This line, from Mitt Romney’s foreign policy speech this morning, just amazes me.
“I will champion free trade and restore it as a critical element of our strategy, both in the Middle East and across the world. The president has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years. I will reverse that failure.”
When pressed on this lie on the past, the Romney campaign has said the trade agreements under Obama were largely negotiated before the president took office. That’s not a bad defense and there’s a way to word the attack carefully so that it’s at least technically accurate, albeit misleading.
But today, Romney, reading a prepared text from a teleprompter, didn’t bother with the pretense. He said President Obama “has not signed one new free trade agreement,” despite the fact that’s blatantly, demonstrably untrue.
In reality, Obama has signed three trade agreements – with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea – despite the wishes of some of his own allies. This happened less than a year ago, so it’s not as if the Republican candidate (or those who write his speeches for him) can claim to have forgotten. There were even pictures of the agreements’ signing, one of which I’ve included above.
It appears, then, that Romney isn’t just telling a lie; he’s telling a lazy lie that’s easy to refute. The Republican just doesn’t seem to care whether he gets caught or not – he’s “not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers” – in effect thumbing his nose at those who care about reality.
And in all likelihood, Romney will pay no price for this blatant dishonesty, which is why he tells these falsehoods in the first place.