On last night's show, Rachel talked at some length about a subject I follow with great interest: Mitt Romney's habit of saying things that aren't true. Summarizing some of yesterday's big political headlines, Rachel explained, "Just like Mitt Romney lied in his very first ad, in a really blunt, schoolyard kind of way. They're now lying in the new ad that is about Solyndra and Mitt Romney is lying about it personally out of his face at his big campaign stunt today.
That was a rhetorical question, of course, but the answer is obviously yes, big, blatant lies from a major party presidential nominee do deserve some little follow up. It's one of the reasons I'm glad to present the 20th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.Rachel concluded, "Even in this nuts day in American politics, don't you think that candidate telling a big, blatant lie in the middle of the news cycle deserves a little follow up?"
1. At a campaign stop in Craig, Colorado, this week, Romney argued, "The president, when he got elected, he said, look, 'I'm going to go out and borrow $787 billion and I'll keep unemployment below 8 percent.'"
Romney says this just about every day. It's not true.
2. In the same speech, Romney said Obama can't "blame Congress" for economic problems: "Remember that he had a supermajority in both the House and the Senate in his own party for his first two years."
Putting aside the fact that the current Congress is more relevant, the truth is Democrats did not have a supermajority for the vast majority of Obama's first two years.
3. Romney also argued, "That stimulus he put in place, it didn't help private sector jobs; it helped preserve government jobs."
That's the exact opposite of reality.
4. He went on to say about Obama, "He promised when he was running for office he was going to cut the deficit in half. He's more than doubled it."
I don't know how Romney defines "double," but 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.
5. Romney also argued, "There was an effort to impose unions on businesses and employees that didn't want them by having quickie elections and taking away the right to a secret ballot. Do you think imposing unions where employees don't want them is helping create jobs in this country?"
Putting aside the fact that he's mischaracterizing what card-check is, Romney is making it sound as if the policy passed and is hurting the economy. It never became law.
6. Romney went on to say, "You see, when businesses have lower taxes, they're able to invest in their future, put people back to work. Do you think President Obama's tax increases will add jobs in America?"
President Obama has not increased taxes; he's lowered them. Government spending, taxes, and deficits are all lower today than when Obama took office.
7. On energy, Romney argued, "[Obama] says he's for all of the above when it comes for energy. You heard that. And yet he's made it harder to get coal out of the ground. He's made it harder to get natural gas out of the ground. He's made it harder to get oil out of the ground."
In reality, coal production is up; we have more natural gas than we know what to do with; and oil production is up. Obama's support for "all of the above" continues.
8. On spending, Romney added, "The one place we should have shut back -- or cut back -- was on government jobs."
That's the place the nation has been cutting back.
9. On his own budget plans, Romney said, "I think it's immoral for us to pass on those burdens to our kids. If I'm president, I'll go after that deficit and get America on track to a balanced budget."
That's plainly false. 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.
10. Romney told Fox News this week that President Obama is waging "a personal attack campaign," adding, "He's going after me as an individual."
To date, the Romney hasn't been able to point to any examples of Obama making a personal attack against Romney unrelated to substantive issues.
11. In an attack on teachers' unions, Romney said, " Their attitude was memorably expressed by a longtime president of the American Federation of Teachers: He said, quote, 'When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of children.' "
If we're being generous, we might call a claim like this "unsubstantiated." If we're being candid, a better description would be "apocryphal nonsense."
12. Romney began arguing this week that "80 percent" of the companies Bain Capital invested in grew and created jobs.
Nice try, but no.
13. In Las Vegas, Romney told a crowd, "He came into the White House and told people not to bother to go out to Las Vegas for conventions or meetings. That sure as heck didn't help did it?"
No, Obama actually said, in reference to Wall Street recklessness, "You are not going to be able to give out these big bonuses until you pay taxpayers back. You can't get corporate jets. You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime. There's got to be some accountability and some responsibility."
14. In the same speech, Romney said "When the president proposes, as he has, raising the personal income tax rates took from 35% at the margin to 40%, it means less money for people [who own small businesses]."
In reality, Obama has cut taxes on small businesses, and raising the top income tax rate would not adversely affect small businesses, no matter how often Republicans argue to the contrary.
15. In an attack ad going after federal loan guarantees for energy companies, Romney claimed, "The Inspector General said contracts were steered to 'friends and family.'"
That's ridiculously misleading.
16. The Romney campaign argued this week that it focuses exclusively on substantive issues, regardless of passing distractions: "Every time the president trying to get off to something different like the attack of Governor Romney because of his dogs or the attack on Mrs. Romney we keep going back to what's important."
Putting aside the fact that neither Obama nor his campaign "attacked" Ann Romney, the truth is, the Romney campaign has obsessed endlessly over these side stories.
17. Romney told Fox News this week that voters are still getting to know "a new candidate like myself."
Romney has been running for president, nearly non-stop, for six years. He's anything but "new."
18. Romney told CBS News yesterday, "[D]omestically, it's hard to call what, now, 39, 40 months of unemployment above 8% a success when even he said by now, it would be in the 6% range."
That's a new twist on an old lie (see above), but it's still wrong.
The estimable Jamelle Bouie, clearly frustrated with Romney's resistance to honesty and the media's coverage of the problem, asked a fair question this week: "What does Romney need to do to receive any scrutiny for the mendacity that has defined his quest for the presidency?"
I wish I had a good answer to that question, but it's worth noting that a growing number of observers are at least noticing. Eugene Robinson explained this week, "There are those who tell the truth. There are those who distort the truth. And then there's Mitt Romney.... Not to put too fine a point on it, he lies. Quite a bit."
After compiling these last 20 installments, I'm hard pressed to disagree.