News Column

Jobless Rate's for Real: Scott Brown

Oct. 8, 2012

Laurel J. Sweet, Boston Herald

Sen. Scott Brown
Sen. Scott Brown

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown scoffed yesterday at conspiracy theories circulated by his party and business tycoon Jack Welch that the Obama administration concocted last week's encouraging unemployment numbers to distract from the president's mauling by former Bay State Gov. Mitt Romney in their first televised debate.

"No, no, no," the senator said when asked by a reporter if he believes the jobless numbers were fake.

But Brown, who has been touting his bipartisan voting record on the campaign trail, stopped short of giving Obama any credit for steering the economy toward recovery.

"Listen, we had one month out of 40 something. Let's see what happens next month. Everything's flat. I know it, he (Obama) knows it, everyone knows it," Brown said of Friday's U.S. Department of Labor report that the unemployment rate dropped last month from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent -- its lowest level in nearly four years.

Welch, a Peabody native and former CEO of General Electric, tweeted Friday that Obama "can't debate so change numbers." Welch stuck to his guns yesterday, mocking the unemployment rate in a follow-up tweet as "implausible."

Speaking before the start of yesterday's 64th annual Columbus Day Parade in East Boston, Brown agreed with GOP presidential hopeful Romney that the drop is most likely "a result of a lot of people falling off the rolls" because they've given up looking for work.

When Brown's rival, Elizabeth Warren, who also marched, was asked whether she thought Democrats fudged the numbers, an angry Mayor Thomas M. Menino answered for her.

"That's a typical explanation from Jack Welch. Where has he been the last three or four years? These are real numbers," Menino railed. "Jack Welch, go back to New York! Stay there."

Brown and Warren square off in their third debate Wednesday at Symphony Hall in Springfield.

In the latest of a string of polls showing a tight race, the Western New England University Polling Institute reported yesterday that among 440 likely voters, 50 percent were backing Warren, compared to 45 percent for Brown.

Source: (c)2012 the Boston Herald Distributed by MCT Information Services

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