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.”
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.