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John Kerry: Romney was ‘petulant,’ and ‘expediently misleading’ in debate

Updated

“You have a man running for the presidency of the United States of America on the central issue of our time, and he’s not being straight with the American people,”  Sen. John Kerry said on Morning Joe , referring to Romney’s performance at Tuesday’s Hofstra University debate.

The Massachusetts Democrat was talking about the economy and the tax plan that Romney discussed.

“If you gave him all the deductions that there are … you’ve got $2.5 trillion,” Kerry stated. “He doesn’t want all the deductions, and he’s trying to fake it to the American people. He doesn’t want to tell you about the home mortgage; he doesn’t want to tell you about the college credit; he doesn’t want to tell you about state and local taxes, so he fakes it. You have a man running for the presidency of the United States of America on the central issue of our time, and he’s not being straight with the American people.”

Kerry continued:

It’s time to get really serious about what’s on the table here in this choice. I’m perplexed. Mitt Romney last night was petulant, in my judgment. He was characteristically, expediently misleading. Mitt Romney is perpetrating a fraud on the American people. His centerpiece plan…is a one point plan: a tax cut.


To an extent, Joe Scarborough agreed with Kerry, but Scarborough also said President Obama’s plan to revive the economy was to simply tax the rich.

“I’ve said before on the show the $5 trillion number doesn’t add up,” Scarborough said. “If you look at the Romney plan to revive the economy, it’s a tax cut that doesn’t add up. If you look the president’s plan, one of his only plans it seems for the next four years to revive the economy, is to tax the rich. That’s what he talks about all the time.”

Kerry—who took the role of Mitt Romney as the president prepared for the Hofstra debate—suggested recent economic gains as reasons to vote for President Obama for a second term.

“Bank lending is up. Foreclosures are down. Home sales are up. Jobless claims are at a four-year low, jobless rate is at a four-year low, the stock market is near a record high, 401(k)’s near a record high, profits for businesses near a record high. This economy is on the move, and we’re coming back.”

When the discussion turned to the recent U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya—an attack the GOP has used to criticize the Obama administration—Kerry hammered Romney over politicizing the event, something the father of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens has also lamented.

“Now you don’t play games with national security,” Kerry said. “Before anybody knew the facts, Mitt Romney was politicizing this issue. You don’t do that if you’re running for president. You get the facts. We want the facts, and we’ll get the facts.”

John Kerry: Romney was 'petulant,' and 'expediently misleading' in debate

Updated