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."
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?