Many viewers walked away from the debate last night thinking Romney won. What wasn’t to like? The fictional Mitt Romney of last night wasn’t going to defund education, tax the middle class to pay for more tax cuts for the rich, and aside from his Kill Elmo reveal, his policies weren’t offensive.
Romney was offensive, rude and arrogant (and not in a good way), but his policies weren’t the kind of crazy he’s been bragging up on the trail. He abandoned the Tea Party and the GOP last night, and basically fashioned himself into a rough outline of Obama, policy wise. The problem is, he was lying. That was a fictional Romney, not the Romney we have on tape from the entire past year, or for that matter all the way back to 1994.
So if Mitt Romney won this debate, he did it by lying about who he is and how he plans to govern. He stood on that stage and huffed and puffed how dare Obama claim he was going to defund education, when we know for a fact that not only did he float that in Massachusetts, but press overheard him at a closed door fundraiser telling his donors that he couldn’t tell us he was going to kill the Department of Education, so he would starve it in other ways. That guy, the guy who sneeringly explained how he couldn’t tell you the truth, he was poutraged last night when Obama called him on his sudden shape shifting.
Mitt Romney told outright lies about his record on several occasions – at least 12 times. The day after the debate, the brutal results of presenting a fictional Romney are starting to sink in.
To replay some of Romney’s lies, OFA has released a new web video:
ROMNEY LIE #1: ROMNEY SAYS HIS FIVE POINT PLAN WILL LEAD US TO PROSPERITY, BUT INDEPENDENT ANALYSTS SAY IT WOULD ACTUALLY HURT THE ECONOMY
Romney: “My Plan Has Five Basic Parts. … I’ll Restore The Vitality That Gets America Working Again.” [Romney, Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
Senior Adviser At Moody’s Analytics Mark Hopkins: Romney’s Policies “Would Do More Harm In The Short Term” And “If We Implemented All Of His Policies, It Would Push Us Deeper Into Recession And Make The Recovery Slower.” [Greg Sargent, Washington Post, 6/7/12]
ROMNEY LIE #2: ROMNEY SAID HIS TAX PLAN WOULDN’T HURT THE MIDDLE CLASS, BUT IT WILL RAISE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS WHILE CUTTING THEM FOR MULTIMILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES
Romney: “I Will Not, Under Any Circumstances, Raise Taxes On Middle-Income Families.” [Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
If Romney’s Tax Plan Was Paid For, Families With Kids Who Make Less Than $200,000 Would See An Average Tax Increase Of $2,041. [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 18, 8/1/12]
ROMNEY LIE #3: ROMNEY WOULDN’T REDUCE TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY – BUT IN FACT, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HIS PLAN DOES
Romney rolled out a whole new tax plan last night. 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. My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They’ll do fine whether you’re president or I am.” [Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
If Romney’s Tax Plan Was Paid For, The Top 0.1% Would See An Average Tax Cut Of $246,652. [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 19, 8/1/12]
ROMNEY LIE #4: ROMNEY CLAIMS HIS TAX PLAN ISN’T LIKE ANYTHING WE’VE TRIED BEFORE – BUT IT’S THE SAME TRICKLE-DOWN SCHEME WE’VE SEEN BEFORE
ROMNEY: “My plan is not like anything that’s been tried before. My plan is to bring down rates, but also bring down deductions and exemptions and credits at the same time so the revenue stays in, but that we bring down rates to get more people working.” [Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
Romney: “As president, I will firmly oppose tax increases. I will make today’s low individual tax rates permanent, cut business taxes, and make the tough calls necessary to bring spending back in line with what we can afford. I will cap spending at 20% of GDP by 2016, which will require between $400 billion and $500 billion in cuts.” [Romney op-ed, USA Today, 2/8/12]
Romney’s 59 Point Plan: Make The Bush Tax Cuts Permanent. “As with the marginal income tax rates, Mitt Romney will seek to make permanent the lower tax rates for investment income put in place by President Bush.” [Romney’s Plan For Jobs And Economic Growth, 9/6/11]
Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: “Romney Can’t Explain How His Policies Differ From That Of George W. Bush.” [Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 7/27/12]
ROMNEY LIE #5: ROMNEY’S PLAN WOULDN’T AFFECT CURRENT SENIORS’ SOCIAL SECURITY, BUT HIS TAX PLAN WOULD TAX SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
Romney Said His Plan Wouldn’t Change Social Security For Current Retirees. Romney: “And the answer is neither the president nor I are proposing any changes for any current retirees or near retirees, either to Social Security or Medicare. So if you’re 60 or around 60 or older, you don’t need to listen any further.” [Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
Tax Policy Center: Assuming Romney Pays For His Tax Plan By Cutting Deductions Would Put On The Table Provisions Like The “The Partial Exclusion Of Social Security Benefits.” [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, 8/1/12]
ROMNEY LIE #6: ROMNEY SAID HIS TAX PLAN WON’T COST $5 TRILLION, BUT HIS PLAN HAS BEEN SCORED AT $5 TRILLION – IN ADDITION TO THE COST OF EXTENDING THE BUSH TAX CUTS
ROMNEY: “I think first of all, let me — let me repeat — let me repeat what I said. I’m not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That’s not my plan. My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit. That’s point one. So you may keep referring to it as a $5 trillion tax cut, but that’s not my plan.” [Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: Romney’s New Tax Cuts Would Cost $4.9 Trillion Over A Decade, On Top Of The Cost Of Extending The Bush Tax Cuts. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/21/12]
ROMNEY LIE #7: HE CLAIMED HIS PLAN WOULDN’T ADD TO THE DEFICIT
ROMNEY: “And finally, with regards to that tax cut, look, I’m not looking to cut massive taxes and to reduce the — the revenues going to the government. My — my number one principle is there’ll be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that — no tax cut that adds to the deficit.” [Romney, Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
Tax Policy Center: Romney’s Tax Plan Would Drive Up The Deficit By $480 Billion In 2015 Alone. [Tax Policy Center, The Romney Plan (updated), 3/1/12]
ROMNEY LIE #8: ROMNEY CLAIMED THERE ARE SIX STUDIES THAT CALLED HIS PLAN REVENUE NEUTRAL BUT FACT CHECKERS SAY HE’S FLAT WRONG
Romney: “Now, you cite a study, there’s 6 other studies that looked at the study described and say it’s completely wrong.” [Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler: “Romney Has Countered That “Six Other Studies” Have Found That The Plan Can Be Revenue Neutral, But He’s Wrong About That.” Those studies actually do not provide much evidence that Romney’s proposal — as sketchy as it is — would be revenue neutral without making unrealistic assumptions. [Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, 10/3/12]
ROMNEY LIE #9: ROMNEY ARGUED THAT HIS PLAN WOULDN’T CUT EDUCATION, BUT IT COULD MEAN A CUT OF MORE THAN $115 BILLION OVER THE NEXT DECADE
Romney: “All Right, I’m Not Going To Cut Education Funding. I Don’t Have Any Plan To Cut Education Funding And — And Grants That Go To People Going To College.” [Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
If Cuts Were Applied Across The Board, Ryan’s Budget Would Cut “The Department Of Education … By More Than $115 Billion Over A Decade… The Department of Education would be cut by more than $115 billion over a decade.” [Jeff Zients, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, WH.gov, 3/21/12]
ROMNEY LIE #10: HE CLAIMS HIS ENERGY PLAN WILL MAKE NORTH AMERICA ENERGY INDEPENDENT, BUT IT’S TOO DEPENDENT ON OIL AND DRILLING
Romney: “I Want To Get America And North America Energy Independent So We Can Create Those Jobs.” “And, by the way, I like coal. I’m going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it’s getting crushed by your policies. I want to get America and North America energy independent so we can create those jobs.” [Mitt Romney, First Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
Romney’s Energy Plan “Is Basically All About Oil, Coal And Gas.” “No sooner had Mitt Romney released his long-awaited energy policy Aug. 23 than a small army of reporters and pundits started drilling into the details and coming up with barely a kilowatt of vision or substance. The plan is basically all about oil, coal and gas.” [K Kaufmann, Desert Sun, 9/1/12]
Associated Press Fact Check: Romney Opposes Curbs On Energy Demand – Namely Higher Mileage Standard – But “Independent Energy Analysts Say Supply And Demand Both Have To Be In The Equation For Energy Independence To Be Achieved.” “Romney’s steps include deficit cuts that he has not spelled out, and a march toward energy independence that past presidents have promised but not delivered. Unlike Obama, he does not support curbs on demand; namely the much higher mileage standards that are coming into effect. Romney proposes boosting supplies, with freer access to development of oil, gas, coal and more. Independent energy analysts say supply and demand both have to be in the equation for energy independence to be achieved.” [Fact Check, Associated Press, 8/31/12]
ROMNEY LIE #11: ROMNEY’S PLAN WILL “DEAL” WITH PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, BUT HE’D REPEAL OBAMACARE AND IT’S PROTECTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, LETTING INSURANCE COMPANIES DISCRIMINATE
Romney Said His Plan “Deals With People With Pre-Existing Conditions.” ROMNEY: “And with regards to health care, you had remarkable details with regards to my pre-existing condition plan. You obviously studied up on — on my plan. In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions. That’s part of my health care plan. And what we did in Massachusetts is a model for the nation state by state. And I said that at that time.” [Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
Romney Suggested Uninsured People With Pre-Existing Conditions Should Not Be Able To Get Health Insurance on Jay Leno: “We Can’t Play The Game Like That.” Jay: “So you would make the law stand for children and people with pre-existing conditions?” Romney: “People with pre-existing conditions, as long as they have been insured before, they are going to be able to continue to have insurance.” Leno: “Suppose they haven’t been insured.” Romney: “Well, if they, if they are 45 years old and they show up and say I want insurance because I have heart disease, it’s like, Hey guys. We can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you are well and then if you get ill, you are going to be covered.” [Romney, Tonight Show With Jay Leno, 3/27/12]
Romney In Discussing What He Would Replace Obamacare With: “People With Pre-Existing Conditions, As Long As They Have Been Insured Before, They Are Going To Be Able To Continue To Have Insurance.” [Romney, Tonight Show With Jay Leno, 3/27/12]
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait: “In Other Words, It’s Not True. Romney Doesn’t Have A Plan, Or Even A Vague Outline Of A Plan, To Cover People With Preexisting Conditions.” [Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine, 9/10/12]
New York Daily News Headline: “Mitt Romney: Insurance Companies Should Be Allowed To Deny Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions.” [New York Daily News, 6/14/12]
ROMNEY LIE #12: ROMNEY CLAIMED HE WAS A BIPARTISAN GOVERNOR, BUT IN REALITY HE BARELY TOOK THE TIME WORK WITH DEMOCRATS IN THE LEGISLATURE
Romney At Denver Debate: “I Had The Great Experience – It Didn’t Seem Like It At The Time – Of Being Elected In A State Where My Legislature Was 87 Percent Democrat […] I Figured Out From Day One I Had To Get Along And I Had To Work Across The Aisle.” LEHRER: “Many of the legislative functions of the federal government right now are in a state of paralysis as a result of partisan gridlock. If elected, in your case, if re-elected, in your case, what would you do about that? Governor?” ROMNEY: “Jim, I had the great experience — it didn’t seem like it at the time — of being elected in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. And that meant I figured out from day one I had to get along and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done.” [Romney, Denver Presidential Debate, 10/3/12]
“Some Democratic lawmakers accused Romney of being aloof, unapproachable and not much interested in working with them to build the kind of friendships and alliances that are needed to help pass legislation. They say Romney’s legislative agenda on big issues like transportation and higher education fizzled as a result.” [Associated Press, 8/2/12]
As Governor, Romney Had A Style Marked By “Disinterest In Bipartisan Collaboration.” “Romney’s ability to wield the bully pulpit circumventing inflexible lawmakers and appealing directly to the public was a hallmark of his tenure, and it hints at the CEO style of leadership that he might bring to the White House. The flip side of that style is Romney’s relative disinterest in bipartisan collaboration, a practice that’s already rare in Washington.” [National Journal, 11/10/11]
He furnished the Massachusetts press corps, always looking for conflict, with a running narrative of combat. That was a departure from the collegiality of Romney’s GOP predecessors. [National Journal, 11/10/11]
“Gov. Mitt Romney makes his official exit today, taking the traditional ‘lone walk’ down the State House steps a day early so as not to run into Deval Patrick’s inauguration ceremony. That act is symbolic in two ways: He leaves as a loner with his own personal agenda, who never became a full member of Massachusetts’ governing class, and he’s leaving before his term is officially finished, though months after he turned his attention away from the Bay State in pursuit of national office…Some had potential, but Romney failed to do the political work required to bring them to fruition. Romney never established a solid working relationship with legislative leaders. And while he is a good speaker and effective on the stump, he leaves the Massachusetts Republican Party weaker than ever…Too often, though, Romney has appeared more interested in picking the right fights than in building coalitions to solve problems.” [Editorial, MetroWest Daily News, 1/3/07]
As Governor, Romney Commandeered One Of The Massachusetts Statehouse Elevators, Barring The Public, Lawmakers And Reporters From Using It. “Veteran lawmakers complained about lack of access to Romney, a perception that wasn’t helped by his decision to commandeer one of the Statehouse elevators, barring the public, lawmakers and reporters from using it during his four-year term. The elevator became a symbol of his aloofness. (It was reopened to the public after he left.)” [Associated Press, 2/4/12]
“During Romney’s four years as governor, the troopers reserved one of the two elevators outside the Corner Office solely for Romney’s use. They also erected velvet ropes in front of his office, allowing only those approved to enter.” [Boston Globe, 2/3/12]
So yes, Mitt might have “won” the debate, only to lose the public’s trust. When the dust settles, Romney’s dozen flat-out falsehoods topped off by his manic, hyper body and voice will be the only thing remaining from his debate performance. Conservatives are gloating this morning, but the joke is on them. Romney “won” a debate last night by pretending not to be who he is and stabbing them in the back.
Obama was the same man he always is, and while that might bore the pundits and even the voters, when we think about who we would rather have leading this nation in times of crisis, it’s the cool, calm guy. The one who doesn’t lie to us as a course of business. We know who he is and what he stands for. No one can say that about Romney without being made a fool of the next day.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.