The 3 Boldest Lies Mitt Romney Has Told About Barack Obama

The GOP presidential candidate is “allergic to facts.”

Mitt Romney’s weekend choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate may have pumped some energy into the former Massachusetts governor’s uninspired presidential campaign, but all the moxie in the world won’t keep his paper ship afloat if he can’t convince the American voting public that the incumbent president does not represent its interests.

Since it’s pretty hard to make that claim based on facts alone, Romney has embraced the “if you can’t beat him, smear him” school of politicking. And when there’s nothing available to “smear him” with … well, he is content to just make stuff up.

To date Romney’s mendacity has run the gamut from the deliberate misrepresentation of Obama policies to a seemingly compulsive tendency to distort the President’s message by cutting and pasting quotes at will. His disregard for the truth is so profound that it prompted journalist Joe Klein—who has covered Washington since the Nixon years—to comment that he “can’t remember a candidate so brazenly allergic to facts.” has given the presumptive GOP candidate so many “Pants on Fire” nominations that it’s a wonder he can still sit down. And still the former Massachusetts moderate turned Tea Party maven trudges on, telling one whopper after another (or sitting quietly by while his supporters do), no doubt with a big box of Kleenex nearby just in case he inadvertently kicks up some truth.

I’m no Obama apologist; the President has had his share of missteps, most of which have been duly (and vocally) pointed out by his own base. His mistakes are well documented; there’s no need to make them up. But the spin coming out of the Romney camp is so shameless that it should offend anyone with even a limited sense of fair play, regardless of their political persuasion.

The number of baseless accusations are too many to count (although blogger Steve Benen is making a noble effort); but of all the unfounded claims that pass across my computer screen on any given day, the following three stand out for their sheer audacity. This is my meager attempt to set the record straight.

Myth 1: President Obama is trying to undermine military voting rights.

The Truth: The hypocrisy of a Republican politician accusing someone else of violating voting rights, notwithstanding, Romney’s claim that President Obama is trying to eliminate early voting for members of the military is as blatant a lie as has ever been told on the campaign trail.

This one hit the wires in late July after the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Ohio filed a suit challenging a Republican-led effort to prohibit early voting for everyone except military personnel. Until then, every citizen of Ohio had the option of casting a ballot up to three days early, a concession that made it easier for working-class voters and students (demographics that tend to skew Democrat) to cast their ballots. In 2008, when Barack Obama won the state, 1.4 million Ohio voters cast their ballots early, according to the United States Election Project of George Mason University. News of the suit quickly made the rounds of the right wing echo machine and out came the tin-foil-hat brigade to claim the President was anti-military simply because he wants all Ohioans to share the same voting rights (not just those most likely to vote Republican). Romney was lambasted in the press for mischaracterizing the suit, but by then the damage had been done. As they say, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on.

Myth 2: President Obama wants to eliminate the work requirement from welfare.

The Truth: The latest false allegation coming out of the Romney camp— detailed in an ad that began running this month—accuses President Obama of  planning to “gut welfare reform” by eliminating recipient work requirements. According to the ad, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.” Like most of Romney’s claims about the President, this one is exaggerated beyond comprehension, a fact that has been acknowledged even by fellow Republicans. While the new policy, which was implemented in July by executive order, would give states more flexibility in applying the work standard, it also imposes stringent requirements such as the development of an evaluation plan that shows why an alternative approach is needed and an assessment of its progress. The ad also doesn’t mention that the new policy was lobbied for in 2005 by the Republican Governors Association in a letter to Congress signed by Romney himself.

It’s ironic that a candidate like Romney, who has vociferously argued for turning everything from health care to immigration policy over to the states, would take issue with a plan that doles more power to the nation’s governors, but Romney has never been one to shy away from a hearty flip flop when it serves his purpose.

Myth 3: President Obama demonizes small business.

The Truth: I tackled this topic a few weeks ago when I discussed the collective nature of American prosperity. Rather than rehash the socio-biological basis of the President’s message, this time I’ll simply focus on his opponents’ aggressive efforts to distort it. During a speech in Roanoke, President Obama took pains to impress upon his audience that the benefits we all enjoy as citizens depend in some way shape or form on investments made at the federal level. To underscore his point, Obama noted—with a delivery that admittedly lacked eloquence—that businesses rely on publicly built infrastructure to get raw materials to factories and to deliver goods to the marketplace. But you wouldn’t know that from the flurry of selective sound bites that followed from the conservative echo machine. The Romney campaign wasted little time before manipulating the President’s imperfect, but easily comprehensible wording to make it sound like Obama was giving the government credit for single-handedly building America’s small businesses instead of the roads and bridges that make those businesses successful.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt from the speech in its full context, and here’s how it was presented by the Romney campaign. Check it out for yourself; if you have anything more than a sixth-grader’s conception of English syntax Romney’s manipulation will come across loud and clear.

I suspect Mitt Romney’s truth allergy is a seasonal affliction that manifests in the months leading up to important elections, but given the ease with which he replaces fact with fiction, I can’t help but wonder if the candidate is simply a really practiced BS-er, or if he is completely out of touch with reality. I don’t know about you, but I find neither characteristic particularly comforting in a president.

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  • J.Oz

    President Obama in Roanoke: “if you have a small business, you didn’t build that.”

    The pronoun “that” refers to the noun “business”. He may or may not have meant to downplay the labors of the small business owner. But, literally, it’s exactly what he said.

  • When can we expect your follow up “Three Boldest Lies President Obama Has Told about Mitt Romney”?

  • dagbat

    Mr. Obama’s contention that the success of private enterprise and generation of new small businesses is somehow dependent upon the pre-existence of government funded support systems such as roads, bridges, electric grid, education, etc. is wrong and it displays Mr. Obama’s lack of business experience. It is also demeaning and a slap at the many small business creators who through their dedication, hard work, and personal/financial sacrifices created successful enterprises – without any government help. For example Henry Ford created the Ford Motor Company well before there were paved roads. It was the automobile that spurred the creation of the American highway system, not the reverse. However well intentioned Mr. Obama is, his belief that creating jobs is from the bottom up shows how clueless he is to our current jobs problem, and it is the main reason why things are not getting any better under his watch. Mr. Obama denounces trickle down economics, but the reality is that jobs are not created bottom up. Rather they are created top down through private companies and small business. Jobs that are GOOD PAYING and PERMANENT, unlike the temporary low paying jobs generated through government emergency intervention programs such as infrastructure.

  • suburbdog1

    Actually J Oz, the full quote is: “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.” It’s obvious the “that” is the American System, roads, bridges, internet, etc.

    The elections in 2000 and 2004 showed me the lengths to which Republicans will go to get their way: stolen elections and voting for a guy who blatantly manufactured lies about WMD’s just to invade Iraq with no exit strategy and no regard for the sacrifice required by our military personnel.

  • Mark Cofta

    Dagbat, we’ve had trickle down for a long time, and it hasn’t helped middle class workers at all. Your “top down” theory is a Republican fairy tale, the absurd idea that if we only cut rich people’s taxes low enough, they’ll get off their gold-plated asses and create great jobs. R-money leads the pack of thieves in sucking money out of American businesses and into foreign bank accounts.

    We’ve had the Bush tax cuts for a long time, and nothing good has trickled down from the people who benefit the most. Wall Street is bursting with profits, but American workers are still mired in the recession. Get over yourself: YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT. The infrastructure, the protections, and the conditions that make business possible are provided by the taxpayers through the government. Most of those small business owners — like the guy R-money featured in a commercial to refute Obama — have benefited from government tax breaks, rebates, bailouts, and contracts.

    So where are these good paying, permanent jobs? Don’t tell us that the Republicans will deliver them. They’ve spent the last three years thwarting our President’s efforts and deliberately tanking the economy in order to prevent an Obama second term, as Mitch McConnell openly said is their only goal.

    Your blind allegiance to these bloodsucking bastards makes me ill.

  • J.Oz

    Hey Mark Colta… I’m curious. I find your blind allegiance allegation interesting. how many Republicans have you ever voted for?

  • peter1

    I think that the actions of Sheldon Adelson tells you everything you need to know. He pumped millions of dollars into the campaign of Newt Gingrich, keeping him afloat and allowing him to savage Mitt Romney nationally, who Adelson wanted no parts of, during the primaries. He even all but said that Romney and Obama are one and the same. Then Romney wins the nomination, and he pledges tens of millions of dollars to Romney.

    Let’s see, they’re essentially the same, but one wants multi-millionaires and billionaires to pay more than a 10% effective tax rate, and one wants to all but eliminate taxes on the wealthy…hmmm. The right has somehow managed to make people believe that if something is great for the Lord of the Manor, then it must be good for the serfs.

  • dagbat

    Mark Cofta – I appreciate your concerns and understand your anger but I am neither Rep or Dem. Just to clear things a bit, I believe that historically both parties are basically the same. The only difference is degree. One side favors big government to solve everyone’s problems and the other side favors less big government. The funny thing is that government has been growing bigger and bigger since the 1940’s regardless of which party is in power. Don’t you find that strange? We have been led to believe that there are fundamental differences but the facts don’t support this. And as for the current (election) class warfare rhetoric – wealth being taken from the middle class and distributed to the filthy rich, this is a DIVERSION. Let’s take the Dems and Mr. Obama. Has he delivered on any of his reform promises from 2008? I hear words but I see no action. For example Mr. Obama promised speedy action to fix and identify the causes of the wall street financial meltdown and to rein in all of the associated business/wall street greed. Has he taken any concrete action other than government bailouts of several corrupt wall street banks? For example has anyone been prosecuted? Answer NO! Instead Mr. Obama has met with and placed many big corporate and financial/wall street cronies (some who were directly involved in the financial meltdown) in his administration and on the key action groups to fix the financial mess and to get the economy moving again. Do you task the very people who caused or were part of the problem, with fixing the problem? Have you ever seen Mr. Obama propose anything to close all of the tax loopholes for the big corporations or high net worth people? Answer NO! How about a recommendation for a flat tax (with relief for the middle class and poor), to even the playing field so everyone pays their FAIR SHARE? Answer NO! How about a deficit reduction plan that has DETAILS like the Paul Ryan plan? Answer NO! And as for job creation and prosperity Mr. Obama has no business experience whatsoever. He only knows one way to fix problems – more government (in partnerships with select big corporate insiders). Government does not create permanent jobs and wealth for the middle class. Rather government takes money away from the middle class and only gives some of it back. The rest is used to grow ever bigger, and to share with their corporate cronies so they prosper as well! I ask you since 2008 are things better or worse? Do we keep doing the same, or do we try something different? My vote is for change!

  • J.Oz

    Dagbat…well said.

    Choosing to be on one team over the other is a FLASHING sign of a narrow mind.

    We have the City of Philadelphia as fine example of how one party at the helm is a disaster. Were it Republicans at the helm for so long the situation would be just as dismal.

    The only way change is realized in a large organization, government and corporate, is to change the leadership.

    President Obama had his chance at the helm. Like ALL of his predecessors, he talked a good game. There is no question that he has FAILED to deliver.

    Given our dire condition, the right thing to do is to change the leadership in Nov. For some it will no doubt be a tough decision, but it is the right decision for the situation NOW.

  • gspidu12

    I take President Obama at his word. Liberals like to filter what the pres said through their head and justify Obamas near impeachable behavior. Obamas “Dreams of my Fathers” book says Obama hung out with Marxist professors and that was followed by Obama claiming he wasn’t insecure. Liberals say “he was just insecure and lots of people did radical things back then.” Liberals use their opinion to make it seem less un-American that our president sympathizes with Marxists while taking what Obama said and flipping it 180 deg and saying this is what he meant. They didn’t ask him, they just can’t defend his statements with facts, so liberals use bs to try and hide facts. I won’t be fooled by the Liberal attempts to justify Socialism by calling it something else, “fair”.
    Please read “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder” Dr. Savage