Political Animal


October 31, 2012 10:49 AM Return of the Welfare Smear

By Ed Kilgore

Yesterday I talked about Romney doubling-down on the Jeep-Jobs-to-China fable, in the teeth of every known fact. Turns out that in the same state (Ohio) and elsewhere, Team Mitt’s just turned over the card table and defied the rules by resuming ads that repeat his campaign’s most infamous talking point, the Obama-Gutted-Welfare-Work-Requirements smear.

This particular pack o’ lies had mercifully faded from sight just after the Republican National Convention. But now it’s back with a vengeance, as HuffPost’s Sam Stein reports:

A Democratic media-tracking source said the spot is running in markets that include Cincinnati, Dayton, Parkersburg, Wheeling and Zanesville, in Ohio. It’s also running in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction in Colorado; Gainesville, Jacksonville, Panama City and Tampa in Florida; Davenport, Omaha, Ottumwa and Sioux City in Iowa; Rochester, N.Y.; Las Vegas; and Charlottesville and Roanoke in Virginia.
As newsworthy as the ad’s script is the way in which the Romney campaign released the new spot. There was no public pronouncement, at least not via email (the campaign did post the spot to its YouTube page). And it seems to fit a pattern. The campaign is throwing what it can against the wall in the election’s closing days. Any movement it creates among voters outweighs howls it may cause from the press corps, the campaign believes.

It fits a pattern, all right: just making stuff up to deceive voters and appeal to their worst impulses. Yeah, Moderate Mitt’s looking mighty presidential these days.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • stormskies on October 31, 2012 10:55 AM:

    Romney, at this point, seems to actually be a psychopath to me.

    Imagine a psychopath as president of our country.

  • T2 on October 31, 2012 10:57 AM:

    I guess "Obama cut 600 Billion from your Medicare Payments" won't be far behind.

  • Peter C on October 31, 2012 10:58 AM:

    This is the home stretch where they will sling all the lies they can think of. They are not constrained, either by money or ethics, and they've built their strategy based upon these premises.

  • c u n d gulag on October 31, 2012 11:00 AM:

    Mitt is running the "Cornered Rat" campaign.

    He and his backers can see the future, and know that if they're going to be any part of it, they need to grasp power NOW!
    Now, or else they'll be flushed down the toilet of history, as America's demographics continue to change.

    I've seen some mendacious campaigns, but nothing like this one.

    Oh, if only the MSM would pay less attention to the polls, and more to the issues, and the blatant and egregious lies coming from the Romney campaign!

    But, a person doesn't see what he/she's paid to not pay any attention to.

  • tonyroma on October 31, 2012 11:05 AM:

    I think its fairly simple: Romney knows that he's losing and is willing to throw every single piece of feces he can at the wall in trying to stem the inevitable.

    If he thought he were winning, he'd be pivoting toward a "Morning in America" theme instead of scorched earth. Tuesday can't come quick enough.

  • James M on October 31, 2012 11:10 AM:


    As much as I enjoy and generally agree with your comments, I must take exception here. I think (and many of the commenters on TPM seem to agree) that Mitt is actually a sociopath. I don't think he harbors any secret homicidal fantasies but he clearly lacks empathy or a conscience and is prepared to do anything to win.

    Given how little Mr. Romney seems to know about foreign policy, defense and other important issues, you kind of wonder why he wants to be president. A commenter on a post here some months ago suggested that the presidency is just a remaining item on Mr. Romney's bucket list. Seems to fit best to me.

    I expected all sorts of craziness in the last week, but I never though it would come directly from the Romney campaign. They seem not to have the lessons of the Bush elections that all really sleazy actions must be taken by 3rd parties.

    However, the fact that this guy is only a few percentage points from being POTUS is a truly scary thought.

  • stormskies on October 31, 2012 11:18 AM:

    James M.

    I sure hope you are right about that. Secret homicidal fantasies, seems to me, have many forms that are not limited to out right killing of someone. Vulture capitalism where so many souls almost lost everything due to Romney in the form of Bain capital, where profits were the bottom line not matter how many had to suffer including requiring workers to train others to take their jobs, is a form of homicide to me.

    Then again my total hate of this man may be coloring my perspective.

  • biggerbox on October 31, 2012 11:19 AM:

    The longer this campaign runs, the more things Romney gives me as a reason for voting against him. It's not just that Obama has convinced me to vote for him, it's that Romney has created a serious antipathy in me that wasn't there at the start of the campaign. The enthusiastic lying in these final days really makes me want to go vote against him.

    But I already have! So I guess that'll have to do.

  • deanarms on October 31, 2012 11:26 AM:

    These are the worst people in the world.

  • Ron Byers on October 31, 2012 11:30 AM:

    How would Romney govern if he wins?

  • Th on October 31, 2012 11:32 AM:

    After 9/11 even people who hated Bush cheered him on when he stood on the pile of rubble with the firemen. Romney's people know the same is happening now with Obama taking on the hurricane. They can't believe they are losing and will try anything.

  • SecularAnimist on October 31, 2012 11:35 AM:

    Ed Kilgore wrote: "Yeah, Moderate Mitt’s looking mighty presidential these days."

    He'll look presidential enough when he's being sworn in, once his campaign of blatant lies gets him close enough to steal the election through blatant fraud.

  • Werewolf on October 31, 2012 11:40 AM:


    My father, a psychiatrist, talks about "well-adjusted sociopaths", those who were born and raised in decent loving families. They have no empathy, but they know what society allows, and work within that. These are the cutthroat lawyers and corporate raiders. They'll screw you over, but they realize that actual killing will get them into trouble-and they're quite intelligent. They also know how to be charming.

    When you take a sociopath and abuse him/her, you get a killer. The best example is Hitler, who was beaten mercilessly by his father as a child. You know how he ended up.

  • stormskies on October 31, 2012 11:49 AM:


    Thanks for that ....

  • R on October 31, 2012 11:58 AM:

    I wonder if the Romney campaign is using this map
    to decide where to run this particular ad. At this point it wouldn't surprise me.

  • Anonymous on October 31, 2012 12:44 PM:

    Stormskies said: Then again my total hate of this man may be coloring my perspective.

    This last week is reminding me of two good quotes from H.L. Mencken:

    "In this world of pain and sorrow, there is much to be thankful for; as for me, I am thankful I am not a Republican"

    "There comes a time when even a reasonable man must hoist the black flag, spit on his hands and begin slitting throats."

    I have been paying attention to political campaigns since Eisenhower's re-election, and participating in all since JFK's election. I have never, ever, ever, seen such a totally sleazeball campaign, and I include the CREEP campaign of 1972 (which is where all the little Imps of Satan like Rove lost their virginity).

    This really is the most important political campaign in a major industrial country since the one in Germany in 1933.

  • TCinLA on October 31, 2012 12:46 PM:

    Anonymous above was me.
    Memo to self: need more coffee.

  • T2 on October 31, 2012 12:56 PM:

    Ron Byers asks : "How would Romney govern if he wins?"

    I wonder: "How could Romney govern if he wins?"

  • James E. Powell on October 31, 2012 4:29 PM:

    How would Romney govern if he wins?

    Questions like this are banned from campaign coverage in the corporate press/media.

    And the reason might be that there is little evidence that the general public has any interest in the answers to this question. I have observed, over the years, that anyone who brings this subject up or attempts to present information relevant to the question is ignored.