The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that came out this week included an interesting, open-ended question: "What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Mitt Romney as president?" Poll respondents weren't offered any choices; they could offer any response they wanted.
The results weren't especially surprising -- the most common answer noted Romney being very wealthy. There were also plenty of folks who mentioned Romney's conservatism, his Mormon faith, his controversial positions on women's rights, etc.
Down towards the bottom of the list, however, was one that jumped out me: "Dishonest." For at least some respondents -- not a lot, but some -- the first thing that came to mind when thinking about Romney was the candidate's willingness to say things that aren't true.
It's good to know I'm not the only one who's noticed. In fact, the public response should probably be far more common given how quickly the Republican's record of falsehoods is growing. Consider, for example, the 24th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. Following the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's anti-immigrant law, Romney said "we are still waiting" for President Obama "to present an immigration plan."
No, actually, we're not. Obama endorsed a comprehensive reform plan years ago, and presented his own detailed plan more than a year ago.
2. At a campaign event in Salem, Virginia, Romney said Obama had "all the support he needed" in Congress to pass immigration legislation during his first two years in office.
That's plainly false. There were Democratic majorities in both chambers, but not enough to overcome Republican filibusters.
3. At the same event, Romney said Obama "did not deal with immigration" policy.
Sure he did. Obama introduced a comprehensive immigration reform proposal; he increased deportations; he strengthened border security; and he used his prosecutorial discretion to implement the goals of the DREAM Act. Romney may not approve of these policies, but he should deny their existence.
4. Romney also argued that Obama "promised" to keep unemployment "below 8 percent" through the Recovery Act.
As Romney surely knows by now, that's simply not true.
5. Romney went on to accuse Obama of "raising taxes on small businesses."
In reality, Obama cut taxes on small business, many times, and Romney should probably understand that "cutting taxes" is the opposite of "raising taxes."
6. Romney said an "avalanche of new regulations" under Obama is standing in the way of "good jobs."
Actually, Obama approved fewer regulations in his first three years in office than Bush did in his first three years.
7. Romney also said Obama "says no to developing our oil resources."
Oil production is up under Obama.
8. Romney added, "Guess how many [trade] agreements this president has negotiated? Zero. No new agreements to open up markets for American goods."
Panama, Colombia, and South Korea know better.
9. Romney went on to say Obama "has put together almost as much public debt as all the prior president's combined."
10. Romney vowed, "I will get us to on track to a balanced budget."
There's overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Romney says his plan "can't be scored," but independent budget analysts have found his agenda would make the deficit bigger, not smaller, and add trillions to the national debt.
11. Romney shared an odd anecdote: "I was with a woman in Las Vegas, she has a business. She rents furniture to casinos and to conventioneers that come to Las Vegas... When the president said not to bother coming to Las Vegas to go to a company meeting, her business collapsed."
Obama actually said, in reference to Wall Street recklessness, "You are not going to be able to give out these big bonuses until you pay taxpayers back. You can't get corporate jets. You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime. There's got to be some accountability and some responsibility." To blame the failure of some random business in Nevada on this is ridiculous.
12. Romney added, "The president's put on us on path to Europe. Europe doesn't work in Europe. It'll never 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.
13. At a campaign event in Sterling, Virginia, Romney said under the Affordable Care Act, "government bureaucrats get between us and our doctors."
In reality, this does not resemble the law in any way. (Perhaps Romney is thinking of Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell?)
14. At the same event, Romney said, "The president cut $500 billion out of Medicare."
Romney says this a lot. He's not telling the truth.
15. In the same speech, Romney said under Obama, "wages have dropped by 10 percent."
That only makes sense if we count Obama's first year in office, which relies on a standard Romney believes is fundamentally unfair.
16. Romney also argued that Obama's "cap-and-trade proposal ... scared away jobs."
First, cap-and-trade was a Republican idea. Second, it didn't pass, so it couldn't have affected the job market.
17. In response to the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Romney argued, "Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt."
That's demonstrably ridiculous. The health care law, according the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and every independent analysis, cuts the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming decade.
18. In the same remarks, Romney said, "Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep."
Jamelle Bouie took a look at this and concluded, "Romney is simply lying."
19. He added he intends to "make sure that those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured and they will not lose their insurance."
At a minimum, that's wildly misleading. Under Romney's approach, millions of people with pre-existing conditions would be denied coverage -- and occasionally his campaign even admits it.
20. Romney went on to say, "Obamacare does not ... help lower the cost of health care."
21. And in a campaign statement last night, Romney claimed, "With Obamacare fully installed, government will reach fully half of the economy."
There is no version reality in which this is true.