Obama Camp Calls Bullshit on Mitt’s “Major” Speech

To me, it’s kind of funny that less than two weeks before Election Day, any campaign, Repub or Dem, would choose to have their candidate try to give a “major” speech, but then the Romney campaign has often operated by their own book. In Iowa today Mitt gave a speech on the economy billed as “major” which seems to have fallen way short in the policy and news departments. Below is a round-up of progressive and mainstream comment on it, rounded up and send out by the Obama campaign (pasted in below from the campaign’s email to its press list).  The round-up was delivered just ahead of notice the campaign sent out for a conference call with Lawrence Summers and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, in response to Mitt’s speech. The two of them vigorously knocked down the familiar claims Romney made in his speech, which was a recycling of rhetoric and Repub boilerplate.

Shorter Lawrence Summers, paraphrased: Repeating it all over again doesn’t make it add up. Saying it louder doesn’t make it true.

Van Hollen, in Ames, Iowa, paraphrased:  80 business execs yesterday signed a letter requesting the next president make a serious effort to tackle our country’s budget and revenue issues. Only one candidate has a serious s plan for doing so, President Obama. Only his plan is a serious response to the concerns of these business leaders.

The Reviews are in on Romney’s “Major” Economic Speech

Ali Velshi: “They said this was major economic news. There wasn’t a piece of economic news in it.”

Gloria Borger: “This wasn’t so much about, you know, specific policy prescriptions. Nothing new right now.”

Jim Acosta: “Yes, there’s not really a whole lot that’s new inside these remarks here, if you take a look at these remarks in terms of what he said out here today.”

Brooke Baldwin: “I didn’t hear a lot new in the speech. I’m guessing you didn’t hear much new in the speech either.”

Jim Acosta ‏@jimacostacnn Owner of Iowa company where Mitt Romney delivering speech on economy received stimulus funds:

ThinkProgress ‏@thinkprogress Romney makes closing economic argument at firm that benefited substantially from stimulus funds

Sam Youngman ‏@samyoungman Looking at excerpts from Romney’s “major” econ address. Looks like his stump speech to me.

Ari Shapiro ‏@Ari_Shapiro Romney campaign releases excerpts of today’s “major economic speech.” So far looks a lot like the stump speech he’s been giving this week.

Benjy Sarlin ‏@BenjySarlin So….what’s the news in this major Romney speech so far.

Ali Velshi ‏@AliVelshi I’ll rejoin @SuzanneMalveaux on @CNN after Romney’s econ speech from. This speech isn’t delivering specifics.

Kathie Obradovich ‏@KObradovich Romney about 9 minutes into his speech and it has been uniformly negative in terms of bashing Obama. #romneyia

Molly Ball ‏@mollyesque So far Romney’s big speech on the economy is all about Obama.

Sam Stein ‏@samsteinhp With all the talk of bi-partisanship, has anyone asked Romney campaign if he still looks back at himself as a severely conservative gov?

Justin Wolfers ‏@justinwolfers Turns out that Romney’s “big economic speech” today, was just a placeholder, so that he could go on the attack if the GDP numbers were bad.

Jonathan Cohn ‏@CitizenCohn It’s been a while since I listened to a full Romney speech. Sort of awe-inspiring to hear all of deceptions strung together.

Eric Kleefeld ‏@EricKleefeld Mitt Romney delivers major economic speech, declares substantively that he loves America.

Molly Ball ‏@mollyesque Apparently difference between a Major Romney Address & a regular Romney speech is whether he enters to “Air Force One” or “Born Free.”

Elizabeth Drew ‏@ElizabethDrewOH There Mitt goes again: He will create the 12 million jobs that are going to happen anyway. Who is going to speak up?

Travis Waldron ‏@Travis_Waldron There was nothing major about that speech.

“He Lies Frequently and Convincingly, and has Elastic Principles”

A sober and persuasive Letter to the Editor from Thomas J. Curry of Swansea, MA, who as an aerospace engineer and then a Dean in the College of Engineering in in the UMass system, worked with Mitt Romney during his governorship. Below are the first four paragraphs of Mr. Curry’s letter. You may read it all on the website of the Providence Journal.

I am an independent with no party affiliation but from an ideological viewpoint, I am well to the right of center. Still, I cannot support Mitt Romney for president. While Barack Obama has not performed to expectations for a variety of reasons (some of which are his own failings), the dilemma in this election is that the alternative to Obama is Romney.

Having worked directly with Romney during his term as Massachusetts governor, I can tell you that there is nothing authentic or genuine about him. He’ll tell you what he thinks that you want to hear and pretend to be what he thinks you want him to be.

He’s an ideological chameleon who will say anything to get your support and then do whatever he wants to favor the rich and privileged; he’s a caricature of the stereotyped Republican Party.

He lies frequently and convincingly, and has elastic principles, if any at all. He’s fundamentally dishonest, while presenting an image of goodness and light.

Curry’s assertions jibe with what I’ve observed of Romney. The “elasticity of principles” is particularly significant, as it correlates with something Jon Krakauer described in his important book on Mormon fundamentalism, Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, where lying to serve wh a believer tells himself is a great purpose is encouraged and condoned, and not deemed immoral.

H/T Twitter pal @Chernynkya

Mitt Was Dishonest On How He Appointed Women to his MA Cabinet

Not only did Mitt utter that ridiculous expression “Binders full of women,” even more substantively he fibbed in claiming that he requested his gubernatorial staff find women for him to consider for his incoming administration. David Bernstein has written about this overnight in a Boston Phoenix column:

Not a true story.

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration–a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor. . . .

Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)
Third, note that in Romney’s story as he tells it, this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?

Because of the humor Mitt inadvertently his absurd image that evoked women somehow enmeshed in binders–which instantly grew into a hashtag and trending topic on Twitter–the saliency of his remark is likely to be heightened the fact he didn’t actually make a proactive effort to hire women, and didn’t even tell the truth in relating the (bogus) story.

H/t TPM for tipping me to Bernstein’s column.

Shades of George W. Bush

The NY Times reports that while MA Governor from 2003-07, Mitt Romney spent 25% of his time in office away from the state. Danny Hakim writes,

When the ceiling collapsed in [Boston’s] . . . Big Dig tunnel . . . Gov. Mitt Romney was at his vacation home in New Hampshire. When the Bush administration warned that the nation was at high risk of a terror attack in December 2003, he was at his Utah retreat. And for much of the time the legislature was negotiating changes to his landmark health care bill, he was on the road. During Mr. Romney’s four-year term as governor of Massachusetts, he cumulatively spent more than a year—part or all of 417 days—out of the state, according to a review of his schedule and other records. More than 70 percent of that time was spent on personal or political trips unrelated to his job, a New York Times analysis found. Mr. Romney, now the Republican presidential nominee, took lengthy vacations and weekend getaways. But much of his travel was to lay the groundwork for the presidential ambitions he would pursue in the 2008 election, two years after leaving office.

It’s amazing the Times was even able to piece this together, considering the well-known fact that Romney’s gubernatorial staff, encouraged by the outgoing Governor himself, bizarrely were able to buy the hard drives to all their office computers, and then disposed of them. Like so much in Mitt’s life, a fog surrounds the secrets.

The story ends on a ruefully humorous note, with this coda:

Mr. Romney’s visits to New Hampshire became so frequent that The Manchester Union Leader, the state’s largest paper, wrote an editorial complaining about attempts by his security detail to cordon off a section of the lake around his home. “The Massachusetts State Police have no jurisdiction over Lake Winnipesaukee,” it said, adding that troopers from a neighboring state should not be allowed “to harass and intimidate people who are out to enjoy that section of the lake.”

Well, after all, it is his lake…

Romney Advisor, on CNN to Articulate Mitt’s Foreign Policy, Can’t Do It

Romney advisor Tara Wall gets roasted by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien in a preview of Mitt’s ballyhooed foreign policy speech to be given later today. In the 5-minute video O’Brien plays back key parts of the 47% tape, in which Mitt describes what he believes is the futility of dealing with the Palestinians; she then contrasts those surreptitiously recorded  statements with the transcript of today’s speech, where he claims to be in favor of a two-state solution. She asks Wall if she can resolve the obvious contradictions, when things get a little surreal. Transcript after the jump.

Post-debate Day Wrap

This post-debate day was a busy one for blogging, so here’s a round-up of the five posts I’ve put up today.

1) A message for any worried DEMs and other Obama supporters, Don’t Panic*, Continue Doing What We’ve Been Doing

2) Mitt’s own senior advisor had to disown his boss over The Truth about Pre-Existing Conditions

3) The merry-go-round of mendacity has the brakes applied in Mitt’s Misinformation Parade Comes to a Sudden Stop 

4) In a video of a speech in Denver President Obama reminded us all that “If You Want to be President, You Owe the American People the Truth!”

5) A CBS post-debate snap poll answers the question Who “Cares About Your Needs and Problems”?



The Truth about Pre-Existing Conditions

The Obama campaign assembled this brief video as a fact-check on Romney’s false claim in the Denver debate that under him people with pre-existing conditions would still have coverage. Fact is, only people who’ve had uninterrupted coverage would be able to evade problems over this. Today, Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told TPM reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro, “With respect to pre-existing conditions, what Governor Romney has said is for those with continuous coverage, he would continue to make sure that they receive their coverage” but that others, lacking “continuous coverage,” would, according to McMorris-Santoro’s summary of Fehrnstrom’s comments, ‘need their states to implement their own laws’ to make sure that residents with pre-existing conditions would not lose coverage. Think about it: ill people, amid a healthcare ecosystem where many seniors would also be paying more for what medicare used to provide free, would now be at the mercy of their often underfunded home states to guarantee their medical care. It would be a disaster and more people would endure untreated illnesses and lingering conditions.


Mitt’s Misinformation Parade Comes to a Sudden Stop

Among the bogus claims made by Mitt Romney in last night’s debate was the howler that “half” the green energy firms the Obama administration invested “have gone out of business,” adding that “a number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.” Thing is, as quickly shown by journalists these claims are not remotely true, and now even the Romney campaign has admitted he was wrong.

ThinkProgress has the story via reporter Igor Volsky in a post headlined, “Romney Admits Pushing Misinformation in Debate“. He writes,

“[Michael] Grunwald [author of The New New Deal] estimates that less than 1 percent of green firms have gone bad in terms of dollar value.”

Volsky story includes a report of this Grunwald tweet: 

ICYMI: Romney camp told me (after my tweet-rants) Mitt didn’t mean to say half the #stimulus-funded green firms failed. Probably <1% so far.

Romney also singled out Tesla Motors, which designs and manufactures electric vehicles, and received a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy. Last night, he quipped, “I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right?” But the company is not a loser. “Founder Elon Musk says it will accelerate its payment of the principal in the spring—and the Department of Energy isn’t complaining it’s not getting its money back.” Romney, unfortunately, has turned to rooting against an American company in his effort to unseat Obama.