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You Should Know: Five Facts About Mitt Romney

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Seven days, seven candidates. Tonight is the New Hampshire Republican presidential debate, and we've saved the best five for last.

Today, we look at Mitt Romney.

Romney leads the GOP field in two key measurements: early polling and number of flip-flops. He's running on a promise to create jobs, but as a corporate executive, he closed down factories; as a policymaker, he presided over one of the worst state economies in the country. He opposed aid to the automakers then tried to take credit for their success; and he championed state health reform, yet opposes the national model it shaped.

Here are five things you should know about Mitt Romney:

1) Mitt Romney led Bain Capital to close American factories and cause hundreds of layoffs, but not before he pocketed huge fees. Between 1984 and 1999, Mitt Romney led Bain Capital, a private-equity firm that raked in massive profits through “leveraged buyouts, debt hedge funds, offshore tax havensand other financial strategies.” But the firm also “closed U.S. factories, causing hundreds of layoffs, or pocketed huge fees shortly before companies collapsed." (Los Angeles Times, 12/16/07)

2) As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney had one of the worst job-creation records in the country – ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation –gaining only 1 percent in payroll jobs during his term, compared to the 5.3 percent national average. At the end of then-Gov. Romney’s first year in office in December 2003, Massachusetts hit a low point—and things only got worse. According to Factcheck.org, “the number of jobs declined in seven of the remaining 36 months of his term.” Additionally, “y the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole.” (Factcheck.org, 1/11/2008)

3) Mitt Romney called for letting Detroit go bankrupt, but now claims credit for the auto industry’s turnaround. In a 2008 op-ed, Mitt Romney opposed providing assistance to Detroit’s automakers, writing that “If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” (Romney Op-Ed, New York Times,11/19/2008). Fast forward to present day when news broke of the auto industry’s historic turnaround—Mitt Romney’s spokesman said that President Obama’s plan for rescuing the auto industry was Romney’s idea first and modeled after a plan he advocated in 2008. (New York Times, 5/24/2011)

4) Mitt Romney said that he would sign the Ryan Republican plan that would end the Medicare seniors rely on. ABC News reports that,“On health care, Romney responded "yes" when asked if he would sign the plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan that would restructure Medicare if it reached his desk as President, but quickly added that he would be offering his own plan.” (ABC News,6/2/2011)

5) Mitt Romney first supported the Recovery Act, but now claims that it made the economy worse.According to the Boston Phoenix, Romney wrote in his book that “A stimulus package ‘was called for’ after the late-2008 economic downturn, and the Democrats’ stimulus ‘will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery’”(Boston Phoenix, 2/10/2010). Having declared for 2012, Mitt Romney claims that “[o]ther presidents have inherited recessions before, but this president didn’t make it better, he made it worse.” Romney also said the stimulus package was a failure. (KSL,12/2/2009)

America got a good look at Mitt Romney back in 2008, but he's changed so many positions in the time since then, that he's largely unrecognizable from the candidate he was before. For that reason, we need your help spreading the truth about his record.

Share these five facts with your networks on email, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure to use the hashtag #youshouldknow on Twitter.

Tonight during the New Hampshire debate, follow with us here in real time as we fact-check and fight back against the Republicans’ misstatements.