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."
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."
7. The Romney campaign again claimed "more than 92%" of the jobs lost since Obama took office are women.
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.
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.