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(Politico) — Gov. Mitt Romney lobbied the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s in 2004 to raise his state’s credit rating in part because Massachusetts had raised taxes during an economic downturn two years earlier.
The claim was part of a presentation to the ratings agency obtained by POLITICO under a state freedom of information law from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance. The Nov. 4 presentation, stamped “confidential,” helped persuade S&P to raise the state’s grade and handed Romney the perfect talking point for last week’s humiliating national downgrade by the same agency.
“When I was governor, S&P rewarded Massachusetts with a credit rating upgrade for our sound fiscal management and the underlying strength of our economy,” Romney boasted. “That didn’t happen by accident. The president’s failure to put the nation’s fiscal and economic house in order has caused a massive loss of confidence that resulted in an embarrassing downgrade.”. . .
Romney’s spokesman then and now, Eric Fehrnstrom, said he wasn’t sure whether Romney was present, and current Massachusetts officials were unable immediately to say, though it would be typical for the executive to star at such a high-stakes meeting.
And Romney said in a radio interview Tuesday that he was proud of his personal involvement in the process, in contrast to Obama. “The president really ought to personally sit down and meet with S&P. I did that when I was governor; I met with the ratings agencies and talked about our future and tried to instill confidence in our future because, look, how they rate our debt and how they rate our future as a nation will affect the interest costs that we end up paying and will affect homeowners and borrowers all over the country,” he told the San Diego station KCBQ.