Desperate for a laugh line during a campaign stop in Iowa and looking for an easy mark, he said this: "Entrepreneurs and business people around the world and here at home think that at some point America is going to become like Greece or like Spain or Italy ... or like California -- just kidding about that one, in some ways." Can't he do better than that? Guess not - he has zero chance of taking California in November and much of the Republican base considers the state one step from Satan, so why not? Problem is, he doesn't know what he's talking about - comparing California to those European countries is, well, absurd, as the Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann points out. Weissman contacted Standard & Poor's analyst Gabriel Petek, who prepared several charts that compare the state to Greece, Italy and Spain. My favorites are real GDP growth and debt as a percentage of GDP.
*California is not alone. From NY magazine:
While not exactly an Olympic-sized gaffe, Mitt Romney managed to lay the groundwork for some potential issues with another major United States ally. During his speech at a Thursday fund-raiser, the Republican candidate remarked, "We are not Japan. We are not going to be a nation that suffers in decline and distress for a decade or a century." As Foreign Policy's The Cable points out, the line could be interpreted as "needlessly insulting the face-conscious Japanese," particularly since Japan analysts (Japanalysts?) say the assertion that the country has been in decline for a century "isn't a fair characterization," considering the immense economic strides the country made following World War II.