Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XXXIV
By Steve BenenFri Sep 14, 2012 2:26 PM EDT
In an interview aired this morning with George Stephanopoulos, the host told Mitt Romney that, despite his claims to the contrary, the Obama administration never showed sympathy for attackers in Egypt and Libya. How did the candidate explain the discrepancy? He didn't -- Romney dodged the question and let the lie stand.
Towards the end of the interview, however, Romney looked ahead to the upcoming debates and said he'll have a challenge to deal with: "[T]he president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren't true."
There's no sense of shame and no sense of irony.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll out today shows a plurality of Americans believes the Obama campaign is saying things "it believes to be true" rather than "intentionally misleading people." On the other hand, a plurality of Americans believes the opposite about the Romney campaign.
If anyone's wondering why the public has this impression, consider the 34th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. At a campaign event in Virginia yesterday, Romney said he "couldn't believe" the president said "if you have a business you didn't build it, someone else did that."
Of course he couldn't believe it -- that's not even close to being true.
2. On Wednesday morning, Romney accused Obama administration officials of issuing an "apology for American values."
That never happened.
3. Romney also said, in response to violence in Libya and Egypt, that "the Obama administration's first response" to the violence was to "sympathize with those who waged the attacks."
Not in this reality.
4. As part of the same statement, Romney also said that the Cairo Embassy "put out a statement after their grounds had been breached. Protesters were inside the grounds. They reiterated that statement after the breach."
Nope, that's not true, either.
5. Pressed by reporters, Romney added, "I'm not going to take hypotheticals about what would have been known what and so forth. I, we responded last night to the events that happened in Egypt."
That's an understandable attempt to cover up the truth, but Romney's statement referred to"attacks on our diplomatic missions," not just Egypt.
6. In a Spanish-language television ad, Romney claims "Obama has cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare to pay for Obamacare."
7. In the same ad, Romney says, apparently to Latino seniors, "The money we have paid to guarantee our health care will be used for a new program that's not for us."
The Affordable Care Act includes extensive new benefits for seniors and to suggest otherwise is dishonest.
8. The ad goes on to say Romney's plan "strengthens" Medicare "for future generations."
That's the exact opposite of the truth. Romney's plan and weakens the system's finances for future generations.
9. In a speech at the National Guard Association Convention in Reno, Nevada, Romney said, "Like you, I remember where I was on September 11th. I was originally planning to be in Battery Park in New York City, not far from the World Trade Center itself. But as it turned out, I was in Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress about preparations for the security of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games. A colleague and I were working in the office we had in the Ronald Reagan Building. It was just a few blocks from the White House. Someone rushed into our office and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center."
Well, not exactly. In his 2002 memoir, Romney offered a different version of events..
10. In the same speech, Romney added, "With less than two months to go before Election Day, I would normally speak to a gathering like this about the differences between me and my opponent's plans for military, and for our national security. There is a time and place for that. But this day is not that."
If Romney believed that, he wouldn't have accused the Obama administration, on 9/11, of "sympathizing" with Libyan thugs who killed four Americans in Libya.
11. In a speech in Mansfield, Ohio, Romney boasted, "If I'm president of the United States, when and if I become president of the United States, I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party."
This is part of a larger attack suggesting Obama took the word "God" out of the Democratic Party platform. That's the opposite of what happened -- Obama put the reference back into his party's platform.
12. In the same speech, Romney added, "It's hard for me to understand how the president would have as his intention not only reducing our military through cuts in his budget, but also proceeding with a sequestration program will which cost about a trillion dollars for our military over the coming decade."
That's two falsehoods in one. First, the sequester would cut about $500 billion from the military budget, not $1 trillion. Second, Romney's not only lying, he's also condemning defense cutscrafted by his own party and endorsed by his own running mate.
13. In the next breath, Romney claimed, "This sequestration idea emanated from the White House."
No, it didn't. This sequestration idea emanated from House Republicans.
14. Romney went on to say the president "does not have a [jobs] plan."
Romney doesn't have to like the American Jobs Act, but he shouldn't get away with brazenly lying about its existence.
15. In the same remarks, Romney said in reference to the deficit, "[I]f we keep on spending a trillion dollars more every year than we take in, that's where we're headed [on the road to Greece]."
That's painfully untrue.
16. Romney also boasted, "I will get us on track to a balanced budget."
No, he won't. Romney says his plan "can't be scored," but independent budget analysts have found his agenda would make the deficit bigger, not smaller, and add trillions to the national debt.
17. Romney went on to argue, "President Obama wants to raise taxes on small business."
In reality, Obama has repeatedly cut taxes on small businesses -- by some counts, 18 times -- and if given a second term, his tax plan would have no effect on 97% of small businesses.
18. In an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier, Romney said of Obama, "He'd create more jobs, we don't have new jobs in America."
Sure we do.
19. Romney added, "We'd see new businesses start up, as a matter of fact, for the 30-year low in business startups."
This still isn't true.
20. Romney also told Baier that Obama has "doubled" the deficit.
Maybe Romney doesn't know what "double" means. The deficit on Obama's first day was $1.3 trillion. Last year, it was also $1.3 trillion. This year, it's projected to be $1.1 trillion. When he says the president "more than doubled" the deficit, as he has many times, Romney's lying.
21. Romney added, "I'm very specific as to what I'll do to get the economy going."
I'd love to fact-check this one, but I'm too busy laughing hysterically and can't see the keyboard.
22. Romney also said, "[W]hen this president was elected, he and his team announced to the American people that by now we'd have 5.4 percent unemployment.... He put it out for the American people."
This never happened.
23. Referencing the president's rescue of the American auto industry, Romney told Baier, "[T]he president took the car companies into bankruptcy. They went in bankruptcy exactly as I proposed."
Romney can take credit for Obama's policy, or he can condemn Obama's policy, but to do both is obviously dishonest (and more than a little ridiculous).
24. At a campaign event in Orange City, Iowa, Romney vowed, "I know how to get the private sector to create 12 million new jobs. I know what it's going to take to do that."
Putting aside the pesky detail that Romney doesn't actually have a specific jobs plan, the fact remains that if we do nothing, we're on track to create 12 million new American jobs over the next four years anyway.
25. In the same speech, Romney claimed Obama "is the first since Roosevelt, FDR, not to seek and receive trade promotion authority, to be able to work out new trade deals with other nations."
Obama finalized three separate trade deals in his first term: Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Why Romney keeps repeating this lie is a mystery.
26. Romney went on to argue, "The Chamber of Commerce carried out a survey. They asked businesses all over America, 'What's the impact of a particular piece of legislation?' And the people came back, 75 percent of the people surveyed said, 'That piece of legislation keeps us from hiring people.' That legislation we have to get rid of is known as 'ObamaCare,' and I'm going to get rid of it."
The "survey" is a joke. The Chamber, a pro-Republican lobbying institution heavily invested in helping Romney, put up an unscientific online survey. Treating this as a legitimate poll of businesses is fundamentally dishonest.
27. On health care, Romney said, "[W]e have to make sure that people who have pre-existing conditions are able to get insured."
There's nothing even remotely true about this.
28. Romney went on to say that voters are going to soon ask themselves, "Do I want a president that's going to continue the policies that he put in place over the last four years, that led to record levels of unemployment?"
Unemployment peaked at 10% a few years ago. We haven't seen "record levels of unemployment" in generations, and the fact that Romney's willing to repeat such obvious falsehoods is disconcerting.
29. Romney added, "The other party will promise you lots of free stuff. But then ask them, how are they paying for it? And they'll say, 'Oh, we're borrowing money from China to do that.'"
First, Democrats actually intend to raise taxes on millionaires to "do that." Second, the implication here is that U.S. debt is financed by the Chinese, but this isn't true -- China only holds about 8% of the nation's debt.
30. At a media availability in Sioux City, Iowa, Romney said, if elected, he'll be "cracking down on China, going after China for currency manipulation, that's something neither President Bush nor President Obama has done."
Either Romney doesn't keep up on current events or he's not telling the truth.
31. On "Meet the Press," Romney told David Gregory that, in his tax plan, "we don't lower taxes on high income people. We're not going to have high income people pay less of the tax burden than they pay today. That's not what's going to happen."
That's extremely misleading. Romney's plan, according to independent analysis, will sharply reduce taxes for the wealthy.
32. In the same interview, Romney added, "I'm not going to increase the tax burden on middle income families."
There's ample evidence to the contrary.
33. Romney went on to say, "I've demonstrated that I have the capacity to balance budgets. I balanced them four years in a row in Massachusetts."
Actually, Romney left his successor with a deficit.
34. Romney added, "I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place."
Just one day later, Romney said he is going to get rid of all of health care reform.
35. On Medicare, Romney insisted "there's no change for anyone who's retired or is nearing retirement."
That's demonstrably wrong. Under Romney's policy, the cost of prescription drug prices and preventive care for seniors would go up immediately -- for current and future retirees.
36. On foreign policy, Romney argued that the day before his convention speech, "I went to the American Legion and spoke with our veterans there and described my policy as it relates to Afghanistan and other foreign policy and our military."
I wish he were telling the truth about this. He's not.