Neil Newhouse, a pollster for Mitt Romney's campaign, was quoted saying, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” Newhouse's quote is an understatement the size of the Grand Canyon; every step of Romney's campaign has been mired in dishonesty. Many political campaigns run into problems with fact-checkers because advertisements are an imperfect vessel for the complicated truths of the political process. However, the Romney-Ryan campaign doesn't deal in half-truths or accidental deceptions; their campaign has been wildly and irresponsibly dishonest in speeches and advertisements.
One of the most widely disputed advertisements Romney has run states President Barack Obama robbed $716 billion from medicare in order to fund his own programs. The Pulitzer Prize-winning site PolitiFact, a branch of the Tampa Bay Times, rates this claim "mostly false." Obama's health care law does seek to cut down on Medicare spending, but the figure of $716 billion is the estimated money being saved by forcing healthcare providers to become more efficient over the next 10 years. The law was passed under totally normal congressional conditions and openly debated. The smash-and-grab that Romney was attempting to pin on Obama is a complete fabrication.
Another deceitful ad claims Obama stripped the work requirement from welfare. What actually transpired is that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a memo with the intention of helping states fulfill the work requirement specifications for welfare by giving them more flexibility. The structure and complexity of the welfare work-requirments impaired the job-training and job-seeking processes. The memo is an attempt to help states get more welfare recipients back to work; Romney's campaign asserts the exact opposite about the memo. The advertisement was given PolitiFact's worst ranking, "pants on fire."
For the past few days, the political presses have been abuzz with news from the Republican National Convention in Tampa because the Democratic National Convention started Monday. Among the most popular topics are Romney's uninspired performance, Clint Eastwood's slightly surreal 12 minutes on stage and Paul Ryan's enthusiastic, well-recieved and misleading speech. Fox News writer Sally Kohn described Ryan's speech as "Dazzling," "Deceiving" and "Distracting" in an article that has been liked 107,000 times on Facebook. Washington Post opinion writer James Downie attacked the speech as "breathtakingly dishonest." Ryan's anecdotal use of a Janesville, WI auto factory that closed in 2008 to attack Obama's policies has been widely called out for being dishonest because the Janesville plant was already closing before Obama even took office. Besides the chronological impossibilities of Ryan's attack, there are also philosophical contradictions in Ryan's approach to this particular factory. Ryan is a small goverment advocate, but if Obama did save that factory in Janesville, he would have done it through a plan similar to the auto bailout, the same auto bailout that Romney felt so strongly against he wrote an opinion piece that was published in the New York Times. Since the publication of that piece, Romney has been gracious enough to take part in the success of the auto bailout, saying, “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” The article of his New York Times op-ed was "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
The lies go on and on. Steve Benen, a blog writer for the Washington Monthly, has been documenting Mitt Romney's deceits for nine months now. His list has documented 533 lies from Romney's campaign. If he picks up his pace, perhaps Romney can hit a clean thousand lies before the election. This amount of lies suggests Romney's campaign has totally abandoned his side of the issues in favor for whatever his audience wants to hear. This is the opposite of integrity.
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