Mayor vs. Governor

1193334712It’s already been a rough week for Mitt Romney. The former governor’s propensity for throwing associates under the bus continues. This time he called on Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman to resign after she allowed Daniel Tavares Jr. to leave jail only to have him kill again. Now Rudy Giuliani sees an opportunity and called out Romney for being soft on crime, a charge Romney disputes. So, who’s right?

Let’s make sure we know what Giuliani actually said.

“It’s not an isolated situation,” the GOP front-runner said, asserting that Romney has a “poor record on violent crime” and adding: “He had an increase in murder and violent crime while he was governor. So it’s not so much the isolated situation which he and the judge will have to explain.”

In a press release, the Romney campaign claims that crime went down during his governorship.

Under Governor Romney, the violent crime rate in Massachusetts decreased by over 7%. The violent crime rate was lower than the national average. Prior to Governor Romney, the violent crime rate was increasing.

The statistic is presented with a confusing graphic created with data from the FBI’s website. The data the governor cites presents only national numbers, so where did the Massachusetts numbers come from?

Immediately after the graphic, the campaign provides some context from the Herald’s Dave Wedge.

FACT: According To FBI Statistics, The Overall Crime Rate Decreased In Massachusetts Under Governor Romney:

Under Governor Romney, The Overall Crime Rate Fell By 8% Over His Four Years In Office. “Car thefts and larcenies also were down, in line with national trends, and helped contribute to an overall 8 percent decline in crime during Romney’s four years, according to the FBI stats.” (Dave Wedge, “Crime Up During Romney Tenure,” The Boston Herald, 9/26/07)

Savvy readers will notice that Wedge is actually reporting that violent crime went up during the Romney tenure. Despite the nice quote at the end of the piece, Wedge had the same damning statistics that Giuliani presented yesterday.

New FBI statistics show that murders and other violent crimes rose in Massachusetts under former Gov. Mitt Romney, while plummeting in many parts of the country, a fact that could haunt the ex-governor on the presidential trail.

The newly released figures show that murders were up 7.5 percent in the Bay State and 25 percent in Boston from 2002 to 2006 while Romney was governor.

From 2005 to 2006 – most of which Romney spent out-of-state campaigning – murders were up 4.5 percent in Massachusetts, outpacing the national increase of 1.8 percent.

Giuliani is correct that there were more murders under Romney. Romney would have been correct in saying that the overall crime rate went down, but his claim that violent crimes were reduced doesn’t hold up.