Mitt Romney often assails “career politicians,” contrasting his career in private business with the political career of his chief rival Rick Perry.

Career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don't know how to get us out,” Romney said on August 30 in a speech in Perry’s home state of Texas. “Unlike career politicians who've never met a payroll,” he wrote in his September 6 op-ed in USA Today, “I know why jobs come and go.” The next day at the GOP debate, Romney said that career politics is a “fine profession,” but that his own experience in the private sector prepares him better for the presidency.

Romney’s spinners revisited the theme after Thursday night’s debate in Orlando. “Rick Perry is very similar to President Obama in that neither one has the skills to lead on the economy,” said Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. “Obama, like Rick Perry, spent his career in politics and government. That’s different than Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney spent 25 years in the private economy, and that’s where he’s developed this unique set of skills that will allow him to lead on jobs and the economy.”

But isn’t a career in politics what Romney has been seeking since 1994, when he unsuccessfully ran against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate? Fehrnstrom demurred.

“We don’t live in a world where there’s an alternative set of facts,” Ferhnstrom said. “We live with the reality that we actually have. The reality is that Mitt Romney has spent 25 years in the private sector. He did spend four years as the governor of the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts], but that’s the extent of his government service.”

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