WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says a claim by Mitt Romney about disproportionate job losses by women during the Obama administration is "misleading and ridiculous."
Romney said last week that 92.3 percent of jobs lost since President Barack Obama took office were held by women. He said the "real war on women is being waged by the president's failed economic policies."
While the statistic is accurate, the recession began 13 months before Obama took office. Men have lost more jobs overall during the downturn — 3.4 million, compared with 1.8 million lost by women.
Geithner noted that manufacturing and construction job losses were heavy in the early days of the recession, while professions with more women, such as teaching, were hurt later.
Geithner spoke Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." He also appeared on the ABC and NBC Sunday interview programs. He took aim at Republican criticism of the administration's economic record, providing a preview of the line of attack the administration will pursue in the upcoming presidential campaign.
Geithner said many of the president's efforts to help the economy were strongly opposed by Republicans in Congress. Republicans opposed stimulus spending, bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler and the Dodd-Frank Act that overhauled financial regulations.
"If he'd had more support from his opponents in Congress, then we could have got more things passed that would have put more people back to work more quickly," Geithner said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
Geithner was also critical of Republican efforts last summer to use the debate over raising the debt ceiling as leverage to force greater deficit reductions. He said that battle, by raising the possibility of a default on the nation's debt obligations, shook consumer and business confidence at a fragile time for the economy.
"It was very damaging, completely unnecessary and very avoidable," Geithner said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Geithner said he believes that lawmakers will be able to come together in a lame-duck session after the November elections and reach a deal on expiring Bush-era tax cuts and raising the debt ceiling again.
Martin Crutsinger in Washington contributed to this report.