At the first 2012 presidential debate, Mitt Romney stunned President Obama and the viewing audience with a solid performance and a few whoopers to boot.
The candidates spent a good deal of time arguing over the cost of Mitt Romney tax plan. "I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That's not my plan,” said Romney in one factually-challenged moment, backing away from his proposal. "My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit."
The non-partisan Tax Policy Center determined Romney's plan would cost $4.8 trillion over the next 10 years.
The former Massachusetts governor proposed keeping the Bush-era tax cuts and slashing all rates across the board by 20 percent. Romney said closing loopholes in the tax code and getting rid of certain tax deductions would cover the costs. Which ones those are remain as much of a mystery as his unreleased tax returns.
President Obama called him out over his lack of clarity and shoddy math skills:
"For 18 months, he's been running on this tax plan, and now, five weeks before the election, he's saying that his big bold idea is never mind? And the fact that if you are lowering the rates the way you describe Governor then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It's math. It's arithmetic."
Before Obama and Romney were even born, President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned about those who gloss over the facts. Speaking to the Democratic convention during his 1936 reelection campaign, FDR cautioned voters to be wary of smooth talkers and their deals that are just too good to true:
"Let me warn you and let me warn the nation against the smooth evasion which says, 'Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.'"
FDR put the smack down on the false notion of gambling social programs and it won’t cost anyone a dime. Like President Obama now, FDR faced similar challenges leading the country out of a major economic crisis.