembrance of the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)