Campaigning in St. Louis yesterday, Mitt Romney, reading from his teleprompter, told supporters he would never be a "president of doubt and deception."
You could almost hear irony weeping. After all, as Kevin Drum explained, "I expect political candidates to bend the truth a fair amount.... But Romney's willingness to flat-out lie is singular."
Or as Rachel explained just last night, "Mr. Romney gets caught saying things that are factually wrong, and the thing that is different about him is that he does not mind; he doesn't fix it; he doesn't even try to worm out of it. He doesn't appear to feel any shame about it at all -- and he's happy to keep telling the lie once he knows it is a lie."
As has become painfully clear, Romney's reliance on "deception" has practically become an addiction. To help appreciate the scope of the dishonesty, consider the 21st installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. Campaigning in Texas, Romney argued, "[W]ith America in crisis, with 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work, [President Obama] hasn't put forth a plan to get us working again. Now I know we're getting close to an election so he'll come out with one soon, but three and a half years later, we're waiting."
No, actually we're not.
2. Referencing Noam Scheiber's book, "The Escape Artists," told a remarkable tale about Obama and his aides, saying, "[T]here was discussion about the fact that Obamacare would slow down the economic recovery in this country." He added that the administration "knew" the health care reform package would hurt the economy, "but they concluded that we would all forget how long the recovery took once it had happened, so they decided to go ahead."
Given the relevant details, Romney is "just making stuff up" with this deceptive tale.
3. Romney added that he's concerned about the millions of Americans "on food stamps, most of whom never expected that would be their course."
This, at a minimum, is misleading, given that Romney enthusiastically endorsed a budget plan that slashes food stamps.
4. In the same speech, Romney said the Affordable Care Act includes a "job-killing mandate."
The individual mandate in the law does not undermine job creation, and more importantly, Romney championed the same mandate policy for years.
5. In the same speech, Romney rhetorically asked, "Did the trillion-dollar deficits make it more likely for people to invest in America?"
First, the drivers behind the deficits are Bush-era policies, so blaming Obama for them is dishonest. Second, the deficits have not adversely affected investors' willingness to invest in America.
6. Romney also argued that Obama isn't really for an "all the above" energy policy: "All of the above means that you like oil and gas and coal and nuclear and renewables. And yet he has made it harder and harder to take advantage of some of those."
Actually, that's the opposite of the truth. Obama has expanded renewables and expanded nuclear plants. Also, coal production is up; we have more natural gas than we know what to do with; and oil production is up. Obama's support for "all of the above" continues.
7. Romney said Obama has blamed "the ATM machines" for the slow recovery.
As his lies go, this one's just dumb.
8. Romney also said of the president, "His idea is to make America more like Europe."
As it turns out, that's backwards. Europe is trying (and failing) to grow through austerity measures, which is what Romney, not Obama, intends to do here.
9. Romney went on to argue, "If [Obama's] president, you're going to see more trillion-dollar deficits. And they're going to put us on a path to becoming like Greece."
In reality, Obama is already on track to reduce the deficit below a trillion in his second term, and comparing our path to Greece has no basis in reality.
10. Romney also said, "If I'm president, I'm going to put America on a track to get a balanced budget. It's immoral and wrong for us to pass on these obligation to our kids."
11. In a campaign ad, Romney claims, in reference to the federal loan guarantee Solyndra received, "The inspector general said contracts were steered to friends and family."
That's as clear a lie as the campaign has told all year.
12. In St. Louis, Romney claimed the Recovery Act "left us with record unemployment."
Actually, millions of Americans owe their jobs to the Recovery Act, and the unemployment rate isn't at a "record" high -- it's lower now than when Obama took office, and it didn't get as high as it did in Reagan's first term.
13. He also argued, "Over the last three and a half years, record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs or simply disappeared from the work force."
The only way in which that makes any sense is if you use standards the Romney campaign rejects.
15. Romney went on to say, "For a family watching their house being sold at foreclosure ... the results are just as devastating."
Romney has no intention of intervening to stop foreclosures.
16. Romney also argued, "Today, government at all levels consumes 37 percent of the total economy or G.D.P. If Obamacare is allowed to stand, government will reach half of the American economy."
There is no version of reality in which this is true.
17. Romney promised, "[F]or every government-spending proposal, I will ask the following question: 'Is this program so important that it is worth borrowing more money from China to pay for it?'"
The implication here is that U.S. debt is financed by the Chinese. This isn't true -- China only holds about 8% of the nation's debt.
18. Describing President Obama's economic vision, Romney said, "There is nothing fair about a government that favors political connections over honest competition."
This is a serious allegation of corruption, which Romney has backed up with literally no facts of evidence at all.
19. The Romney campaign claimed in a press release, "Under President Obama, the nation has lost 552,000 jobs."
Again, according to the Romney campaign's own standards, the Romney campaign isn't being honest.
20. And finally, the Romney campaign argued this week that the taxpayer investment in Konarka Technologies during Romney's tenure as governor "was approved by the prior administration. The governor made it clear that his philosophy was that government should not be in the business of venture investing."
That's a nice attempt at spin, but it's not even close to being true.