Romney's 'On the Road to Greece' from the Second Presidential Debate

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Marco Werman: I'm Marco Werman and this is The World. Mitt Romney has been spending a lot of time attacking President Obama's economic record. During last night's debate the republican candidate said that four more years of Mr. Obama would put America on the road to Greece. It was Romney's second brief nod to Europe's economic woes. In the first debate he said he didn't want America to go down the path to Spain. The World's Clark Boyd has been reporting on the financial crisis in Europe for the past two years. And Clark, first Spain, now Greece, I remember after the first debate Spaniards reacted pretty negatively to Mitt Romney's remarks. How about the Greeks?

Clark Boyd: Well, Marco, there was a little bit of reaction last night on Twitter. I was following things and there were a couple of Greek bloggers that I follow. One of them said hey, I'm a little bit offended that he made that remark about Greece. And another one used it as an opportunity to kind of make a joke, basically putting it in terms of the ongoing negotiations that Greece is having with other countries in Europe about getting bailout money, you know, saying this is a chance for us to say hey, the Greeks will do anything you want us to to make you want to get on the road to Greece.

Werman: Sounds a bit like bumper sticker politics that China is used for—it does lead me to ask you though, Clark, just where is the Greek economy headed these days? I mean things have seemed pretty quietly lately and the big headline today is that Greece's state television censored a gay kiss in their broadcast of Downton Abbey. So does that mean things are returning to if not normal, semi stable?

Boyd: Well, I should've mentioned, Marco, that one of the reasons that you're not seeing a lot of reaction from Greece today on this particular thing, and I pinged a few of my contacts there…they were saying well, you know, you have to understand all the journalists are on strike today.

Werman: No comment.

Boyd: So there's no comment about much of anything. And all of this is of course, you know, are things getting back to normal? And no, things aren't back to normal at all in Greece. Things are still very, very bad there. They're are ongoing negotiations with the so-called Troika, which is the EU with the IMF and the European Central Bank to try to get this next round of bailout funds. Those talks came to an impasse earlier this week, they seem to be back on, but they're still a long way to go. You know, Greece is in its fifth year of recession now. Unemployment is well over 25%. It's a grim situation right now.

Werman: And what about the rest of Europe?

Boyd: Well, the rest of Europe is still trying to figure out what to do. Again, this is you know, as we keep reporting on this story, things get bad, Eurozone leaders react to it, they try and do some big high profile announcement that says Europe's financial problems have been solved. And then three months later all the problems are back and countries are at lager heads again about what to do about it.

Werman: So aside from these pro asides in the debates, I mean why do you think the two main US candidates have hardly mentioned Europe or the economic crisis there. Surely what happens over there affects things here, they know that.

Boyd: That's one of the frustrating things about this story, Marco, is that you keep trying to hammer home you know, Europe is still America's biggest trading partner. What happens there really does have a very major impact on the economy here. I think that in the case of Mitt Romney he's you know, using those examples. They're in everyone's mind right now—Spain, Greece, as sort of saying we don't want America to turn into that. And I think form the Obama camp what you're hearing is you know what, it's probably just best not to touch this, we'd like this entire sort of economic, financial instability to stay quiet, at least until after the election.

Werman: The World's Clark Boyd, thank you for the update.

Boyd: You're welcome, Marco.