At a Manchester high school, Romney entered the stage for a town hall with new supporter John McCain, who won New Hampshire’s primary in 2000 and 2008. After brief speeches in which McCain called on New Hampshire to “catapult [Romney] to victory” with a big showing, they opened up the floor to questions. First up? A self-proclaimed “Occupy Boston” and “Occupy New Hampshire” activist, who challenged Romney to defend his famous “corporations are people” line.
Clearly used to it at this point, Romney launched into a lengthy, detailed, and impressively delivered explanation of how he views corporations as “collections of people that are trying to have good jobs for themselves” rather than just “buildings.” He even mixed it up on a follow up question about whether retained earnings that corporations sit on rather than invest are still productive.
“When a business has profit it can do good things,” he replied.
One woman asked why he favored increasing health care costs, (“I don’t think anyone is in favor of seeing rising health care costs”). A Chinese-American immigrant said she felt his China-bashing rhetoric was “degrading” to Asians.
“I hope I haven’t put any Asians down,” he said, adding he supported legal immigration of all kinds.
Trying to out-conservatives the conservatives may play in Iowa, but New Hampshire Republicans would be Democrats in any other state (they're the opposite of Kentucky Democrats, who would be Teabaggers in any other state.) The discriminating Granite State voter is not stupid. They pay attention to Romney's sea change on social policies and his anti-Occupy rhetoric, and they're not thrilled with him at all.
They'll still hold their nose and vote for him. But it's entirely possible he's not the dead sure lock he was last night to win the state going away.
Oh, and in that "lengthy, detailed, and impressively delivered explanation" of Republinomics, Romney asked that Occupy New Hampshire activist to name a country with a higher per capita than the US. Turns out there's several.
Driving home today, I heard a segment on NPR (couldn’t find it online) reporting on Romney facing a tough crowd in New Hampshire. One of the exchanges that caught my attention was Romney’s response to a question from a voter dissatisfied with “trickle down” economics. Romney fired back with a dare to “name one country with the same GDP per capita” as the US—implying that the US economy was (relatively?) successful because it was the richest in the world.
There’s two problems with that statement: The first is that it’s not true. The second is that GDP per capita is not the best metric.
To answer Romney’s challenge, I can name at least six countries with GDP per capita (using purchasing power parity) higher than the US:
The above figures come from the IMF which ranks the US seventh, with a GDP per capita of $46,860 (see full list). Of course, other institutions use different measures. For example, our very own CIA ranks the US ninth (the other countries that sneak into the top ranks are Kuwait and Liechtenstein).
- Qatar ($88,222)
- Luxembourg ($81,466)
- Singapore ($56,694)
- Norway ($51,959)
- Brunei ($48,333)
- United Arab Emirates ($47,439)
So please, I want to see Mitt use this claim again in a debate soon, and someone to slam his crank in the door when he does.