Geithner: Romney's statements on women "misleading and ridiculous"

Bob Schieffer interviews Timothy Geithner for the Sunday, April 15th edition of "Face the Nation"
Photo for CBS News by: Mary Calvert

Updated 10:30 a.m. ET

(CBS News) Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pushed back on Mitt Romney's statements that women made up almost all jobs lost during the Obama presidency.

"It's misleading and ridiculous," Geithner said on CBS News' "Face the Nation." "It's just a political moment."

On the campaign trail, Romney attempted to turn the discussion to women and the economy, blaming President Obama for hurting women's checkbooks.

At campaign events, Romney repeatedly said the president's policies are waging "the real war on women," pointing to a statistic that women make up 92.3 percent of jobs lost since Mr. Obama took office.

In response to questions by host Bob Schieffer, Geithner said "you have to look at the whole duration of the recession.

"The recession started in 2008... It was already a year in the making before President Obama came into office," Geithner said, noting that men lost the most jobs at the beginning of the recession, due to construction and manufacturing job loss.

Geithner admitted that the second part of the recession saw more female job losses, because of teacher and education layoffs due to state budget cutbacks.

"Basically you're saying that [Romney] is right?" Schieffer asked.

To that, Geithner responded: "It's a meaningless way to look at the basic contours of the economy in that period of time, again because it starts artificially at a time when the President came into office and the crisis was still building momentum."

Romney's campaign pushed back: "If they move the starting point to the beginning of their so-called recovery, they will find women have benefited from less than one-eighth of the meager job creation," spokesperson Andrea Saul wrote in an email. "The President should stop making excuses for his failures - he is entitled to his own spin but not his own facts."

As for the "Buffett Rule," which would impose at least a 30-percent tax on those earning more than $1 million per year, Geithner said it is a "balanced" way to grow the economy.

"We have to get the economy growing, repair the damage from the crisis, get more people back to work," Geithner said. "And we've got to make sure we put in place a balanced plan to bring down our long-term deficits."

Fueling critics' fire who oppose the tax increase, Geithner noted that the amount raised for the federal treasury would be "modest." However, he said that extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush-era tax cuts would add to the deficit.

"We just can't afford to borrow to do it anymore, and we have to preserve room (for) these other priorities," Geithner said. "And as part of that, again, we're going to propose to raise a modest amount of additional revenue from the most fortunate Americans."

The White House said earlier this week that the "Buffett Rule" would raise $47 billion.

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