It seems Willard Romney simply is incapable of telling the truth. I only say that because this is the second debate out of two in which there were too many lies to fit comfortably into a single blog post. He's not worthy of a book, so I'm cherry-picking lies the way he cherry-picks his data.
And what is it about "my plan"? He talks about his "plan," as if he actually has one. If there's a plan, where are the details, Willard? We have never elected a president who promised "secret plans," because not all of us were born yesterday. Romney sounds like those informercial hucksters who hawk "programs" showing you how to make millions off real estate. If they're so damned good at it, why are they making money selling books and CDs? If Romney's so great at business, why is he running for president. Oh, wait… It's because he can make $21.7 million in one year from a company he claims not to even own. Why work, right?
Okay, back to the lies. Among the more significant lies in the second debate are:
“I went to a number of women's groups and said, "Can you help us find folks," and they brought us whole binders full of women.” and “… we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet…”
This is completely made up. There was a single binder, not “binders,” and it was put together by a bipartisan women’s group called MassGAP, because they were concerned about the lack of women in Massachusetts government. They undertook the project in 2002 – before Romney was even elected – and they handed the “binder full of women” to the new governor when he took office. And while Romney is rightfully proud of the number of women he appointed at first, most were appointed to positions in agencies he didn’t care about, and the number of women declined during his term. (Source)
“A recent study has shown the people in the middle-class will see $4,000 per year in higher taxes as a result of the spending and borrowing of (the Obama) administration.”
This is a whopper that Romney’s been called out on a number of times. This seemingly random figure comes from a report from the American Enterprise Institute, but it doesn't say what Romney claims. They're demonstrates how much less the tax burden could be if we stopped adding on to the debt right this second, and it's an average. It is not a study of actual taxes that middle class will face when implemented by the Obama Administration. And unless Romney can suddenly slice the size of the debt in half, the same data would apply to him, as well.
“So when you say that I wanted to take the auto industry bankrupt, you actually did. And — and I think it’s important to know that that was a process that was necessary to get those companies back on their feet, so they could start hiring more people. That was precisely what I recommend and ultimately what happened.”
This is just a falsehood. In fact, in Romney’s now-infamous editorial, he actually said he was absolutely against any bailout money being used. In fact, look at how he starts the piece:
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.
In fact, if you read the entire op-ed, you had Willard recommending more of a takeover of the auto industry than actually happened. Instead, Obama lent them some money, put a few conditions on it, and saved millions of jobs. The fact is, the”managed bankruptcy” that Romney championed was tried by George W. Bush, and wasn’t working. Obama scrapped that idea, and simply lent them money, with a few conditions, and GM and Chrysler were able to move away from that abyss.
“Well, let’s look at the president’s policies, all right, as opposed to the rhetoric, because we’ve had four years of policies being played out. And the president’s right in terms of the additional oil production, but none of it came on federal land. As a matter of fact, oil production is down 14 percent this year on federal land, and gas production was down 9 percent. Why? Because the president cut in half the number of licenses and permits for drilling on federal lands, and in federal waters.” and then, “In the last four years, you cut permits and licenses on federal land and federal waters in half.”
This is just false. Now, you could make a case that Romney gets a pass for adding the words “this year” after the 14% figure, but his overall claim is that “four years of policies” have led to a major decrease in domestic oil production on federal land, which is completely the opposite of reality, so he doesn’t get a pass on that lie. Yes, oil production on federal land was down in 2011, but that was because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and a six-month moratorium on offshore exploration. Overall, however, oil production is up significantly during Obama's term, from 566 million barrels in 2008 to 626 million barrels in 2011, an increase of nearly 11%. And on public lands, there were 241 million more barrels of oil produced during Obama’s first three years than were produced in the last three years of President Bush’s term.
As for the part about permits and leases on federal lands, not only is it a lie, but he once again blames Obama for something Bush did. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of permits and leases on federal lands dropped from 3499 to 2188 leases. But the biggest drop-off during that period came in 2008, when the number of permits and leases dropped to 2416. So, the drop in the number of permits and licenses on federal land dropped from 2416 to 2188 under Obama, which is nowhere near "half." And again, most of that drop off came in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The number has started rising again this year.
Bottom line is, permits and licenses are down slightly under Obama, but closer to 10%, not half, And domestic production on federal lands actually is way up.
“And then we have his own record, which is we have four consecutive years where he said when he was running for office, he would cut the deficit in half. Instead he’s doubled it. We’ve gone from $10 trillion of national debt, to $16 trillion of national debt. If the president were reelected, we’d go to almost $20 trillion of national debt.”
More on this in a column later today, but Bush’s last fiscal year was 2009, and the deficit was $1.4 trillion. The deficit for FY 2012 was $1.089 trillion. Not only is that not double, that’s actually 21% lower. Our national debt in that time has gone from $12.5 trillion (not $10 trillion) to $16 trillion. And projected deficits indicate that we won’t hit “almost $20 trillion” in debt. It might hit $18 trillion, which isn’t great, but if we could replace Republicans whose allegiance to Grover Norquist exceeds that to their country, President Obama could close the budget gap even faster.
“He said that by now we’d have unemployment at 5.4 percent. The difference between where it is and 5.4 percent is 9 million Americans without work. I wasn’t the one that said 5.4 percent. This was the president’s plan. Didn’t get there.”
Let’s start with a numerical correction. The difference between 5.4% unemployment and 7.8% unemployment is not even close to 9 million employees. This is an offshoot of his claim of 23 million unemployed, which was corrected after the last debate, and which he repeated last night. It just takes basic math. If you believe 2.4% equals 9 million workers, then you believe there are more than 360 million workers in this country. In the real world, it’s equivalent to about 4 million, which means Romney is exaggerating by a factor of 2-to-1.
Not that it matters, because Obama didn’t make such a “promise,“ anyway. The number comes from a report written by several of Obama’s top aides during the transition, while they were preparing the stimulus package. It was merely a projection by a couple of economists, not a “promise” by the President-elect. It also came with a number of warnings and qualifiers, and it was based on the assumption that unemployment would top out at about 9%. By the time Obama took the oath, things were already much worse than projected.
“I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not. And I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care of not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.”
Unfortunately for Willard, there are these things called “recording devices, and he is on the record this year as being in favor of the Blunt Amendment, which Republicans wanted to add to the Affordable Care Act, and which would have allowed employers to decide whether or not women received contraception. (Source) He has also said he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, which would effectively result in a bureaucrat (Romney) denying contraception to thousands of women.
“The kids of those that came here illegally, those kids, I think, should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the United States and military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident.”
Unfortunately, Willard’s promised several times to end President Obama’s initiative to allow immigrants who came here as children to stay without fear of deportation, and become productive citizens, and he has promised to veto the DREAM Act, if it ever came across his desk.
“He said that by now middle-income families would have a reduction in their health insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. It’s gone up by $2,500 a year.”
Actually, President Obama never made the claim that health insurance premiums would go down by that much. He said there would be at least that much in savings, eventually, and that seems to be proven true. Health care inflation, which used to average about 12% a year, is increasing at roughly the same rate as inflation in the rest of the economy, despite the fact that most of the cost-saving measures in Obamacare haven’t even taken effect yet.
Premium increases this year were about 4%, which was less than half the premium increase last year, when it was 9%. (Source) Again, do a little math. In order for premiums to have gone up $2,500 last year, you’d have to believe that the average premium the year before was $27,000, which is a bit high, by about $12,000. For you to believe it went up $2.500 this year, you’d have to believe the average was $62,500, which is… well… ridiculous.
We’ll end with my favorite Romney lie of the night:
“And there was no demonstration involved. It was a terrorist attack and it took a long time for that to be told to the American people. Whether there was some misleading, or instead whether we just didn’t know what happened, you have to ask yourself why didn’t we know five days later when the ambassador to the United Nations went on TV to say that this was a demonstration. How could we have not known?”
Willard really has to stop watching Fox News and listening to Limbaugh and Hannity, because, as we all know by now, the president came out the day after the attack and called it an attack and an “act of terror.” (Source) Actually, he said,
“Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.”
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. “
“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. “
Note the date: September 12, 2012. One day after the attacks. Not two weeks. And those words came from the president’s lips, not the UN Ambassador, and not a spokesman for the campaign. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was by his side as he said those words.
The problem is, Romney believes that story, because that’s what he’s supposed to believe, in order to keep his right wing base from bolting. The fact that he’s doing this sort of thing three weeks before the election is a bad sign for him, regardless of your obsession with polls.