Mitt Romney’s ‘Absurd’ Claim Misses Billions In Federal Funds for Teachers, Firefighters and Cops

Mitt Romney asserted Tuesday that the federal government doesn’t pay for police officers, firefighters and teachers. Well, he was only off by billions of dollars.

Romney argued that it was "completely absurd" to say he would cut the hiring of police officers, firefighters and teachers because the federal government plays no part in those decisions. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Mitt Romney, who appeared on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning, was asked to respond to charges made by the Obama campaign that he would slash those specific government jobs.

The former Massachusetts governor responded that it was “completely absurd” to accuse him of being opposed to hiring teachers, firemen and policemen, adding that it was the purview of state and local governments to make those decisions, not the president.

“Well, that’s a very strange accusation. Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that’s completely absurd,” Romney said.

“[Obama’s] got a new idea, though, and that is to have another stimulus and to have the federal government send money to try and bail out cities and states. It didn’t work the first time. It certainly wouldn’t work the second time,” he said.

In fact, the federal government does spend a lot of money to support all those professions, reports The Huff Post.

The federal government supports teachers, firefighters or policemen through a variety of programs, including Title 1 education funding, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Community Oriented Policing Services and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants.

In 2010 the federal government awarded $298 million for 1,388 officers.

Back in 2011 the government spent $247 million to hire more than 1,000 officers.

Romney’s gaffe comes at the time when Democrats are trying to recover from President Obama’s “The private sector is doing fine” gaffe.

By the way, though President Obama later clarified his remarks to reporters, saying that “the economy is not doing fine,” Romney campaign didn’t miss the chance to score some points and released a series of web videos Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday Romney campaign unveiled a video called “Fine?” that contained repeats of Obama’s comment, ominous music and a message which read: “No, Mr. President, we are not doing fine.”

On Monday they continued with a video of talking heads announcing the latest poor jobs data, with a text message appearing on the screen: “Has there ever been a president so out of touch with the middle class?”

The Obama campaign also reacted quickly to the latest gaffe made by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and created their own video drawing on Romney’s words.

The video shows Mitt Romney saying of Obama: “He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.”

“Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did,” Romney added, referring to Scott Walker, the Republican governor who survived a recent recall election.

“It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

However, Walker distanced himself from Romney’s comment during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

His crackdown “allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers, and teachers. That’s not what I think of when I think of big government.”

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, also reacted to Romney’s remarks on Monday. He explained that the statement underscored “a real issue” and urged people “to stop jumping on it as a gaffe.”

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