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Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in 2012 Elections, Politics | 23 comments

Mitt Romney’s Debate Win: Tainted by Outright (Ahem) Mistruths?

There now seems to be a new qualifier on Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Rommey’s big win over President Barack Obama: pundits are increasingly panning him on substance..and truth.

According to Buzzfeed, the Dems are now going to re-calibrate their strategy on Romney:

President Barack Obama and his aides rapidly reversed their strategic course Thursday morning, shifting the center of their attacks on Mitt Romney back toward the oldest criticisms of the Republican: That he’s a flip-flopper.

Democrats had long been torn over whether to portray Romney as too conservative, or too inconsistent, for the electorate — realizing that the attacks are inconsistent with one another. And since this spring, they seemed to have settled on the former, casting Romney as a conservative whose policies of cutting taxes and spending, and on abortion and other social issues, are too far right for most voters.

Thursday they returned abruptly to the earlier line.

“When I got onto the stage I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” Obama told a crowd of some 12,000 the morning after the contest. “But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country the last year promising 5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage said he didn’t know anything about that.”

Obama also accused Romney of “danc[ing]” around his positions; he hit him on taxes as well as outsourcing jobs; and claimed that Romney didn’t support teachers.

“The man on stage last night does not want to be held accountabilty for the real Mitt Romney’s decisions and what’s he been saying for the last year,” Obama said, suggesting Romney had switched his positions for political expedience. “And that’s because he knows full well that we don’t want what he’s been selling for the past year.”

Former Secretary of Energy Federico Peña, who introduced Obama, also invoked a Romney aide’s high-profile gaffe on the theme of the candidate’s inconsistency, referring to the Republican as “etch a sketch” during his opening remarks at a chilly morning rally at a Denver park.

The danger for Romney is that if the media picks up this concept after fact checking then “boilerplate” paragraphs in news stories will mention it. Also: he will be prone more than ever to more aggressive questioning by the media if this is a major issue — and no reporter or moderator will want to be called “another Lehrer.”

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  • SteveK

    Rolling Stone has a good piece on Romney’s LIES, too.

    The First Debate: Mitt Romney’s Five Biggest Lies
    The truth behind that $5 trillion tax cut, pre-existing conditions and more
    Mitt Romney turned in a polished performance in last night’s presidential debate – and revealed himself to be an accomplished and unapologetic liar. In an evening where he sought to slice and dice the president with statistics, Romney baldly misrepresented his own policy prescriptions, made up numbers to fit his attacks and buried clear contrasts with the president under a heaping pile of horses#!+.
    Here are mendacious Mitt’s five most outrageous statements:
    1. “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut.”
    2. “I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.”
    3. “We’ve got 23 million people out of work or [who have] stopped looking for work in this country.”
    4. Obamacare “puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have.”
    5. “Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.”

    Follow link for the specifics on each of these LIES.

  • ordinarysparrow

    ” We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

    Guess that goes for debates too….

  • Dabb

    People knew Romney was lying last night. And people are saying he won with “style.”

    Since when has lying become stylish?

  • dduck

    Let’s start with the easiest on e first, #3:
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sept. 2012:
    Unemployed……………………. 12.5 million
    Part Time……………………….8.0
    Marginally Attached to work force… 2.6
    Total………………………… 23.1 million:

    #1 is PART of his sentence, you go find the full sentence.

    #2 May be overstating as candidates are won’t to do, as in good intentions (see Obama’s 2008 statements, etc.)

    #4 No matter who’s in, someday we may have to ration end of life care, which uses up 25% of Medicare bucks. In any event, they are unelected, perhaps quibbling.

    #5 May be an actual lie, unless his position has “evolved”, like Obama did on gay marriage, except instead of Biden, Obama pushed him.

  • The_Ohioan

    So…a stylish liar is no longer our political ideal? Who knew?

  • dduck

    I did not chop down the cherry tree.

  • SteveK

    #1 – No, “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut.” is a complete sentence… A complete sentence Romney used during the debate. The sentence is a lie.

    #2 – Again No, “I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.” is exactly what Romney said, if he wasn’t trying to mislead he could have said something different but he didn’t… He chose to lie.

    #3 – Romney said: “We’ve got 23 million people out of work or [who have] stopped looking for work in this country”… Period. That statement is a lie.

    #4 – This is about the words (lies) Romney used last night not about what you or I think is going to happen to end of life care. As pointed out in the Rolling Stone article, “the law also makes explicit that this body is banned from rationing care or limiting medical benefits to seniors.” so again… Romney was lying.

    #5 – No, even his campaign admits it was a lie. Rolling Stone, “Insurance companies could continue to discriminate and deny you coverage, as even Romney’s top adviser conceded after the debate was over.

    These are but five of the lies Candidate Romney told the American People last night. Some of us will try to defend them and him, some will call him out for what his words provably were… Lies.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    @SteveK: “yup” 🙂

    Well “stood your ground”

  • Jim Satterfield


    SteveK has you there. Not only were those complete sentences he used but he repeated them ad nauseum, both by themselves and as part of other sentences. But the simple truth is that the only tax plan he has announced, when translated from percentages to absolute dollars is approximately $5 trillion.

  • dduck

    I’m sorry i can’ t deal with this unreasonableness, repeating your version of the facts doesn’t mean they become the truth. “Obama accused Romney of proposing a $5 trillion tax cut. Not true. Romney proposes to offset his rate cuts and promises he won’t add to the deficit.”
    As I said, That was not the complete sentence.

    The 23 million is from the Government.
    Unelected officials. True, and if you think we can continue spending 25% at end of life, you are a true liberal.

    Your ignorance of how insurance companies work shows up clearly. Insurance companies can write any coverage you want, including pre-existing conditions, they just actuarialy adjust the premiums, just as they will under Obamacare. There is no free lunch and a shortage of unicorns is evident. As I said, Mitt lied about his program on pre-existing.

    Despite what the choir says, these are the facts, sorry you are so pissed that Obama was an empty lectern. Better luck next debate, it will only be 18 feet above sea level.

  • SteveK

    Here’s Fact Checks complete statement:

    Fact Check – $5 Trillion Tax Cut

    The president said Romney was proposing a $5 trillion tax cut and Romney said he wasn’t. The president is off base here — Romney says his rate cuts and tax eliminations would be offset and the deficit wouldn’t increase.
    Obama: Governor Romney’s central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut — on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

    Romney: First of all, I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about.
    To be clear, Romney has proposed cutting personal federal income tax rates across the board by 20 percent, in addition to extending the tax cuts enacted early in the Bush administration. He also proposes to eliminate the estate tax permanently, repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, and eliminate taxes on interest, capital gains and dividends for taxpayers making under $200,000 a year in adjusted gross income.
    By themselves, those cuts would, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, lower federal tax liability by “about $480 billion in calendar year 2015” compared with current tax policy, with Bush cuts left in place. The Obama campaign has extrapolated that figure out over 10 years, coming up with a $5 trillion figure over a decade.
    However, Romney always has said he planned to offset that massive cut with equally massive reductions in tax preferences to broaden the tax base, thus losing no revenue and not increasing the deficit. So to that extent, the president is incorrect: Romney is not proposing a $5 trillion reduction in taxes.

    “So to that extent, the president is incorrect” boy howdy that’s one hell of an indictment… and Fact Check and dduck are both more than welcome to accept some vague ‘promise’ [sic] made by a man that:

    1. Has refused to go into detail of any of his schemes to save America.
    2. Proven himself time after time to be a blatant liar.
  • roro80

    Dduck, I can’t tell if you’re for real here. You don’t seem sarcastic, but I’ve misinterpreted before.

    Regardless of what you think may or may not have to happen, does or does not the unelected panel have the ability to dictate what medical procedures may be given and to whom, as Romney’s criticism says it does? No, no it does not. It is explicitly written into the law that they may not. Romney is just plain wrong.

    Does or does not Romney’s plan guarantee coverage for patients with Pre-existing conditions? No, no it does not. If a person has been incapable of purchasing insurance, or unable to afford a plan, due to their Pre-existing condition, for 90 days, Romney’s plan does not cover. He either doesn’t know what is in his plan is, or he is lying about it.

    And can you really say that Romney correctly portrayed his tax plan? He either rolled out a totally new plan last night, or he lied about his current plan. He has been saying he would lower taxes for high income earners (“job creators”) for his entire campaign. Now he’s saying he will not.

    C’mon man, let’s show a little honesty here. Obama was awful. Not doubt he pooped the bed on his performance. But Mitt, while putting in an excellent performance, did so with a load of lies.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “What Roro and SteveK and JS said”

  • adelinesdad

    Don’t worry, everyone, I’m here now so we can sort this out once and for all (I’m kidding).

    I start with this:

    No, fact-checkers aren’t perfect and we can quibble about some of their findings but overall it looks to me like both campaigns are stretching the truth in some ways and downright lying in other case. But let’s get into the specific claims here.

    1) To say it’s a 5 trillion tax cut is to ignore that he has said he will decrease deductions. Even given that it is arguably impossible mathematically to make up for the cut in rates by “base broadening”, it’s still not true that it’s a 5 trillion tax cut. And no, saying you will reduce deductions but not specifying which ones is not the same as saying you won’t reduce deductions. You can criticize him for not being specific. You can say his plan isn’t workable. But he’s not lying. He doesn’t have a 5 trillion dollar tax cut. And no, this is not a change in positions. He’s always said he will reduce deductions. It’s only a change if you believed the Democratic spin in the first place. What Romney said, that he doesn’t have a 5 trillion tax cut, is true.

    2) He has promised not to reduce taxes on the rich, and that he will raise the same amount of revenue. You can criticize his plan for not being specific about how those promises will be met, but can you say he’s lying for making a promise? Will he break his promise? Maybe, but we don’t know that yet. I can’t even rate the truth of a promise that he’s made about something he will do later. That doesn’t make sense. Was Obama lying when he said he would cut the deficit in half? He was lying if he knew he wouldn’t, and of course there’s no way to know that.

    3) 23 million. The question is whether people who are “part time for economic reasons” count as “out of work.” Literally, no they shouldn’t count. He would be closer, but still misleading, if he had said “looking for work”. Even better if he had just said, “or underemployed”. So, I’d rate this mostly false.

    4) Mostly false. They won’t tell people what they can’t have. That’s congress’ job.

    5) Pre-existing conditions. Yeah, I’ll go with lie on that one.

    Overall, that’s pretty typical for a politician I’d say. I’m not excusing him (I’m not voting for him) but I don’t think Obama has credibility to be crying foul.

  • zephyr

    Since when has lying become stylish?

    The GOP started embracing that concept with new gusto at least a dozen years ago. They’ve been ramping it up since, trying to imbue it more respectability.

  • The_Ohioan

    My teenage son never saw a used car he didn’t love. Since he never had more than $500 to buy one, he usually had to pay the junkyard $50 a few weeks, sometimes months, later to haul it away. Mr. Romney has entered the used car salesman portion of his career.

    He tells us a tax cut is not a tax cut if it’s revenue neutral. You know, like the Bush tax cuts. Oh, wait, they weren’t. Well, anyway.

    If we now continue the Bush tax cuts ($1 Trillion) and cut spending or close loopholes, or ____ to make up for the lost revenue, it will become that magical chimera – a revenue neutral tax cut.

    If we lower taxes by 20% on everyone – high, middle, and low class – and will cut spending, or close loopholes, or ____ that $4 Trillion(over 10 years) will also be revenue neutral. No reason we can’t go back to that same well for the $2 Trillion plus to make the largest most expensive defense department in the world even larger and more expensive.

    Now Congress, like my son with his beloved cars, never saw a tax cut it didn’t like. Closing loopholes, on the other hand, is like trying to cut diamonds with a plastic knife. It’s hard to do, but this particular congress just might be able to it. Mr. Romney is sure he can get the next congress to do it and all he has to do is sell us that used car chimera to get elected. Simple, no?

  • dduck

    Yes, roro, I was serious, and still am. People like to use the word “lies” around wily nily, while I say they all exaggerate and obfuscate, and yes they do lie (Mitt) I admitted that, above, but “gotcha” trumps all, here and out there.
    “We don’t seek truth, we seek conquest.”- unknown.
    AD, thanks for “the moderate view” on this, I don’t have the patience to shovel shit against the tide.
    Again, I’m serious.

  • roro80

    A previous comment that got eaten when the site when down yesterday said that I did understand the other side of the argument for the 23 million comment. It has the spirit of the truth — there are way, way too many people who are out of work, and a part-time minimum wage job isn’t sufficient to live on — even if it is not technically word-for-word really correct.

    The others do not have any spirit of truth for them. The reason the $5T number is being used as a first shot at what this will cost is that it is the only number that’s actually calculable from the extraordinary vageries given by Romney. There will be a new $5T cut that will theoretically be made up for with other cuts, although Romney evidently does not wish to take the hit that will inevitably come from specifiying which deductions will be made. Whether a technical “lie” or not, Romney is being purposefully dishonest about his tax plan, and is doing a 180 from what he has been campaigning on, which I hope nobody will deny has relied upon the idea that tax cuts for the rich creates jobs and growth. He realizes the unpopularity of that concept, and is trying to walk it back, or spin it in such a way that it doesn’t seem like he wants to do what he has been campaigning on doing. It is not consistent, and “lie” or not, it is not honest.

    dduck, let’s just say I’m surprised you would defend all of these positions and dishonesties.

  • SteveK

    He has promised not to reduce taxes on the rich

    Also from the Fact Check article posted in full above:

    He also proposes to eliminate the estate tax permanently

    Again another tax cut for the wealthy or at least only ‘middle class’ Americans with estates valued at $5,000,000.00 and above.

    Wikipedia – Estate Tax in the United States

    If an asset is left to a spouse or a (Federally recognized) charitable organization, the tax usually does not apply. For deaths occurring in 2011, up to $5,000,000 can be passed from an individual upon his or her death without incurring federal estate tax.It’s a shame that facts like this don’t stop ‘Middle Class’ Republicans from continuing to defend Candidate Romney and his willful lies… But they don’t.

  • SteveK

    He has promised not to reduce taxes on the rich

    Also from the Fact Check article posted in full above:

    He also proposes to eliminate the estate tax permanently

    Again another tax cut for the wealthy and ‘middle class’ Americans [sic] with estates valued at $5,000,000.00 and above.

    Wikipedia – Estate Tax in the United States

    If an asset is left to a spouse or a (Federally recognized) charitable organization, the tax usually does not apply. For deaths occurring in 2011, up to $5,000,000 can be passed from an individual upon his or her death without incurring federal estate tax.

    It’s a shame that facts like this don’t stop ‘Middle Class’ Republicans from continuing to defend Candidate Romney and his willful lies… But they don’t.

  • dduck

    Serious: Well, roro, thanks for understanding the 23 million figure, at least partially.

    And, I’ll have to go by Factcheck’s opinion on the $5 trillion. There usually are offsetting revenues.

    Some want the estate and gift tax revenue kept in place. Well keep the .3% and 7.4 billion (2011) that is about 12% of the green 90 billion for green stuff.

    And, thank you for not generalizing and categorizing entire groups.

    Sarcasm: Why are you surprised that I defend all that stuff, after all I am a Rep.

  • adelinesdad


    I think we’re mostly in agreement then except for the tax issue. Even the Tax Policy Center, who’s numbers the claim is based on, doesn’t say that Romney has a 5 trillion dollar tax cut. As you know, their analysis looked at one half of the policy and then tried to see what the other half would need to look like such that the entire policy would conform to Romney’s stated goals. Their conclusion is that it can’t be done mathematically. I think that’s arguable given some of their methodology, but I agree in substance that at least it is probably practically impossible. Romney will have to sacrifice at least one of his goals, and we don’t know which one he would choose*. Even if he chose to sacrifice the goal of revenue neutrality, their analysis does show that it can cost much less than 5 trillion. So, there’s no reasonable way to look at this that concludes that Romney’s tax cut will cost 5 trillion.

    *To his credit, in the last debate he said he will not sacrifice the goals of revenue or distributive neutrality. That means it would need to be one of the other three.

  • dduck

    AD, I agree, the 5 trillion was not Mitt’s figure and perhaps not achievable. But, neither was Obama’s figure of halving the deficit. He tried, but didn’t succeed, should we call him a liar? I’m sure some economists, at that time, would have said no, you can’t halve the deficit. Same thing for other “promises” a candidate makes, they are often wishful thinking and some plain bull.

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