Political Animal


January 20, 2012 3:00 PM Chronicling Mitt’s mendacity

By Steve Benen

Two weeks ago, I launched a new Friday afternoon feature, highlighting the most offensive Mitt Romney falsehoods of the week. Last Friday’s installment was well received, so let’s keep this going with a third.

1. “The president is planning on cutting $1 trillion out of military spending.”

That’s a Romney favorite, but it’s not at all accurate.

2. “This president has opened up no new markets for American goods around the world in his three years, even as European nations and China have opened up 44.”

That’s not even close to being true.

3. “We’ve got a president in office three years, and he does not have a jobs plan yet. I’ve got one out there already and I’m not even president, yet.”

This one actually includes multiple lies.

4. “Our navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917.”

That’s wildly misleading and intended to deceive.

5. “[D]on’t forget who it was that cut Medicare by $500 billion. And that was President Obama, to pay for Obamacare.”

As Romney almost certainly knows, that’s just not true.

6. “I went off on my own. I didn’t inherit money from my parents.”

Yes, actually, he did.

7. “While we’ve got $15 trillion of debt, [the president] said, ‘Look, I’m going to put another $1 trillion of debt for Obamacare.’”

That’s demonstrably ridiculous. The Affordable Care Act doesn’t add to the debt, it cuts the debt by hundreds of billions of dollars.

8. “I stood as a pro-life governor and that’s why the Massachusetts Pro-Life Family Association supported my record as governor, endorsed my record as governor.”

Actually, Romney was a pro-choice governor until late in his term (right around the time he decided he’s run for president as a culture warrior), and when he was endorsed by the Massachusetts Pro-Life Family Association, Romney forcefully rejected their support.

9. “I’m concerned about the poor in this country. We have to make sure the safety net is strong and able to help those who can’t help themselves. I’m not terribly worried about the very wealthiest in our society; they’re doing just fine.”

In reality, Romney wants to slash spending on programs that benefit the poor, shred the safety net, and give the very wealthiest in our society another generous tax cut.

10. Romney described himself as “someone who’s lived in the real streets of America.”

It’s unclear what constitutes a “real” street in Romney’s mind, but given his wealth and background, this is, at a minimum, entirely misleading.

So far, the political world has been reluctant to call Romney out on his dishonesty, and some in the media even seem taken aback when others, including Republicans, accuse the former governor of being deceitful.

I’m afraid we may be moving deeper into an era of “post-truth politics.”

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • T2 on January 20, 2012 3:08 PM:

    and understand...this is the guy the GOP Hierarchy wants to win the nomination (although they don't like him). Has there ever been a US political party so dependent on just plain lying? On the other hand, has there ever been a time when the Media was so Controlled/Cowed that they'd let it get this far?

  • TCinLA on January 20, 2012 3:11 PM:

    What I'd hope to see once Willard is the candidate, is for the first Presidential debate with Obama, Obama calls him on every lie and pulls out the evidence otherwise - the media would then be forced to do something about it.

    of course, with the Cretin's News Network and Faux Noise being the "leading media," I am sure we won't have to worry. Those two prove that Paddy Chayevsky had a failure of imagination when he wrote "Network."

  • Ron Byers on January 20, 2012 3:11 PM:

    Romney's stump speech is a compendeum of right wing myths. Romney is embellishing his "street cred" while repeating falsehoods right wingers believe to be the truth.

    My question is where are the Democratic truth tellers pushing back with reality? Where are the Obama surrogates telling the truth?

  • c u n d gulag on January 20, 2012 3:15 PM:

    This is not "post-truth politics."

    It's the era of "viral-untruth politics."
    Spread as much BS as possible, and see what spreads, and see what sticks.

  • Ron Byers on January 20, 2012 3:17 PM:

    T2 f**k the media. They aren't going to act as truth vigilantes. Democrats are the only ones who can push back. When are they going to come out swinging?

    I mean have you ever watched Debbie Wasserman Schultz and what about David Axelrod just last week. Weak tea both of them. We need some real Democratic fire crackers. Too bad the Washington based Democrats are such panzies.

  • aznew on January 20, 2012 3:22 PM:

    I can't believe you missed this one:

    "I'm not questioned on character or integrity very often,"

    I mean, sheesh, you question his integrity and character every day.

  • SkJL on January 20, 2012 3:25 PM:

    When Mitt stated that he didn't inherit money from his parents, he probably meant to say that his inheritance wasn't very much money. lol

  • T2 on January 20, 2012 3:28 PM:

    Byers, I agree....maybe the Dems are waiting until Mitt and Newt fight it out. I heard a New York Congressman, Steve Israel (D) get pretty pointed the other day....need to hear more from him.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 20, 2012 3:31 PM:

    Chronicling Mitt's mendacity

    Mr. Benen, why on earth would you use such a polite and enlightened title to enumerate Mittbot's steady stream of falsehoods.

    I would recommend the title of this recurring installment as follows: LIES, Lies, and more lies... and then some more just when you thought he was finished lying. A bit wordy, but I think it captures the spirit.

  • Mark-NC on January 20, 2012 3:31 PM:

    In Mittens defense, he does live in America and America does have real streets. I'd even assume that, as he floats above it all, he can even see them down below.

    That's about as close as he gets to telling the truth.

    GREAT, went through 8-9 Captchas before I found one I could read

  • j on January 20, 2012 3:32 PM:

    The republicans do not care, Mittens will say anything,the objective is to get Obama out of the White House.
    The repubs are going to rely on VP Christie to run things, just like Cheney did, they will do the bidding of the war lords and defense contractors, it does not take much know how to do that!

  • Ron Byers on January 20, 2012 3:40 PM:

    For me one of the biggest right wing myths that is simply accepted by our elected Democrats is "the stimulus didn't work." Bullshit, it might not have been as effective as we would have liked, but it worked. Just look at Benen's chart.

    Where are the Democrats hitting that softball out of the park?

  • T2 on January 20, 2012 3:43 PM:

    and GM has now retaken the #1 car maker in the world, thank's to President Obama's bailout. Mitt Romney wanted to "let them fail". I expect to hear that in the general campaign.

  • Pal2008 on January 20, 2012 3:45 PM:

    Whats truth got to do with it? This is war and taking back America is the only thing that matters.

  • artsmith on January 20, 2012 3:53 PM:

    OK, I hope someone's thought of this already, but when are we going to see that web ad titled "The Streets of Mitt Romney"? It would seem a relatively simple matter to get photos of the street he grew up on, Harvard Yard, whatever prep school he went to, the mansion while living in Paris for his "missionary" work, and the streets of his current 3 or 4 homes.

  • Ohioan on January 20, 2012 3:56 PM:

    Steve - for the 2008 election cycle, you built a single web page chronicling the McCain flip flops that journalists could bookmark (in the rare instance that they wanted to):


    I wonder if this year you should do the same for Romney, except with multiple subcategories: Romney lies, Romney flipflops, Romney acting like a rich richington, etc?

  • JimAtl on January 20, 2012 3:57 PM:

    I'm astounded that such purveyors of High Christian Morals seem to see nothing wrong with violating some of the basics of the 10 Commandments. Clearly the Republicans can find nothing wrong with ignoring Commandment number 9 (bearing false witness) but OMG don't forget to boot-stomp the gays! Wait, do Mormons believe in the 10 Commandments or that something the Angel Moroni said they could ignore? Just sayin'....

  • g on January 20, 2012 4:03 PM:

    George Romney died in 1995. Mitt was already a wealthy man, having been at Bain Capital since 1984. He could afford to give the money to charity.

  • rrk1 on January 20, 2012 5:06 PM:

    Electronbic billboards and websites nationwide cataloging Romney's lies daily are what the Dim-Democrats should be running. But they have no strategy and no message, yet they think they can win with nothing even though the Rethugs have something - lies and mendacity though it is.

    Hoping the corporate MSM will sort it all out for us is a delusional fantasy. Expecting individuals to be able to sort it out for themselvs is ridiculous. The big lie works. Bigger lies work even better.

    Totally disgusted.

  • Crusty the Clown on January 20, 2012 5:47 PM:

    Aw, come on!! You guys are too hard on the Mittster. After all, he did "rescue" the 2002 Winter Olympics (with a HUGE bailout by Uncle Sam of taxpayers' dollars - was it $1.3 billion?) all by his lonesome. Ya gotta give credit where credit's due.

  • Texas Aggie on January 20, 2012 7:08 PM:

    The link about the jobs programs stated that Obama did indeed have several jobs programs that had been defeated in the House. What it didn't state is that Mitt doesn't have a jobs program at all. What he has is a tax cut program, which if anything, will reduce jobs.

  • exlibra on January 20, 2012 7:39 PM:

    10. Romney described himself as “someone who’s lived in the real streets of America.” -- Steve Benen

    Just because they'd all been Easy rather than Main or Mean, doesn't mean they were not Real.

    Craptcha has been hateful today. And now, when for once it's legible straight off, it's confused. "Westsg Amos". It's not Amos; it's Alan and nothing to do with the subject at hand, anyway.

  • KurtRex1453 on January 20, 2012 8:08 PM:

    If Romney wins and gets control of the vast machinery for disinformation at the disposal of the Federal Government everything, every statistic, datum, and bit of info the government provides the public will be suspect. If it looks like he is winning I would be included to set up different methods of obtaining data.

  • Anonymous on January 20, 2012 9:00 PM:

    Hey T2? Romney already said that Obama 'just did what I advised him to do' about the GM bailout. Yep, he's takin' credit for it. But my favorite LIE OF THE WEEK was 'I'm right and you're wrong' when talking to a 99%er...along with the 'Love it or Leave it comment'...WTF? Where were YOU in '68?

  • Doug on January 20, 2012 9:10 PM:

    To those wondering when the Democrats are going tos start fighting back, I have two questions:
    - How much are you sending in to the various Democratic organizations/candidates? Because the MSM isn't inviting Democrats onto the programs, in case you haven't noticed, and ads cost money. There's also the problem that ANY Democratic ad pointing out Mittens' habitual lying will immediately be dismissed by the MSM, and a large chunk of the population, as "What else would Democrats say?" Remember the shock and disbelief when Newt called Romney a liar? It'll be even greater should any Democrat do so.
    - How much information are you spreading around via letters-to-the-editor, emails, general conversations, etc? Any time any of us can get a response that isn't an automatic rejection, we increase the chances of re-electing Mr. Obama and, with luck, providing him with a Congress that will work with him to begin fixing our myriad of problems.
    These questions aren't an attempt to place any blame or anything such as that. I simply want to re-emphasize the problems we're going to be facing this year. Of course, IF the MSM should suddenly remember WHY they're referred to as the "Fourth Estate", the seats in the House and Senate will have to be re-arranged to accomodate all the freshmen Democrats in 2013. I'm NOT holding my breath...
    Right now the Republicans are fighting amongst themselves and doing a great job tearing each other down. SOME of that will stick in peoples' minds, but it seems to me that OUR job is to keep reminding people what Romney is - a political prostitute the likes of which haven't been seen before outside of a bad Hollywood movie of the 1930s.
    Politicians are usually sensitive to public opinion and base many of their actions on what they perceive will or will not be supported by the voters. What they normally DON'T do is deny whatever position they once held, saying instead that they're bowing to the public will on a policy or some such cliche, while still remaining consistent in their personal support of that policy.
    Romney, on the other hand, goes out of his way to repudiate his previous stances, denying he even ever held them. And this in an era of immediate data retrieval where his original statements are easily accessible! THAT is where he's the most vulnerable.
    He's an egregious, compulsive liar and simply cannot be trusted. He doesn't "spin" or "fudge" the facts, he lies. Straight-out, verifiable lies. Nor are his lies "white" lies, done to protect the sensibiities of someone or the "safety" of the country. Mitt Romney lies for the sole purpose of getting what he, Mitt Romney, wants.
    The White House.

  • jo on January 21, 2012 5:51 AM:

    I'm really liking your Friday roundup of lies for the past week. Keep it up ! We need to be informed and none of the press are doing this, except for a few.

    Good reading, good information, great links. I have made a folder to keep your comments in.

    Thank you

  • SKM on January 21, 2012 8:27 AM:

    I also think that Steve should include the number of times Willard loses his cool.
    1) Mitt Romney loses his cool to an Iowa radio show host on 2007 while defending his religion, see here 12min. www.youtube.com/watchv=1MRb1wshAvU

    2) loses it when questioned by a 99% about what he'd do for the 99% and he tells the guy to love it or leave it.

    3) his argument on a compaign stump that 'corporations are people.'

    4) his argument during a debate with Perry saying, 'you had your turn. Now it's mine.'

    And we can add in here the story about Matt Bieber, Iowa, who said the Romney campaign hired the town's police to arrest protestors, but he wasn't there to protest. *Could be why he lost Iowa to Santorum?

    There are reports that as a Board of Director for Marriott International (hotels) his salary is/was $113,881.00 - board members usually meet about 6 times a year.

  • Crusty the Clown on January 21, 2012 9:02 AM:

    Republican Mitt Romney acknowledged Tuesday that his income tax rate is "probably closer to 15 percent than anything." Uh, guys, EVERY number BELOW 15 is arguably closer to 15 than it is to, say, 25. A master dissembler is playing you for a sucker. It's a shell game and it ain't for chump change.

  • The Woodman on January 21, 2012 1:53 PM:

    Why hasn't anyone mentioned, investigated, reported and/or exposed the obvious constitutional violation committed by Mitt's daddy and the republican party when he (Mitt's daddy) ran for the republican nomination. Not only is it part of Mitt's and his family's biography and he mentioned it during Thursday's debate, his father was born in MEXICO!!!! How in the hell could he have run for president, not being a natural-born U.S. citizen?! I guess country of birth only matters if it's a democrat and/or a person of increased epidermal melanin concentration when seeking the presidency. Afterall, John McCain was born was born in the Panama Canal Zone and he was the republican nominee last time around.