For those who are watching the 2012 presidential race closely, Mitt Romney's penchant for falsehoods is hard to miss. Michael Cohen summarized the issue nicely this week in a piece for The Guardian:
Granted, presidential candidates are no strangers to disingenuous or overstated claims; it's pretty much endemic to the business. But Romney is doing something very different and far more pernicious. Quite simply, the United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney.
Now, in general, those of us in the pundit class are really not supposed to accuse politicians of lying -- they mislead, they embellish, they mischaracterize, etc. Indeed, there is natural tendency for nominally objective reporters, in particular, to stay away from loaded terms such as lying. Which is precisely why Romney's repeated lies are so effective. In fact, lying is really the only appropriate word to use here, because, well, Romney lies a lot.
If there are any lingering doubts about the accuracy of this observation, consider the 23rd installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity. (I've been at this for several months now, and this week's list is the longest to date.)
1. In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Romney claimed it's fiscally responsible to eliminate the entirety of the Affordable Care Act: "It saves $100 billion a year to get rid of it."
That's the opposite of the truth. According to the CBO and other nonpartisan budget estimates, killing the law would make the deficit go up, not down, and would cost, not save, the country hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years.
2. In the same interview, Romney said, "I think a lot of people forgetting is there is only one president in history that's cut Medicare by $500 billion and that is President Obama."
Romney says this a lot. He's not telling the truth.
3. Romney also said, "I see people holding up signs, 'Don't touch my Medicare.' It's like, hey, I'm not touching your Medicare."
Romney endorsed Paul Ryan's House Republican Budget plan, which ends the Medicare program and replaces it with a private voucher scheme.
4. In the same interview, Romney said President Obama has "never had the experience of working in the private sector."
Actually, that's not a true. Obama worked at a private-sector law firm before entering public service.
5. Romney also told Hannity Obama went on "an apology tour" in his first year.
As Romney surely knows by now, he's lying.
6. Romney, trying to talk about foreign policy, said Syria is Iran's "route to the sea."
Iran doesn't share a border with Syria, and Iran already borders two bodies of water.
7. At a campaign event in Stratham, New Hampshire, Romney claimed, "Bill Clinton and so many other mainstream Democrats are revolting against the backward direction President Obama is taking his party and our country."
In reality, Bill Clinton supports the president's re-election and recently said a Romney presidency would be "calamitous for our country and the world."
8. At an event in Cornwall, Pennsylvania, shared an anecdote about a local optometrist who was forced to fill out a "33-page" change-of-address form -- several times -- at the post office.
9. At the same event, Romney said Obama is "taking away" scholarships and charter schools for "kids in Washington, D.C."
This has become a line in Romney's stump speech, but it isn't in any way true.
10. Romney also claimed, "This president has put together almost as much public debt as all the prior presidents combined."
11. Romney went on to say, "It's immoral in my view for my generation to pass on to these kids the burden of our generation. I think it's wrong. It's got to stop. And if I'm president of the United States I will get us on track to have a balanced budget."
12. At a campaign stop in Weatherly, Pennsylvania, Romney said the president's "trillion- dollar stimulus" failed to "create jobs."
That's the opposite of the truth.
13. At the same event, Romney said about Obama, "He was told that one small business was having a hard time dealing with Obamacare. He said he hadn't heard that."
That's not what happened. In fact, the small business wasn't having a hard time dealing with Obamacare, and was hurt by policies Romney wants to pursue.
14. Romney went on say, "I was in Las Vegas and met a woman who was worried. She has a business renting furniture to casinos and to conventioners that come to Las Vegas. And when the president said, don't bother coming to Las Vegas for your company meetings a few years ago, her business dove."
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.
15. Romney added, "If we stay on the road we're on, we're going to become like Europe.... I don't believe Europe works in Europe. I don't want it 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.
16. In his "Face the Nation" interview, Romney said of Obama's new immigration policy, "If he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with the illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months."
That's remarkably misleading. Obama has pushed for the DREAM Act for years, and would have signed it into law in 2010 had it not been blocked by a Republican filibuster.
17. In the same interview, Romney said about health care, "I will continue to describe the plan that I would provide, which is, number one, to make sure that people don't have to worry about losing their insurance if they have a preexisting condition, and change jobs."
This is the kind of answer that's clearly intended to deceive. Under Romney's approach, millions of people with pre-existing conditions would be denied coverage -- and occasionally his campaign even admits it.
18. Also on health care, Romney said the president "jammed through a bill" and "didn't really try and work for a Republican vote."
This is laughably untrue. Obama worked for months to find someone -- anyone -- in the Republican Party who would work with him in good faith, including delaying progress while the "Gang of Six" engaged in pointless talks.
19. Romney also said, "I'm not looking for a tax cut for the very wealthiest."
Either Romney hasn't read his own tax plan, or he's lying.
20. Appearing via video at the "Faith and Freedom Coalition" annual event, Romney applauded the far-right group's leader: "Ralph Reed has been a real champion in fighting for the fundamental values that have made America the nation that it is."
21. In the same speech, Romney said, "When you put in place a bill like Obamacare, you attack the freedom of people to make a choice about their own insurance and what kind of coverage they want to have."
That's not true. Under the Affordable Care Act, consumers would choose from competing plans as part of a health care exchange. Romney knows this -- it was part of his own plan.
22. Romney went on to say, "[M]edian income in this nation has dropped by 10 percent over the last four years."
That only makes sense if we count Obama's first year in office, which relies on a standard Romney believes is fundamentally unfair.
23. He also argued, "Government at all levels is about 37 percent of the economy today -- 37 percent. And if Obamacare were allowed to stand, government would control about half of the economy of America."
That's demonstrably ridiculous.
24. At the same event, Romney said that Obama "insists" that "Israel return to the '67 borders -- indefensible borders."
25. At a campaign event in Brunswick, Ohio, Romney claimed that Obama said "if you let him borrow all that money, he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent."
As Romney surely knows by now, that's simply not true.
26. At the same event, Romney said under Obamacare, we'll get "a healthcare system run by the government."
There is no universe in which this is true.
27. At a campaign event in Janesville, Wisconsin, Romney argued, "[T]he path we're on, spending $1 trillion more every year than we take in, is leading us to Greece."
That's painfully untrue.
28. At a campaign event in Holland, Michigan, Romney claimed that, as a result of the Dodd-Frank reforms, "small banks and community banks are finding it harder and harder to make loans to small businesses."
According to community banks, this is false. These banks have actually gotten stronger after Dodd-Frank, and the president of Independent Community Bankers Of America recently said, "I am sick of Wall Street using community banks as their shills to scare community bankers into stampeding Congress into undoing provisions of law that finally attempt to deal with too big to fail and Wall Street overreach."
29. In a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials yesterday, Romney argued that President Obama "has not completed a single new trade agreement with Latin America."
Romney does realize that Panama is part of Latin America, right?
30. Romney went on to argued, "Unfortunately, despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform."
Actually, Obama has addressed it quite a bit, taking executive action where the law allows, and pushing Congress to pursue comprehensive reform based on a bipartisan plan he presented last year.