Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XXXV
By Steve BenenFri Sep 21, 2012 2:32 PM EDT
I thought many months ago that it was at least possible that Mitt Romney would be more cautious about telling falsehoods as the election drew closer. After all, candidates can get away with more in, say, April than in September -- there's far more scrutiny now.
Alas, Romney seems unfazed, both by the calendar and by life under a microscope -- he keeps repeating falsehoods without any real concern for consequences. In case there were any doubts about his worst habit, consider the 35th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. At an event in Sarasota yesterday, Romney said, in reference to President Obama's comments about engaged citizens changing politics, "The president today threw in the white flag of surrender again."
That's not only a lie; it's also one of the dumbest things Romney has ever said in public.
2. At a Univision town-hall event in Miami, Romney said he opposes an economic model in which we "take from some to give to others."
Actually, Romney's preferred budget plan redistributes wealth at a level unseen in modern American history.
3. Romney also said, several times, "[T]his is a campaign about the 100 percent.... My campaign is about the 100 percent of America."
I seem to recall watching a video in which Romney said it's not his "job" to "worry about" 47 percent of the population.
4. At the same event, Romney boasted, "When I was governor of my state, the state of Massachusetts ... we brought unemployment down to 4.7 percent."
Well, in reality, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts dropped because so many people dropped out of the state's workforce. The fact of the matter is Massachusetts' job creation record during Romney's term was "one of the worst in the country," ranking 47th out of 50 states.
5. In response to a student's question about federal aid, Romney said, "We're going to continue a Pell Grant program.... So I care. I care about your education and helping people of modest means get a good education and we'll continue a Pell Grant program."
That's not what he said during the primaries.
6. On health care, Romney said at the same forum, "The government is going to ultimately have a board that tells you what kind of care you can receive."
This is in apparent reference to the Independent Payments Advisory Board (IPAB), and what Romney's saying isn't even close to being accurate.
7. In a Fox News interview, Romney said, "I have got great support from seniors, because they are unhappy with the fact that President Obama's Obamacare cuts Medicare by $716 billion."
8. In the same interview, Romney insisted that the Affordable Care Act "tells us what kind of health insurance we have to have."
As Romney surely knows -- his state-based policy works the same way -- the whole point of the Affordable Care Act is to provide consumers with choices of private plans, made available through regulated exchanges. Giving people choices and telling people "what kind of health insurance we have to have" are opposites.
9. Asked about his affiliation with Kris Koback, Romney said this week, "He may well be part of a policy team [but] I have not met with him yet."
As his campaign later admitted, this wasn't true.
10. Speaking to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber Of Commerc this week, Romney said, "The administration promised us that its policies would have brought unemployment down to 5.4% by now."
That never happened.
11. Romney added, "[M]y Plan for a Stronger Middle Class will create 12 million jobs by the end of my first term."
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.
12. In the same speech, Romney said, "President Obama has not initiated a single new trade agreement with Latin America. I will."
He's trying to slice the truth in a way that misleads. In reality, Obama finalized three separate trade deals in his first term: Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.
13. In reference to China, Romney argued, "President Obama may think that announcing new trade cases less than two months from Election Day will distract from his record, but the American businesses and workers struggling on an uneven playing field know better."
This just isn't true. Obama just didn't bring a new case at the WTO against China "less than two months from Election Day," he's been bringing these cases throughout his term.
14. Romney also said, "Many Hispanics have sacrificed greatly to help build our country and our economy, and to leave for their children a brighter future. Today, those sacrifices are being put at risk by a president who cannot stop spending."
Government spending is down, not up, under President Obama.
15. Romney went on to boast, "I know how to balance budgets. We balanced our budget in my business, at the Olympics, and every year in my state."
He balanced his budget at the Olympics thanks to a taxpayer bailout, and in Massachusetts, Romney left his successor with a deficit.
16. On federal spending, Romney said, "[M]y test is this: is the program so critical that it is worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?"
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.
17. Romney added, "The president has put us on the road to Greece."
That's painfully untrue.
18. Romney also argued, "No wonder business start-ups are at a 30-year low."
This still isn't true.
19. Romney went on to say Obama "plans to raise the federal income tax on small business even more."
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.
20. Referencing the Affordable Care Act, Romney said, "The Chamber of Commerce surveyed 1,300 of its members. It found that three-quarters of them said they are less likely to hire people because of Obamacare."
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.
21. Romeny added, "Obamacare ... is already depressing job creation."
There's literally no evidence to support this, but let's also note that Romney created a nearly identical policy at the state level, and it didn't depress job creation at all.
22. On immigration policy, Romney said, "Despite his party having majorities in both houses of Congress, the president never even offered up a bill."
First, the president has endorsed all kinds of immigration bills. Second, having majorities in both chambers doesn't change the fact that Senate Republican filibusters blocked immigration policymaking.
23. In his weekly podcast, Romney said, "President Obama has imposed major new federal regulations at an unprecedented rate."
Well, it depends on what Romney means by "unprecedented." He may be surprised to learn that Obama approved fewer regulations in his first three years in office than Bush did in his first three years.
24. At a campaign event in Painesville, Ohio, Romney suggested it's Obama's fault that the price of "gasoline has doubled."
To call this comically misleading would be an understatement.
25. In the same speech, "I've got a [jobs] plan, all right. Unlike the president, I have a plan."
Romney doesn't have to like the American Jobs Act, but he shouldn't get away with brazenly lying about its existence.
26. Romney also argued, "The president believes in having a government put money out into companies. He put $90 billion into solar and wind, and green-energy companies. He's picking winners and losers.... He doesn't understand that the market where free people pursuing dreams and working to take their ideas to the marketplace, that's what makes America go; not a government that tries to pick investments, and guide the market for us."
What an interesting choice of misleading words. Because whether he likes it or not, if Obama "doesn't understand" free people in a free market, then Romney "doesn't understand" this, either.
27. Mitt Romney says "redistribution" has "never been a characteristic of America."
Redistribution has always been a characteristic of America.
28. In an ad unveiled by his campaign this week, Romney argues, "Dear Daughter. Welcome to America. Your share of Obama's debt is over $50,000."
That's only true if you attribute Bush's debts to Obama, which is ridiculous.