While the media rushed to declare the Republican presidential primary effectively over after last night’s victories for Mitt Romney in Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, they have been considerably less eager to call out Romney’s numerous and oft-repeated distortions, half-truths, and outright lies.
Here’s the rundown of Romney’s top ten lies from just today’s big speech alone.
1. The president has been “apologizing for America abroad.”
Romney, who has absolutely no foreign policy experience, levels this charge almost daily with regard to the president’s efforts to repair America’s image and alliances, which were of course both badly damaged by the disastrous policies of the Bush administration. This accusation is an outright lie, with PolitiFact rating it “Pants on Fire” way back in September. After Romney once again leveled this baseless charge today, PolitiFact tweeted a reminder that they have rated it Pants on Fire “over and over.”
2. ”As I have said many times before, the President did not cause the economic crisis, but he made it worse.”
Last July, Romney went so far as to deny that he’d ever even said that the president made the economy “worse.” Romney then of course went back to alleging just that, just as he did in today’s speech.
After the very same policies that Romney is now advocating a return to caused our economy to collapse, President Obama and his policies saved the country from another Great Depression and have created millions of jobs since, including a million in just the past five months alone. By no objective measure can anyone credibly claim that the president somehow made the economic crisis worse.
3. “[President Obama] is the only President to ever cut $500 billion from Medicare.”
This charge is false in several ways. First, as we’ve documented before, presidents of both parties have made changes, sometimes extensive, to Medicare over the years. Second, Obamacare achieves its Medicare savings mostly by eliminating unnecessary overpayments to insurance companies. Third, the Ryan Republican budget that Mitt Romney has fully and repeatedly embraced includes the same $500 BILLION in “cuts” to Medicare as Obamacare, except the money is used to give tax breaks to the wealthy and corporate special interests rather than for strengthening Medicare and expanding health insurance coverage to 31 MILLION Americans.
4. The president “has failed to enact or even propose a serious plan to solve our entitlement crisis.”
This is another common Republican accusation that is simply an outright lie. Last September, after months of fruitless negotiations with unreliable Republican congressional leaders, the president did in fact propose a serious plan to deal with entitlements and our debt and deficit. It would reduce the deficit by $4.4 TRILLION and achieve an additional $320 BILLION in savings to Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs.
5. The president “has taken a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it.”
In an effort to distract from the Republican plan to actually end Medicare as we know it, Romney and other Republicans have begun leveling this charge. It too is an outright lie and was rated Pants on Fire by PolitiFact last month. Far from ending Medicare, Obamacare strengthened it and extended the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by eight years. As ThinkProgress Health Editor Igor Volsky put it today, “if the question is, which candidate ends Medicare for seniors, it’s hard to see how Romney’s plan to push future retirees into private insurance doesn’t fit the bill.”
6. The president is “destroying the Medicare Advantage program, eliminating the coverage that millions of seniors depend on.”
Far from “destroying” Medicare Advantage (the optional privately-administered insurance plans seniors can choose instead of traditional Medicare), Obamacare has resulted in increased enrollment and decreased premiums.
7. The president has “delayed the development of our oil.”
Domestic oil production is at an 8-year high, the number of oil drilling rigs is at a record high and has quadrupled in the past three years, and we recently became a net exporter of petroleum products for the first time since 1949.
8. The president has “added regulations at a staggering rate.”
The Obama administration has put in place new regulations at a slower rate than the Bush administration.
9. “I have already proposed a plan that will save and strengthen Medicare and Social Security for future generations.”
Romney’s plan would neither save nor strengthen Medicare or Social Security; it would destroy them both. His plan would explicitly end Medicare as we know it and Romney’s proposal for trillions of dollars in new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and increased defense spending — coupled with an unrealistically low spending cap — would require draconian, program-ending cuts to both Medicare and Social Security.
10. The president has instituted a “government takeover of healthcare.”
As was extensively discussed at the Supreme Court last week, Obamacare goes out of its way to preserve the private health insurance system in this country through market-based reforms. PolitiFact gave this Tea Party-inspired claim by Romney a Pants on Fire rating way back in May of 2011.
Romney did include two sentences in his speech that are undeniably true:
Given the number and scale of our nation’s current challenges, the November election will have particular consequence. It will be a defining event. President Obama and I have very different visions for America, both of what it means to be an American today and what it will mean in the future.
IN ONE SENTENCE: Mitt Romney is entitled to wage a campaign based on his own opinions, but he’s not entitled to wage one based on his own facts, many of which happen to be blatantly untrue.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
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