Political Animal


January 17, 2012 8:30 AM The most glaring lie of the night

By Steve Benen

It’s hard not to marvel at just how dishonest Mitt Romney is prepared to be in order to win. The notion of politicians misleading the public to advance their ambitions isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but Romney acts as if he doesn’t even care about getting caught, leading to blatant and obvious falsehoods.

This one, from last night’s debate, was just shameless.

“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.”

Look, I realize Romney’s busy, and keeping up on current events may be difficult, but Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress just four months ago, and at the time, presented a jobs plan. The whole thing has been online ever since. It’s been scrutinized, analyzed, and subjected to CBO scoring. It’s been debated; it’s been the subject of advertising; and it’s been voted on in the Senate.

Did Romney miss all of this?

Hell, Romney has even endorsed several of the provisions within the president’s jobs plan.

And now Romney would have voters believe Obama “does not have a jobs plan yet”?

In all likelihood, of course, Romney knows full well that the president has presented a detailed and credible jobs plan, but prefers to say otherwise because he (a) assumes voters are easily fooled; and (b) expects the media to give him a pass. He may well be right.

But that doesn’t make Romney’s dishonesty any less brazen.

Postscript: Incidentally, the former governor with an abysmal jobs record added, as part of his comment, that he’s “got [a jobs plan] out there already.” He really doesn’t. Romney has a plan for cutting taxes on the wealthy and giving Wall Street free rein to do as it pleases, but this does not a jobs plan make.

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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  • Hedda Peraz on January 17, 2012 8:34 AM:

    The "Food Stamps President" certainly does have a jobs plan:
    Hire lots of people to distribute food stamps.

  • terraformer on January 17, 2012 8:34 AM:

    As is pretty obvious by now, Romney's pandering to the low-information--well, let's just call it what it is--ignorant voter. Those for whom the phrase "educated electorate" represents a islamosocialcommunist plot. So it doesn't matter; no one will call him on it (need that be said?), and the people for whom the lie is targeted just want to feel good about themselves and be able to repeat the lie to friends as an example of their being "in the know."

  • MattF on January 17, 2012 8:42 AM:


    A.k.a, the Fox Factor. In fact, it goes beyond taking advantage of voter ignorance-- we have politicians who are invested in ignorance. Voter ignorance is their advantage and they will do what they can to preserve it and spread it.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on January 17, 2012 8:47 AM:

    What terraformer said .
    That lie will be circulated as fact by flaming emails from your crazy uncle and will receive exactly ZERO push back from our ever vigilant MSM.
    The applause that Newt got for his racist views tells you all you need to know .
    These are some seriously backward mfkers.
    I really worry about this election thanks to Citizens United.
    It is going to get very very ugly.

  • Holly W on January 17, 2012 8:48 AM:

    The Obama campaign should cut an ad that highlights Romney's lying and make his dishonesty part of the campaign narrative. Juxtapose Obama presenting jobs bill to congress with date, economists predicting it will create jobs, Republicans blocking it, (4 months later) Romney saying Obama has no jobs plan yet. And other lies.

    Also maybe another one where he says Obama has made the recession worse, juxtaposed with Romney saying "Of course things are getting better..."

  • Ron Byers on January 17, 2012 8:52 AM:

    Yeh, Steve seems to forget that the people to whom Romney and Gingrich are talking really believe Obama is the food stamp President and that he doesn't have a jobs plan.

    The President does a great job with speeches, but he needs to send out surrogates to tell people what is going on. Where are the local Democratic officials? Where are the local party leaders? Everybody is an air warrior. Nobody is holding the ground or expanding Democratic territory. We need to see the revival of the Democratic Party. If we aren't going to ever have equal air time we need to have some counter balance to Fox News and talk radio. Maybe a virtual party built on social networking tools. Nothing, however, beats local party events.

  • Holly W on January 17, 2012 8:54 AM:

    Sorry, one more thing: didn't, in a previous debate, Romney call to eliminate 10% of federal jobs?

  • slappy magoo on January 17, 2012 8:56 AM:

    Republican statements never need to be proven true. They just need to be made. Thus, by being spoken by Republicans, they become true. Those who claim otherwise are liars. Many of you don't believe this. You are not Republicans. You are not deserving of truth, if you were you would be Republicans.

    Oh, and we've always been at war with Eastasia...

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012 8:58 AM:

    sick-n-effn-tired, I am sick and tired of people blaming the media for not pushing back against Republican lies.

    We should be pushing back. You should be starting the pushback email.

    Don't bitch about the media. They give their audience what they think they want to hear. The Democratic party needs to do the push back. Where is Debbie Whats Her Name? Is she out stalking another Democrat to throw under the bus? Where are the state Democratic chairs? Are the Gray Hairs too tired playing with their grandchildren that they can't organize push back campaigns?

  • T2 on January 17, 2012 9:01 AM:

    elect Republicans and get a government of Liars and Crooks. That's how they roll.

  • Danp on January 17, 2012 9:04 AM:

    Romney's jobs plan is the same as Bush's. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • RepublicanPointOfView on January 17, 2012 9:08 AM:

    Obviously, Benen is taking this out of context. Mitt obviously meant that Obama does not have a jobs program that has passed congress. Quite obviously that is because Obama has been uncivil and unwilling to compromise with the republicans leaders of Congress who have bent over backwards to work with him.

    Another lie by Benen about Mitt not having a jobs plan. Mitt very much has a jobs plan that addresses the major problems with our economy; that 1) the wealthy do not have enough wealth, 2) we have too large a middle class, and 3) that the poor do not pay enough taxes. Once we successfully address these 3 issues, our jobs creators will create jobs.

  • Ron Byers on January 17, 2012 9:12 AM:

    I am Anonymous at 8:58 AM

  • SKM on January 17, 2012 9:16 AM:

    We need Alan Grayson to deal with these race-baiting republicans.

    Oh, and apparently these republicans and their base is not talking about Sean Quinn. Quinn was the richest man in Ireland, worth $7 billion. He's now bankrupt. The bank gave him easy credit, now he's bankrupted the bank -
    But, news reports he'd be able to get credit in a year.

    On another note, highschool students, yes, highschool students in Indonesia designed/built a car. The cars look like Hondas and Toyota (looks real nice)...they said they want to have their own cars, using their own parts, and stop working low-paid insourced (overseas imported) jobs. Meanwhile, if we keep on the road of GOP, we won't be able to compete.

  • kevo on January 17, 2012 9:28 AM:

    When speaking to Southern Republican voters who carry racial emotionalism within themselves individually and collectively at all times, saying anything you want about an African American man is fair game!

    Romney is fiercely cynical in his quest for power! -Kevo

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on January 17, 2012 9:34 AM:

    @Ron Byers (anonymous) Thanks for your support, but you have no idea what I am doing here in Central ( -we -voted 65%- for -John -McCain) Florida. I fight battles every day and assist the local Democratic Club. I am an active supporter trying to get Allan Grayson reelected.
    And yes I still blame the media , Because they are NOT DOING their fucking job.

  • Marko on January 17, 2012 9:45 AM:

    In other news, Mitt Romney said last night that the sun is blue and it's all Obama's fault that the crops are dying. And all the sheeple went, "Baah!"

  • SYSPROG on January 17, 2012 10:01 AM:

    What I wonder is the next time Romney piously talks about 'faith, family and values' why people don't ask if LYING is one of those values. Oh right. That person would be removed from the room for pointing out the obvious. It's up to US!!! Not only to hit every town meeting but to write every single newspaper and blog and congresscritter about the LYING. Hell write Stewart/Colbert and ask their 'superpac' to make a commercial.

  • Rich on January 17, 2012 10:02 AM:

    The real story here is that Romney lied (along with his peers) and that gets little attention from our timid media.

  • Grumpy on January 17, 2012 10:03 AM:

    "Mitt obviously meant that Obama does not have a jobs program that has passed congress."

    That won't work either. The ARRA was a jobs program, and it passed Congress in Obama's first 100 days. Unless Romney is making some metaphysical point: he doesn't believe ARRA created jobs, therefore it wasn't a jobs plan.

  • SKM on January 17, 2012 10:06 AM:

    I'm not in Florida, but, would love to contribute/donate. Is there a website?

    If so please leave the information. I'll get it later on this evening. I truly miss Grayson and want him back.

  • jjm on January 17, 2012 10:49 AM:

    I think the GOP is terminally addicted to lying as their proven method of winning. They cannot break the habit in the face of the facts, of course, believing so strongly as they do that they can lie with impunity and simply make reality follow suit.

    I think circumstances have changed, however. They control the msm, but not the internet, yet...

    Nonetheless we have to ask if the GOP's clearly delusional clinging to the technique of big lying is a worrisome symptom of their (and their audience's) increasingly questionable mental health.

  • Dave on January 17, 2012 11:53 AM:

    The psychopath's go-to response is to lie.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on January 17, 2012 2:18 PM:

    @ SKM here is the site . You should sign up for the newsletters. He is what most Dems should be about . Call them out loud and often.

    Typical letter:
    Dear John:

    A few days ago, Governor Perry said: “I would send troops back into Iraq.” (He pronounced it “Eye-rack.”) And he gave a thought-provoking rationale: that the end of that occupation means that “every young man that [sic] lost his life in that country will have been for nothing.”

    Well, I would like to do what Albert Einstein called a “thought experiment,” which is thinking through a hypothetical situation in order to examine its consequences.

    Suppose, hypothetically, that there were a country in the Western Hemisphere called “Amurricuh,” and a country in the Middle East called “Irab.” Lots of Irabs live in Irab.

    Suppose, hypothetically, that a terrorist group destroys two very large buildings in Amurricuh, and kills a couple of thousand Amurricuns in the process. Suppose, also, that the leaders of that group reside not in Irab, but rather (with apologies to Herman Cain) in “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.” (Yes, this man once led in the polls to become the Republican candidate for President.) Suppose that less than 1000 Special Forces Amurricun troops overthrow the government of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, and then force the leaders of that terrorist group out of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan. But not to Irab; to a totally different country called “Mohenjo-Daro.”

    Are you still with me? Now this hypothetical gets really complicated. Suppose that the leader of Amurricuh believes, regarding the leader of Irab, that “he tried to kill my Daddy.” Real revenge stuff, like something out of “The Godfather.” Anyway, let’s suppose that the leader of Amurricuh then tries to stir his people up against the leader of Irab by saying that the leader of Irab supported the terrorists who destroyed those two large buildings. (A little irony here -- the leader of the terrorists always refers to the leader of Irab as “the infidel,” and is, in fact, his sworn and lifelong enemy.) Let’s also suppose that the leader of Amurricuh claims that the leader of Irab is planning to attack more large buildings in Amurricuh, with a fleet of giant dirigibles filled with hydrogen. “We can’t let the smoking gun be a smoking balloon,” his national security chief says. (Hypothetically, an oil company named Chev-Ron named an oil tanker after her, but that is neither here nor there.) Suppose that Amurricuh’s Minister of “Defense” says that an invasion of Irab will pay for itself, and that Irabs will greet Amurricun soldiers as liberators.

    I know that this is really farfetched. But just suppose.

    OK, so Amurricun forces invade Irab, and overthrow the leader of Irab. They capture him, and he is executed. But suppose that the Irabi government collapses in the process, that certain groups use this occupation as an excuse for ethnic cleansing, that approximately 500,000 Irabs die, and two or three million become refugees. Also, no electricity and no clean water for millions of Irabs, for years. Oh, and the Amurricuns tell the Irabs that Irab needs to turn over its oil wealth to foreign oil companies for “development.”

    Suppose also that the Amurricun forces find no dirigibles, and no hydrogen. Not even any helium. Like, nothing. And, of course, no evidence that the leader of Irab ever supported the leader of the terrorists, because actually, they despised each other.

    Now let’s suppose that for several years, Amurricun soldiers look for dirigibles that aren’t there, which makes them very hard to find, while Irab becomes just as dangerous for Irabs as Somalia is for Somalis. Let’s also suppose that during that time, the war in Irab costs the Amurricun people four trillion frogskins (so called because the currency is green). This is more than 13,000 frogskins per Amurricun, and roughly eight percent of Amurricuh’s net worth as a nation, accumulated over two centuries.

    Also, let’s suppose that almost two million Amurricun soldiers eventually get shipped to Irab, and 250,000 return from Irab with permanent brain abnormalities. Hypothetically.

    Let’s suppose that the Irabs eventually get their act together, and have an election. And every major party in that Irabi election pledges to get the Amurricun forces out of the country, for the simple reason that Irab has become a shambles since they came. Plus no one likes to have his country occupied by a foreign army, comprising soldiers of foreign races and faiths, who doesn’t speak his language (the language of Irabic). Just suppose.

    OK, so the Irabs negotiate an agreement with the Amurricuns, in which the Amurricuns insist on staying for three more years. The Irabs say, “whatever,” but at least they know the Amurricuns are going to leave.

    Now let’s suppose that during this three-year waiting period, 100,000 Amurricun soldiers are target practice for IEDs. More deaths, lots and lots of head injuries.

    Meanwhile, the leader of a hypothetical country called “France” decides to remove the leader of another hypothetical country called “Libya.” He accomplishes this without landing a single “French” soldier in “Libya.” The total cost of this operation for “France” is 413 million frogskins, WHICH IS LESS THAN THE COST OF THE WAR IN IRAB EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Please excuse the capitalization. I just find hypotheticals incredibly exciting.)

    So the Amurricun troops leave, almost nine years after the occupation began. Hypothetically, there is a governor of a rather large Southern state who wants to be President of the Confederacy, but finds out that it is 150 years too late for that. His name is Governor Cretin. (That’s pronounced “Creh-Teen,” with a Southern drawl. And it’s really wrong of you to make fun of his good family name.) Governor Cretin says that God has told him to run for President of Amurricah, but he never says which aspect of God – the Father, the Son, or . . . what’s that third one? Oops.

    Now let’s suppose that Governor Cretin is in a Presidential debate, and he says that Amurricuh must re-invade Irab. Governor Cretin ignores all lies about how Irab helped the terrorists attack Amurricuh; the dirigibles that weren’t there; the Irabs who died, were injured, or lost their homes; the enormous expense of the occupation; the terrible effect it had on Amurricuh’s reputation in the world; and the rather unflattering comparison to what “France” was able to accomplish for microscopically less in money and blood. Forgetting all of that, he says that we must throw good lives after bad, because if not, then all of those earlier deaths “will have been for nothing.”

    And that is the sad, sad conclusion of this thought experiment. Maybe they were lost for nothing. Maybe they were.


    Alan Grayson

  • CL38 on January 17, 2012 4:01 PM:

    Romney would be as unscrupulous a President, as he is as a candidate.

  • Richard on January 17, 2012 5:37 PM:

    WHY are so many idiots voting for this madman? My speculation is that the vast majority of the American people are the stupidest and most ignorant people in the world. This is from an article on AlterNet.
    "Romney doesn't want the public to know he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class workers. Because Romney still collects seven-figure checks from his vulture-capitalist firm, he benefits from the "carried interest" loophole, which taxes private equity and venture capital income at a lower, 15% rate, as compared to 35% on ordinary income.

    As we recently discussed, it creates a dynamic that Romney would prefer to downplay:

    1. Mitt Romney is worth $250 million.

    2. He got rich by laying off American workers.

    3. He pays a lower tax rate than you and the rest of the middle class.

    4. He wants to be president so he can keep it this way."

  • SKM on January 17, 2012 10:45 PM:


    Thanks for the information on Grayson. I will be getting in contact and will spread the information that he will be running again. I miss him, especially with the healthcare discussion on the floor. Anthony Weiner was the same way, he'd fight the GOP, and so did Spitzer. I think this is why they tried to get all of the fighters out.