Campaigning in Ohio yesterday, Mitt Romney told supporters, without smirking or sounding sarcastic, "If I'm president of the United States, with your help, I will tell the truth."
Ordinarily, those seeking national leadership positions don't vow to tell the truth if others help them, but since I am nothing if not helpful, I thought I might give the presumptive Republican presidential nominee a few examples of instances in which he fell short of honesty this week.
Indeed, if Romney intends to "tell the truth," he can start by reading the 14th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. Speaking to the NRA, Romney said, "The Obama administration has decided that it has the power to mandate what Catholic charities, schools, and hospitals must cover in their insurance plans.... Here we are, just getting started with Obamacare, and the federal government is already dictating to religious groups on matters of doctrine and conscience."
In Massachusetts' governor for one term, Romney took the same position Obama has adopted. He somehow forgot to mention this.
2. Romney also told the NRA audience, "We need a president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners. President Obama has not, I will."
The grammar in this sentence makes it hard to understand, but the implication seems to be that Obama has created new restrictions on gun laws. That's a lie.
3. Romney also claims to be a "lifetime" member of the NRA.
In reality, Romney used to oppose the NRA, but became a "lifetime" member fairly recently by buying the honor from the group.
4. Romney also shared this interesting anecdote: "Mike and Chantell Sackett have seen firsthand how the Obama government interferes with personal freedom. They run a small business in Idaho. They saved enough money to buy a piece of property and build a home. But days after they broke ground, an EPA regulator told them to stop digging. The EPA said they were building on a wetland. But the Sackett's property isn't on the wetlands register. It sits in a residential area. Nevertheless, the EPA wouldn't even let them appeal the decision. Fortunately, the Constitution confronted the Obama administration: the Supreme Court ruled unanimously for the Sacketts and against the Obama EPA."
That's a fascinating story, but it was the Bush/Cheney EPA that the Sackett family was fighting.
5. In the same speech, Romney said, "[Obama] told the Russian president last month when he thought no one else was listening, after his re-election he'll have a lot more, quote, 'flexibility' to do what he wants."
6. Romney concluded, "We'll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad."
This is a lie Romney repeats so often, it raises real concerns about his character.
7. Romney told ABC's Diane Sawyer, "92% -- 93% of the jobs lost have been lost by women during this president's term."
8. Trying to justify his secrecy on tax returns, Mitt Romney told CNBC, "John Kerry released two years of taxes."
9. Romney also told CNBC about the Buffett Rule, "[T]hey couldn't get it through their own Democratic Senate."
The Buffett Rule enjoyed the support of a majority of the Senate, but it died because of a Republican filibuster. "They" could have gotten it through the Senate if the bill was given an up-or-down vote.
10. The Romney campaign told NBC News this week that the former governor "never solicited" Ted Nugent's endorsement.
There's clear evidence pointing in the exact opposite direction.
11. On tax policy, Romney argued this week, "I'm going to keep the burden on the upper-income people the same as it is today."
That's extremely misleading -- Romney intends to give the rich a massive tax cut. The "burden" may not shift because he intends to cut taxes across the board, but the claim makes it seem as if "upper-income people" won't see a change in their taxes, when in fact Romney intends to give them another huge break. (Thanks to reader V.S. for the tip on this one.)
12. In Charlotte, Romney said of the president and the upcoming Democratic convention, "He's not going to want to remind anyone of Greece because he's put us on a road to become more like Greece."
13. In the same speech, Romney said Obama "is on track to add almost as much public debt to this country as all the prior presidents combined."
14. Romney also said in the same speech that Bush added "far less" to the national debt than Obama.
That's not even close to being true.
15. In the same speech, Romney said Obama is "first president in modern history, in any history, to cut Medicare by $500 billion."
Romney has said this countless times, but it doesn't change the fact that it's not true.
16. Romney claimed on Thursday that Obama has placed "three times" as many regulatory burdens on the private second as Bush did.
That's the opposite of the truth.
17. In Ohio yesterday, Romney argued, "[Obama] said that if we let him borrow $787 billion, he would unemployment below 8%."
There is no universe in which this claim is true.
18. In the same speech, Romney said Obama "has not created more jobs for the American people."
I know Romney's busy running for president, but he should at least try to keep up with current events.
19. Romney, in the same speech, shared one of his new favorite talking points: "The number of new businesses started per year is down 100,000 a year under the Obama term."
Actually, for those who take facts seriously, just last year, more than 540,000 new businesses were started each month -- which is well above the levels seen before the Great Recession began.
20. The Romney campaign argued this week that Kris Kobach, Romney's controversial adviser on immigration policy, is a "supporter," not an "adviser."
In reality, Kobach is still very much an adviser to Romney and his team.
21. The Romney campaign also said yesterday that the former governor never said Arizona's anti-immigrant law is a "model" for the nation.
Romney absolutely said Arizona's anti-immigrant law is a "model" for the nation.
The Obama campaign, by the way, seems well aware of the fact that Romney lies with unnerving frequency, but seems reluctant to say so in harsh terms, fearing media and voter pushback. Instead, as of yesterday, Team Obama is resorting to an interesting euphemism: "Why does [Romney] have such an aversion to the truth?"
Whether the political mainstream is comfortable using the word "lie" or not, that question seems increasingly unavoidable.