Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XX
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.

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?"
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.
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.

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XIX


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Campaigning in Iowa yesterday, President Obama reflected on some of Mitt Romney's recent speeches, including last week's remarks in Iowa. "I know Governor Romney came to Des Moines last week; warned about a 'prairie fire of debt,'" Obama said. "But he left out some facts. His speech was more like a cow pie of distortion. I don't know whose record he twisted the most -- mine or his."
It was a rhetorical point, of course, but when it comes to Romney's falsehoods, I'm not sure whose record he twists more, either. Maybe you can help me decide by taking a look at the 19th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. In an interview with Mark Halperin, Romney argued about President Obama, "Did he hold unemployment below 8%? It's been, what, 39 months now. That hasn't happened. He promised it would happen by virtue of his stimulus."
As Romney surely knows by now, that's simply not true.
2. In the same interview, Romney asked, "Are people happy with ... the level of foreclosures?"
Romney was trying to attack the administration, but he's on record supporting more foreclosures, making this, at a minimum, wildly misleading.
3. Romney added, in reference to the president, " Look at him right now. He just doesn't have a clue what to do to get this economy going. I do."
Actually, Obama's jobs agenda, unveiled in September, included specific policy proposals that Romney had previously endorsed. If the president "doesn't have a clue," then Romney doesn't have a clue.
4. Romney went on to say, "I actually lay out a plan to get us to a balanced budget within eight years."
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.
5. Romney also argued, in the context of talking about budget savings, "I'm going to take action immediately by eliminating programs like Obamacare, which become more and more expensive down the road -- by eliminating them, we get to a balanced budget."
He's lying. In fact, this is the polar opposite of the truth -- Obamacare's savings become greater in future years, and killing the law makes it harder to balance the budget.
6. Romney said, in addressing likely budget cuts, " I'd like my grandkids to be able to watch PBS. But I'm not willing to borrow money from China."
The implication here is that U.S. debt is financed by the Chinese. This isn't true -- China only holds about 8% of the nation's debt.
7. On taxes, Romney argued, "I'm not looking to lower the tax burden paid by the highest-income Americans. That's a fundamental principle."
That's a fundamental falsehood. Romney's plan slashes taxes on the wealthy.
8. On a related note, he added, "I'm looking, if there's any break at all, the break will go to middle-income Americans that have been most hurt by the qObama economy."
In reality, it's the rich, not the middle class, that primarily benefits from Romney's tax plan.
9. In a speech in Washington, Romney insisted, "President Obama has decided to attack success."
The Romney campaign has never been able to point to a single credible example of Obama attacking success.
10. In the same speech, Romney added, "When the President took office ... he faced a spending crisis. It's only gotten worse."
There is no universe in which this is even close to being true.
11. In making the case against Obama's student-loan reforms, the Romney campaign said it intends to "reverse President Obama's nationalization of the student loan market."
This is demonstrably false -- the market wasn't nationalized. Since all kinds of private-sector banks still make all kinds of student loans, the argument doesn't even make sense.
12. Romney told Fox News that "it certainly sounds like" the president is, as Rush Limbaugh put it, "running against capitalism." Romney added, "There's no question but that he's attacking capitalism."
No sensible person could possibly believe this is true, and neither Romney nor his aides have ever provided an example of the president attacking capitalism. Obama routinely does the opposite.
13. Romney argued in an op-ed that Obama "signed into law a budget scheme that threatens to saddle the U.S. military with nearly $1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years," which the president's own Defense Secretary criticized.
That's not even close to being accurate.
14. Referencing Noam Scheiber's book, The Escape Artists, Romney argued, "In this book, [White House officials] point out that they said the American people will forget how long the recovery took. So that means they went into this knowing that when they passed Obamacare, it was going to make life harder for the American people."
That's not really what the book says, and it's not what the president's team argued.
15. Romney boasted this week, in a rare reference to his one term as governor, "[W]e didn't just slow the rate of growth of our government, we actually cut it."
No, you didn't.
16. The Romney campaign also argued this week that Romney created "well in excess of 100,000" jobs as an executive at Bain Capital.
You've got to be kidding me.

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XVIII
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Back in February, Paul Krugman argued that Mitt Romney is "running a campaign of almost pathological dishonesty." Was this an intemperate analysis? Perhaps. Three months later, does it seem fair? Put it this way: take a look at the 18th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. Romney promised in a speech this week, "I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno."
Given that his stated agenda would add trillions to the debt, and Romney refuses to say how he'd pay for his tax cuts and increased Defense spending, the claim seems pretty misleading.
2. Romney claimed in the same speech that Obama has "bailed out the public-sector."
I really wish that were true. It's not.
3. Romney also argued that Obama has "added almost as much debt as all the prior presidents combined."
That's not even close to being true.
4. Romney insisted that the national debt is responsible for "the most tepid recovery in modern history."
That's ridiculously false. If the debt were holding back the economy, we'd have high interest rates and high inflation. We have the opposite.
5. Romney also said the national debt is the reason "half of the kids graduating from college can't find a job that uses their skills."
There is no universe in which this is true (or really, even coherent).
6. On the Recovery Act, Romney said, "President Obama started out with a near trillion-dollar stimulus package -- the biggest, most careless one-time expenditure by the federal government in history. And remember this: the stimulus wasn't just wasted -- it was borrowed and wasted."
The Recovery Act rescued the economy. Romney doesn't have to like it, but he shouldn't lie about it.
7. Romney added, equating the debt with a prairie fire, Obama "fed the fire. He has spent more and borrowed more."
That's false, too.
8. Referencing the Affordable Care Act, Romney argued, "Then there was Obamacare. Even now nobody knows what it will actually cost."
"Nobody" except the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and every budget expert with access to a calculator.
9. Romney argued that the Affordable Care Act is a "massive, European-style entitlement."
No, it's not. Most of Europe has socialized or government-run health care systems. Obamacare doesn't resemble France; it resembles Massachusetts' Romneycare.
10. Romney also insisted Americans "can't afford" the health-care reform law.
Actually, the ACA lowers the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.
11. Romney argued, "When you add up his policies, this president has increased the national debt by five trillion dollars."
That's an obvious lie. It's not Obama's policies that are driving the debt.
12. Romney claimed that more of the economy is being "absorbed ... into government."
That's the opposite of the truth.
13. Romney argued, "Medicare and Social Security are also easy to demagogue, and I expect the president to continue doing that in this campaign."
Romney has said several hundred times that Obama cut $500 billion from Medicare and is the only president to ever cut Medicare benefits. Neither is true, but both are excellent examples of demagoguery.
14. On gay adoption, Romney said "all states but one allow gay adoption."
That's not even close to being true.
15. The Romney campaign said of Obama, "He promised he would cut the debt, and he has not done that."
Obama made no such promise. He promised to cut the deficit, not the debt -- presidential campaigns really should know the difference if it's going to talk about these issues -- and Obama has cut the deficit.
16. Romney said of his controversial private-sector background, "We were able to help create over 100,000 jobs."
This is one of the more important lies Romney will tell this year.
17. On the president's watch, about 100,000 jobs were lost in the auto industry and auto dealers and auto manufacturers, so he's hardly one to point a finger."
First, the comparison is absurd. Second, the claim about the auto industry is demonstrably ridiculous.
18. On GST Steel, Romney said of his critics, "They said, 'Oh, gosh, Governor Romney at Bain Capital closed down a steel factory.' But their problem, of course, is that the steel factory closed down two years after I left Bain Capital. I was no longer there, so that's hardly something which is on my watch."
Actually, Romney retained full, sole ownership of the firm at the time GST collapsed.
19. Romney's campaign said yesterday that it's "clear" that the Obama campaign "is running a campaign of character assassination."
Asked for an example of Obama engaging in character assassination, the Romney campaign so far hasn't come up with anything.
I continue to think about something Fox News' Brit Hume said a few months ago. Reflecting on Romney's flip-flops, said, "You're only allowed a certain number of flips before people begin to doubt your character."
I'm curious -- is Romney also allowed a certain number of falsehoods before people begin to doubt his character? And if so, what is that number?
Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XVII
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As the 2012 presidential campaign advances, impatience with Mitt Romney's penchant for falsehoods grows. Jamelle Bouie this week reflected on the the fact that "the former Massachusetts governor has no use for honesty in his campaign."
"Constant mendacity is the norm for Romney and his campaign, and odds are good that he won't suffer for it," Bouie wrote. "Campaign reporters don't have a strong incentive to challenge him on his misrepresentations, and interested parties have a hard time dealing with the deluge."
And yet, we remain undeterred, as evidenced by the 17th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. At an event in Euclid, Ohio, Romney argued, "We will not forget the fact that when [President Obama] was putting in place $787 billion of borrowing in his first few months in office that he said the borrowing would keep the unemployment rate below 8%."
That's a popular claim for Romney, but it's completely untrue.
2. Romney said in the same remarks the only reason the unemployment rate dropped from 10% to 8.1% is "because of the people that dropped out of the work force."
That's demonstrably false.
3. At the event, Romney also said of the president, "[H]is vision is that it is ok for a small business to raise taxes from 35% to 40% of 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.
4. Romney added, "You know, the number of ships in the U.S. Navy is smaller than any time since 1917."
This one again? Romney dropped this lie a while ago, but it's apparently back.
5. Romney went on to say, "Let me tell you, we will take America in a very different place. He is taking America on a path towards Europe and Europe is not working there. It will not work here."
The irony is, Europe is trying to grow through austerity, just as Romney intends to do here. He's lying in a self-refuting sort of way.
6. Romney also argued, "Syria is Iran's source of access to the Mediterranean."
Iran doesn't share a border with Syria.
7. Romney said of the American auto industry, "I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry's come back."
You've got to be kidding me.
8. In a speech in Michigan, Romney said of Obama, "In his campaign kickoff speech last week, he asked us not to think about these last four years.... The president's plea that we simply ignore the last four years is his latest effort to escape responsibility for the failures."
Obama actually did the opposite, urging Americans to remember the last four years.
9. In the same speech, Romney said Obama has tried "to blame others" for the slow recovery, including "ATMs."
As his lies go, this one's just dumb.
10. He added, "President Clinton said the era of big government was over. President Obama brought it back with a vengeance."
That's the opposite of the truth.
11. Romney also argued, "Government at all levels now constitutes 38% of the economy, and if Obamacare is installed, it will reach almost 50%."
David Corn recently said this is arguably Romney's "biggest fib," which falls "somewhere between 'ridiculous' and 'stupid.'"
12. Romney went on to say, "Old-school liberals saw a problem and thought a government-run program was the answer. Obamacare is the fulfillment of their dreams."
There is no universe in which this makes sense -- "Obamacare" relies on private insurers, not a government takeover.
13. Romney also said of the Affordable Care Act, "An unelected board will tell seniors what treatments Medicare will cover."
That's not true.
14. He went on to argue, "President Obama takes his marching orders from union bosses ... and even denies an American company the right to build a factory in the American state of its choice."
That's wildly misleading and he knows it.
15. Romney also said, "Have you seen President Obama's vision of the future? To help us see it, his campaign has even created a little fictional character, living an imaginary life filled with happy milestones for which she will spend the rest of her days thanking President Obama. It's called 'The Life of Julia.' And it is a cartoon. Julia progresses from cradle to grave, showing how government makes every good thing in her life possible."
That's not at all what "The Life of Julia" says.
16. Romney asked, "What does it say about a president's policies when he has to use a cartoon character rather than real people to justify his record?"
Obama uses real people, with real stories, to justify his record all of the time. That many of these same real people would suffer under Romney's agenda matters, too.
17. The Romney campaign argued this week that "the average cost of college has increased by 25%" under Obama.
That's wildly misleading and deliberately deceptive.
18. The Romney campaign also argued this week that Obama has broken his promise "to pursue all available energy sources, an 'all of the above" policy.'
Actually, Obama's still pursuing an "all of the above" energy policy, which is nearly identical to John McCain's plan from 2008.
19. The Romney campaign also blamed Obama this week for gas prices having "more than doubled" since January 2009.
To call this comically misleading would be an understatement.
20. And overnight, the Romney campaign claimed that Obama has "now admitted that he's forgotten about the recession."
That's not even close to being accurate.
The New York Times' David Firestone said this week, after a Romney claim he called "preposterous" and "breathtaking," that the Republican presidential candidate has "pushed the boundaries of veracity," but "hasn't paid much of a price."
That's clearly a fair assessment. It's up to media professionals and voters to determine whether Romney's extraordinary detachment from the truth is going to matter in this election or not. So far, the former governor is gambling he can get away with falsehoods that are as extraordinary as they routine, and by all appearances, at for now, he's right.
Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XVI
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After finally wrapping up his strange presidential campaign this week, Newt Gingrich talked to Wolf Blitzer about his support for his former rival, Mitt Romney. The CNN host asked, "Do you still believe Romney is a liar?"
Gingrich replied, in reference to the presidential candidate he now supports, "The governor said things at times that weren't true." Pressed further on whether that means Romney's a liar, Gingrich changed the subject.
It's generally not a good sign when high-profile supporters of a candidate hedge on whether the candidate is an honest person, but then again, the presumptive Republican nominee is not like most candidates. To appreciate the scope of Romney's distortions, consider the 16th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. In a speech in Ohio, Romney referred to the Bush/Cheney era as "before the recession."
The recession began in late 2007, more than a year before President Obama's inauguration. The economy crashed in September 2008, four months before Obama took office. Someone who claims an expertise in economic policy probably ought to know that.
2. In the same speech, Romney summarized his message to young people: "[I]t's so critical, in my view, for you to consider what's in the best interest of not just yourself, but of America, over the coming century, and it is to stop the excessive overspending."
Annual domestic spending is already on track to become the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower's administration.
3. Romney acknowledged that President "inherited" the recession, but added that Obama "didn't make it better."
That's plainly false.
4. In the same speech, Romney said once "Obamacare" is implemented, "government at all levels" will "consume" 50% of the American economy.
David Corn explains today that this is Romney's arguably "biggest fib," which falls "somewhere between 'ridiculous' and 'stupid.'"
5. Also from that speech, Romney said Obama's record includes "the first trillion deficit in history."
That's a blatant lie -- the day Obama was inaugurated, there was a $1.3 trillion deficit Bush had left for him to clean up.
6. In the same remarks, Romney said, "We're on track to become Greece."
No, we're not.
7. The Romney campaign again claimed "more than 92%" of the jobs lost since Obama took office are women.
This still is a ridiculous lie.
8. The Romney campaign added, "The fact is, what we have now is the U.S. economy is a hostile workplace for women under President Obama because it's harder to get a job."
That's absurdly untrue, too.
9. In New Hampshire, Romney said Obama is "focused on taking away from those who have the least."
That's blatantly untrue in an ironic sort of way. Romney's tax plan calls for higher taxes on those at the lowest end of the income scale. He also intends to cut food stamps, Medicaid, and educational spending, which benefit those who have the least.
10. Romney also vowed, "I want to help the poor."
First, see #9. Second, he specifically said earlier this year, "I'm not very concerned about the poor."
11. Romney told Charlie Rose that the president has launched an "attack on small businesses."
In reality, Obama has cut taxes on small businesses (several times), eased the process that allows small businesses to be created, and streamlined the patent process.
12. The Romney campaign argued this week that the former governor's position on the auto-industry rescue "was exactly what President Obama followed," adding, "The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney's advice."
Romney condemned Obama's efforts on the industry rescue repeatedly, including throughout the GOP primaries. He can't oppose the policy and take credit for the policy at the same time, at least not if he's being honest.
13. Romney said regulations under Obama are duplicating "like proverbial rabbits."
It's a subjective question, I suppose, but at a minimum, this is deeply misleading. The truth is, Obama approved fewer regulations than George W. Bush did over a comparable period.
14. The Romney campaign this week claimed President Obama "delivered" the controversy over GSA over-spending at a Las Vegas conference.
The Obama administration launched the investigation that uncovered the wrongdoing, and GSA's reckless conference spending began during the Bush era.
15. In a speech in Virginia yesterday, Romney blamed "card check" for making things "tougher" on businesses.
Card check didn't pass, so it's impossible for Romney's argument to be true.
16. In the same speech, Romney said Obama has "added about 150,000 government workers."
That's the opposite of reality, and reflects an unnerving ignorance about job policy.
17. Romney, at the same event, said raising the top marginal income tax rate would force small businesses to "cut back" and not "hire more."
This is one of those zombie lies that never goes away, but it's still not true.
18. Romney went on to condemn Obama for "shutting down" a "wonderful" school voucher program in the District of Columbia.
Obama didn't shut down the school voucher program in the District of Columbia. It still exists.
At one of his events this week, Romney, in apparent reference to the president's eloquence on the stump, told voters, "[A]s you look at the campaign of 2012, you're gonna hear a lot of words, but you're going to have an opportunity to also look behind the words at the facts.... Words are easily malleable but facts, they're stubborn."
Yes, governor, they are.
Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XV
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After winning several more presidential primaries this week, Mitt Romney delivered a speech his campaign billed as the unofficial kickoff of the general election. And while making his pitch as the presumptive Republican nominee, the former governor said President Obama intends to "run a campaign of ... distortions."
I very nearly fell out of my chair. After watching Romney closely for years, I've never seen any candidate in either party run a campaign of distortions as shamelessly as this guy, and this claim seemed to take the "I'm rubber, you're glue" tactic to new levels.
To appreciate the scope of Romney's distortions, consider the 15th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. Romney argued in Pennsylvania earlier this week that President Obama has "apologized for America."
The fact that Romney continues to repeat this lie every day is pretty depressing.
2. The Romney campaign argued this week that college tuition costs are going up because "this president decided to take over the student loan market."
As a matter of policy, that's ridiculous, and as a matter of accuracy, it's completely untrue.
3. Romney continues to push the line that under Obama, "the number of new business start-ups per year has dropped by 100,000 per year."
That's not even close to being true.
4. Romney said in New Hampshire this week that he wants to help rescue "the mom and dad who never thought they'd be on food stamps."
He neglected to mention that he endorsed a budget plan that slashes food stamps.
5. He also said he wants to look out for "grandparents who can't afford the gas to visit their grandchildren."
Romney plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program, which increases costs for seniors. He's also vowed to bring back Medicare Part D's "donut hole," which will quickly raise prescription drug costs for grandparents nationwide.
6. In the same speech, Romney said, "With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy."
That's the opposite of the truth.
7. Romney added that under Obama, "we will have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society."
No one can seriously believe such nonsense.
8. Romney vowed, "[W]e will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next."
That's misleading in important ways. Romney's platform calls for massive tax breaks that he can't pay for, which necessarily means growing the national debt.
9. The Romney campaign argued this week that the candidate hasn't endorsed "self-deportation" as an immigration policy.
Romney, earlier this year, explicitly endorsed "self-deportation."
10. The Romney campaign argued this week that under Obama, "the youth unemployment rate is double the unemployment rate for all Americans."
That's wildly misleading, too.
A few months ago, Fox News' Brit Hume, reflecting on Romney's flip-flops, said, "You're only allowed a certain number of flips before people begin to doubt your character."
I'm curious -- is Romney also allowed a certain number of falsehoods before people begin to doubt his character? And if so, what is that number?
Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XIV
Campaigning in Ohio yesterday, Mitt Romney told supporters, without smirking or sounding sarcastic, "If I'm president of the United States, with your help, I will tell the truth."                                                                                 Getty Images
Ordinarily, those seeking national leadership positions don't vow to tell the truth if others help them, but since I am nothing if not helpful, I thought I might give the presumptive Republican presidential nominee a few examples of instances in which he fell short of honesty this week.
Indeed, if Romney intends to "tell the truth," he can start by reading the 14th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. Speaking to the NRA, Romney said, "The Obama administration has decided that it has the power to mandate what Catholic charities, schools, and hospitals must cover in their insurance plans.... Here we are, just getting started with Obamacare, and the federal government is already dictating to religious groups on matters of doctrine and conscience."
In Massachusetts' governor for one term, Romney took the same position Obama has adopted. He somehow forgot to mention this.
2. Romney also told the NRA audience, "We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners. President Obama has not, I will."
The grammar in this sentence makes it hard to understand, but the implication seems to be that Obama has created new restrictions on gun laws. That's a lie.
3. Romney also claims to be a "lifetime" member of the NRA.
In reality, Romney used to oppose the NRA, but became a "lifetime" member fairly recently by buying the honor from the group.
4. Romney also shared this interesting anecdote: "Mike and Chantell Sackett have seen firsthand how the Obama government interferes with personal freedom. They run a small business in Idaho. They saved enough money to buy a piece of property and build a home. But days after they broke ground, an EPA regulator told them to stop digging. The EPA said they were building on a wetland. But the Sackett's property isn't on the wetlands register. It sits in a residential area. Nevertheless, the EPA wouldn't even let them appeal the decision. Fortunately, the Constitution confronted the Obama administration: the Supreme Court ruled unanimously for the Sacketts and against the Obama EPA."
That's a fascinating story, but it was the Bush/Cheney EPA that the Sackett family was fighting.
5. In the same speech, Romney said, "[Obama] told the Russian president last month when he thought no one else was listening, after his re-election he'll have a lot more, quote, 'flexibility' to do what he wants."
That's not what Obama said.
6. Romney concluded, "We'll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad."
This is a lie Romney repeats so often, it raises real concerns about his character.
7. Romney told ABC's Diane Sawyer, "92% -- 93% of the jobs lost have been lost by women during this president's term."
This is a ridiculous lie.
8. Trying to justify his secrecy on tax returns, Mitt Romney told CNBC, "John Kerry released two years of taxes."
That's not true.
9. Romney also told CNBC about the Buffett Rule, "[T]hey couldn't get it through their own Democratic Senate."
The Buffett Rule enjoyed the support of a majority of the Senate, but it died because of a Republican filibuster. "They" could have gotten it through the Senate if the bill was given an up-or-down vote.
10. The Romney campaign told NBC News this week that the former governor "never solicited" Ted Nugent's endorsement.
There's clear evidence pointing in the exact opposite direction.
11. On tax policy, Romney argued this week, "I'm going to keep the burden on the upper-income people the same as it is today."
That's extremely misleading -- Romney intends to give the rich a massive tax cut. The "burden" may not shift because he intends to cut taxes across the board, but the claim makes it seem as if "upper-income people" won't see a change in their taxes, when in fact Romney intends to give them another huge break. (Thanks to reader V.S. for the tip on this one.)
12. In Charlotte, Romney said of the president and the upcoming Democratic convention, "He's not going to want to remind anyone of Greece because he's put us on a road to become more like Greece."
Obama hasn't put us on a road to become more like Greece. (Nor has Bush, who's still largely responsible for today's deficits.)
13. In the same speech, Romney said Obama "is on track to add almost as much public debt to this country as all the prior presidents combined."
That's a lie.
14. Romney also said in the same speech that Bush added "far less" to the national debt than Obama.
That's not even close to being true.
15. In the same speech, Romney said Obama is "first president in modern history, in any history, to cut Medicare by $500 billion."
Romney has said this countless times, but it doesn't change the fact that it's not true.
16. Romney claimed on Thursday that Obama has placed "three times" as many regulatory burdens on the private second as Bush did.
That's the opposite of the truth.
17. In Ohio yesterday, Romney argued, "[Obama] said that if we let him borrow $787 billion, he would unemployment below 8%."
There is no universe in which this claim is true.
18. In the same speech, Romney said Obama "has not created more jobs for the American people."
I know Romney's busy running for president, but he should at least try to keep up with current events.
19. Romney, in the same speech, shared one of his new favorite talking points: "The number of new businesses started per year is down 100,000 a year under the Obama term."
Actually, for those who take facts seriously, just last year, more than 540,000 new businesses were started each month -- which is well above the levels seen before the Great Recession began.
20. The Romney campaign argued this week that Kris Kobach, Romney's controversial adviser on immigration policy, is a "supporter," not an "adviser."
In reality, Kobach is still very much an adviser to Romney and his team.
21. The Romney campaign also said yesterday that the former governor never said Arizona's anti-immigrant law is a "model" for the nation.
Romney absolutely said Arizona's anti-immigrant law is a "model" for the nation.
The Obama campaign, by the way, seems well aware of the fact that Romney lies with unnerving frequency, but seems reluctant to say so in harsh terms, fearing media and voter pushback. Instead, as of yesterday, Team Obama is resorting to an interesting euphemism: "Why does [Romney] have such an aversion to the truth?"
Whether the political mainstream is comfortable using the word "lie" or not, that question seems increasingly unavoidable.
Chronicling Mitt's  Mendacity, Vol. XIII
Mitt Romney recently felt comfortable lecturing journalists about, of all things, "quality control" when sharing the news with the American public.
As Ed Kilgore joked, "Now I suppose when you have already developed a reputation for towering mendacity on subjects large and small, a medium-sized lie about your views on media accuracy is as easy as changing those jeans and a lot easier than changing your entire political persona on a regular basis. But you might think at some point the man would fear being struck down by a thunderbolt right on the spot if he lectures the media -- old or new -- about 'sourcing' and 'quality control.'"
If the presumptive Republican nominee has any such fears, he's not showing it. Those looking for proof need only consider the 13th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. Romney told voters about the cost of the Affordable Care Act, "[W]e've just learned from the CBO, it's not a trillion dollars. It's more like double that.... Obamacare is massively more expensive than had been originally estimated."
That's not even close to being true.
2. On the same subject, Romney argued, "Thirty percent of employers said they are going to drop the coverage for their employees when Obamacare is installed."
Actually, no, they didn't say that at all.
3. He said he would save "about $100 billion a year" eliminating Obamacare.
That's not only absurdly untrue, it's actually backwards -- scrapping the entirety of the Affordable Care Act would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the debt.
4. Romney claimed Obama had created an "unaccountable panel, with the power to prevent Medicare from providing certain treatments."
That's simply not true.
5. Romney argues in a new fundraising letter that the numbers for unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are "soaring."
Actually, that's the exact opposite of the truth -- unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are all falling.
6. Romney claims in the same mailing that Obama stood over "the greatest job loss in modern American history."
Not really.
7. Romney went on to argue, "President Obama has mortgaged our future, increased the budget by more than 20% and allowed our debt to skyrocket."
The debt has increased (thanks to Bush-era policies), but the budget hasn't increased by more than 20%.
8. Romney told voters in Philadelphia this week, "This president did not cause the recession; he just made it worse and made it longer."
There's no way around the fact that Romney's simply lying. He knows he's lying because he's also said the American economy has improved under Obama.
9 Romney argued repeatedly this week, "Women account for 92.3 percent of the jobs lost under Obama."
You've got to be kidding me.
10 The Romney campaign and its surrogates spent all day Thursday describing Hilary Rosen as an "advisor to the Obama campaign."
Hilary Rosen is not an advisor to the Obama campaign.
11. Romney argued yesterday, "President Obama is the first president in history to openly campaign for reelection on a platform of higher taxes. He has already raised taxes on millions of Americans, but he won't stop there. He wants to raise taxes on millions more by taxing small businesses and job creators."
That's actually three lies in one paragraph.
12. On a Romney campaign conference call yesterday, a campaign spokesperson said the Obama administration needs to "stop disrespecting stay-at-home moms."
The Obama administration has never disrespected stay-at-home moms, and when pressed for evidence to back up the charge, the Romney campaign couldn't think of anything.
Paul Krugman noted this week, "Mitt Romney's campaign is setting new standards in serial dishonesty. Really. He makes Bush look like a font of truth and accuracy."
That's more than fair, though the question is no longer whether Romney has a problem telling the truth -- he clearly does -- but rather whether he'll face any electoral consequences for recklessness.

Another day...

Posted at 12:04 PM ET, 01/06/2012
In a new radio ad in South Carolina, Mitt Romney repeats a claim about Obama’s appointees to the NLRB...
ROMNEY: “The National Labor Relations Board, now stacked with union stooges selected by the President, says to a free enterprise like Boeing, ‘You can’t build a factory in South Carolina because South Carolina is a Right to Work state.’ That is simply un-American. It is political payback of the worst kind.”
...that PolitiFact already has repeatedly debunked as false:
The NLRB’s complaint started a legal process that could ultimately have resulted in a factory closure, but the NLRB as a whole didn’t tell Boeing anything. What’s more, the legal basis for the action centered on whether Boeing was punishing the union for staging strikes, not that Boeing had opened a factory in a right-to-work state. We rate the statement False.
I know this risks getting boring and predictable, but we really should document them all.