FACTS MATTER: The Ultimate Guide To Mitt Romney’s Relationship With The Truth

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Politicians from both parties twist facts or spin policy, but Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has had a particularly strained relationship with the truth, repeating false claims with impunity — even after fact checkers, mainstream media organizations, and blogs have all debunked their assertions.

From claiming that “Obama gutted the welfare work requirement” to insisting that his own policies won’t deregulate Wall Street, Romney has led a post-truth campaign. A top adviser even admitted earlier this week, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

ThinkProgress has compiled a guide comparing what Romney says with the facts:

Romney On His Tax Plan || Romney On Wall Street || Romney On The Budget
Romney On Bain Capital || Romney On Obamacare || Romney On Medicare
Romney On Women’s Health || Romney On Energy || Romney On Global Warming
Romney On The Auto Bailout || Romney On Welfare Reform || Romney On Food Stamps
Romney On Security || Romney On LGBT rights

Romney on His Tax Plan

“The highest income people will continue to pay the largest share of the tax burden and middle-income taxpayers, under my plan… So, we’re not going to reduce taxes for high-income people.” [CBS, 8/12/2012]

REALITY: Under Romney’s plan, someone in the richest 1 percent of Americans would receive a $60,000 tax cut, while someone in the richest 0.1 percent would receive a $264,000 tax cut. Even under the most generous assumptions about the elimination of tax deductions — so assuming Romney eliminates loopholes and deductions in the most progressive way possible — millionaires still receive an $87,000 tax cut, while the middle-class sees their taxes go up. [Tax Policy Center, 2/23/2012; Tax Policy Center, 8/1/2012]

“The people in the middle, the hard-working Americans, are the people who need a break, and that is why I focused my tax cut right there.” [GOP debate, 10/11/2011]

REALITY: A Tax Policy Center analysis of Romney plan showed that — even under the most generous assumptions — Romney’s plan raises taxes on everyone making less than $200,000. Middle-class families would see their taxes go up by $2,000 per year. [Tax Policy Center, 8/1/2012]

The U.S. economy’s 35 percent corporate tax rate is among the highest in the industrial world, reducing the ability of our nation’s businesses to compete in the global economy and to invest and create jobs at home,” Romney’s website reads. [MittRomney.com, 8/16/2012]

REALITY: While America has the second-highest corporate tax rate on paper, once all of the loopholes, credits, and deductions are accounted for, its corporate tax rate is the second-lowest in the developed world. The U.S. raises far less in corporate taxes as a percentage of its economy than other nations, including the UK and Canada. Many of America’s most profitable corporations pay literally no taxes. [Citizens for Tax Justice, 6/30/2011, 4/9/2012; Center for American Progress, 6/10/2011

Romney on Wall Street

“Look, no one is talking about deregulating Wall Street.” [ThinkProgress, 8/15/2012]

REALITY: Romney has called for the full repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the first major overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory system since the Great Depression, and while he has supported a “streamlined regulatory framework,” the only specific regulations he mentions in his plan are already in Dodd-Frank. His own running mate is certainly talking about deregulating Wall Street: the House GOP budget authored by Ryan dismantles key parts of the law. [ThinkProgress, 8/25/2011, 8/13/2012, 8/15/2012]

The rate of regulatory burden has increased four-fold since Obama has become president. Four times the amount of regulation coming out per year as in the past. And so businesses say, ‘gosh, I’m not sure I want to invest in America.’” [ThinkProgress, 12/12/2011]

REALITY: Obama approved 613 new rules during his first 33 months, 4.7 percent fewer than Bush did in the same timespan. The campaign initially claimed that “the governor misspoke” in levying the charge, but Romney keeps using it. [NPR, 9/9/2011, Bloomberg, 10/25/2011]

Romney on the Budget

Romney claims that, as governor of Massachusetts, “we didn’t just slow the rate of growth of our government, we actually cut it.” [CBN, 5/14/2012]

REALITY: Government spending increased by an average of 5 percent per year during Romney’s tenure in office. [Politifact, 5/21/2012]

President Obama has “racked up as much debt as almost all of the other presidents combined.” [NYT, 12/16/2011]

REALITY: When Obama took office, the national debt stood at $10.626 trillion. When Romney made this claim in December 2011, the national debt was a bit over $15 trillion. That $4.5 trillion increase is nowhere near as much debt as all the other presidents combined. Even if you just consider the portion of the debt that is owed to private investors, as Romney’s campaign has pointed to, the numbers still don’t add up. When Obama took office this figure was at $6.307 trillion and had increased by approximately $4 trillion when Romney made this claim. [NYT, 12/16/2011]

The President’s vision is one of a larger and larger government, taking more and more, and trying to provide more and more to you…It takes us on a road to Europe.” [Toledo Blade, 8/25/2012]

REALITY: Romney is calling for the sort of austerity that’s been adopted in Europe, which has unnecessarily blunted economic growth. In fact, the European governments that have embraced austerity the most have seen the largest contractions in their economies. The U.S. is doing better in terms of economic growth than both the Eurozone and the United Kingdom, both of which have adopted the kind of heavy spending cuts Romney favors. [ThinkProgress, 7/26/2012, 5/7/2012]

What the president is proposing is therefore a massive tax increase on job creators and on small business. Small businesses are overwhelmingly being taxed not at a corporate rate but at the individual tax rate. So successful small businesses will see their taxes go up dramatically, and that will kill jobs.” [Los Angeles Times, 7/9/2012]

REALITY: President Obama’s plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on income in excess of $250,000 would affect exceedingly few small businesses. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the expiration would affect only three percent of individuals with any business income, from a business large or small. [Joint Committee on Taxation, 7/12/2010]

“I will remove the crippling uncertainty that is preventing businesses from hiring.” [Real Clear Politics, 8/14/12]

REALITY: Several surveys and economic analyses have shown that there is no truth to the claim that uncertainty is preventing businesses from hiring; they’re not hiring because they simply don’t have enough customers with the economy still recovering. Conservative economist Bruce Bartlett said, “regulatory uncertainty is a canard invented by Republicans that allows them to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out.” [Daily Kos, 2/15/2012; Wall Street Journal, 7/17/2011; Economic Policy Institute, 9/27/2011; ThinkProgress, 10/4/2011]

Romney on Bain Capital

“I’m very happy in my former life; we helped create over 100,000 new jobs,” Romney says, suggesting that he helped create more jobs than President Obama. [ThinkProgress, 1/4/2012]

REALITY: The 100,000 statistic is a cherry-picked jobs number from a few companies that did well after they were bought by Bain and “does not include job losses from other companies with which Bain Capital was involved — and are based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain.” In January, the Romney campaign finally conceded that Romney could not have created a total of 100,000 jobs at Bain, admitting, “This tally obviously does not include job losses from other companies with which Bain Capital was involved — and are based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain.” The campaign has since downgraded the number of jobs to “thousands.” [Washington Post, 1/4/2012]

Romney on Obamacare

Romney claims repealing Obamacare “saves” $90 billion over the next four years. [ThinkProgress, 11/4/2011]

REALITY: Repealing Obamacare would increase the federal budget deficit by about $109 billion from 2013 to 2022, the Congressional Budget Office concludes. “Deficits would be increased under H.R. 6079 because the net savings from eliminating the insurance coverage provisions would be more than offset by the combination of other spending increases and revenue reductions,” the budget office says. [Congressional Budget Office, 7/24/2012]

“Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt.” [The Hill, 6/28/2012]

REALITY: According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare reduces the deficit by $124 billion over 10 years and even more after that. [Politifact, 6/28/2012]

After the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, Romney declared, “And while I agreed with the dissent, that’s taken over by the fact that the majority of the Court said it is a tax, and therefore it is a tax.” [CBS, 7/4/2012]

REALITY: Romney instituted a similar requirement in Massachusetts and insisted as governor that the penalty is a way to discourage free-riders. Incidentally, Obamacare will provide millions of families with large tax credits to help purchase coverage and only about 1 percent of Americans who could afford health care but don’t buy insurnace would pay the fine, which would average about $600. [CAP, 7/5/2012]

Romney on Medicare

“And my campaign has made it very clear: the President’s cuts of $716 billion to Medicare, those cuts are going to be restored if I become President and Paul Ryan becomes Vice President.” [CBS, 8/15/2012]

REALITY: Obama is not robbing Medicare. In fact, the billions in Obamacare savings will slow the growth of Medicare over the next decade by eliminating overpayments to private insurers, reforming provider payments to encourage greater efficiency, tying reimbursements to improvements in economic productivity, and reducing fraud and abuse. As a result, the program’s trust fund will remain solvent until 2024. If Romney restores these savings — which Ryan included in his own budget — he would hasten Medicare’s insolvency to 2016. [Politifact, 8/15/2012; NYT 8/22/2012]

Romney says that he and Ryan “want to make sure that we preserve and protect Medicare.” [CBS, 8/13/2012]

REALITY: The claim that “premium support” will save Medicare for future generations is highly misleading. The federal government will spend less on the program because future will have to pay more. [CAP, 8/24/2012]

Nothing changes for current seniors or those nearing retirement,” Romney’s website claims. [MittRomney.com, 8/30/2012]

REALITY: Here is how Ryan’s Medicare plan will affect current seniors: 1) by repealing Obamacare, the 16 million seniors receiving preventive benefits without deductibles or co-pays and are saving $3.9 billion on prescription drugs will see a cost increase, 2) “premium support” will increase premiums for existing beneficiaries as private insurers lure healthier seniors out of the traditional Medicare program. [CAP, 8/24/2012]

Romney on Women’s Health

Romney claimed that under Obamacare, “the Catholic Church had to provide for insurance that provided contraceptives, sterilization, morning after pills to the employees of the Church.” [ThinkProgress, 2/21/2012]

REALITY: All houses of worship, including the Catholic Church, are specifically exempt from the rule requiring employers to provide preventive services like contraception to their employees. And for religiously affiliated organizations, the insurance company will be required to offer the coverage free of charge and the employer will not pay for it. [ThinkProgress, ">3/23/2012]

Romney argued that the contraception mandate would force employers to offer “abortive pills” free of charge. [ThinkProgress, 5/8/2012]

REALITY: Forms of contraception like hormonal birth control pills and the morning after pill do not work as “abortive” medication. These benefits will only prevent a pregnancy before fertilization. [ThinkProgress, 3/2/2012]

Romney on Energy

Obama has “already taken over” the energy industry, and is “waging a war” on coal and oil. [LA Times, 8/14/2012]

REALITY: In the last four years, oil production has exploded, hitting an eight-year high as oil exports shrunk to less than 50 percent for the first time since 1997. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, coal industry employment nationwide has grown to reach its highest level since 1996. It is up 6.7 percent in West Virginia, and 2.3 percent in Pennsylvania. Coal layoffs and shuttered plants Romney points to can be blamed on economic forces, not regulations, as utilities burn much cheaper than natural gas. [EIA, 8/30/2012; Charleston Gazzette, 11/18/2011; West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, 5/12/2012; EIA, 11/30/2011; Climate Progress, 6/23/2012]

“An independent inspector general looked at [the Solyndra] investment and concluded that the administration had steered money to friends and family and campaign contributors.” [Fortune, 6/4/2012]

REALITY: No investigation of Solyndra has ever found any “smoking guns.” Another independent review of all Department Of Energy loan programs by Herb Allison found no wrongdoing. In fact, the department’s own “internal watchdog has not found evidence to back claims of ‘improprieties’ in DOE’s review of conflicts of interest among law firms retained to help vet green energy loan applications.” CNN Money reported that Romney thoroughly mischaracterized the Solyndra facts, and “to make the other guy look bad.” A majority of the loan-application process for Solyndra occurred under the Bush administration. [Fortune, 3/27/2012; Politico, 5/29/2012; The Hill, 8/30/2012]

Romney says he would end tax credits for wind energy to create “a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.” [Des Moines Register, 8/5/2012]

REALITY: Romney has no interest in closing $4 billion tax loopholes that benefit oil and gas companies. His tax plan would give the five largest oil companies over $4 billion annually in new and existing tax breaks paid with taxpayer dollars. While the Congressional Research Service notes that closing oil’s loopholes would have little to no impact on production or gas prices, wind tax credits has been essential to spurring billions in private investment in the relatively young industry. [American Progress, 7/26/2012; CRS, 5/11/2012; Energy.gov, 8/14/2012]

[Obama] rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have dramatically increased the supply of Canadian oil to the U.S. market, and now Canada plans to send that oil to China instead,” Romney’s energy plan says, promising to approve the project. [MittRomney.com, 8/23/2012]

REALITY: The Keystone XL pipeline would ship tar sands crude across the country to be processed at Gulf Coast refineries with some of the fuel sold on the international market. Therefore, the pipeline would do virtually nothing to make America more energy independent. In some cases, it would actually raise the price of gasoline in the Midwest because the pipeline would surpass refineries in the region. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office recently concluded that the only way to protect Americans from oil and gas price shocks is to become more efficient and use less oil, not increase consumption. Romney opposes the new fuel economy standards that would save 2 million barrels of oil per day in 2025. Finally, construction and operation of Keystone XL would only create 6,000 jobs, according to figures from TransCanada, the company building the project – not 20,000 as Romney and other proponents have claimed. [Washington Post, 3/2/2012; Congressional Budget Office, 5/9/2012; Inside Climate News, 1/18/2012; LA Times, 8/28/2012]

Romney on Global Warming

“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.” [ThinkProgress, 10/28/2011]

REALITY: 97 percent of published, leading scientists agree that carbon pollution is causing climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has documented in exhaustive detail that global warming is 90 percent likely to be due to man-made greenhouse pollution. And a Koch-funded scientist has reversed himself, convinced by his own data that “humans are almost entirely the cause” of global warming, and even finding the IPCC didn’t go far enough. [NYT, 7/30/2012]

Romney on the Auto Bailout

“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” [The Hill, 5/8/2012]

REALITY: Romney claimed credit for the outcome of a process that played out in direct opposition to his preferred game plan. In a 2008 op-ed, Romney called for managed bankruptcy, but later opposed the government’s bailout, claiming that unions were not forced to make sufficient sacrifices. Auto industry insiders have called Romney’s preferred approach “fantasy.” [CNBC, 6/12/2012]

Romney on Welfare Reform

“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,” a Romney campaign ad says. [CBS, 8/7/2012]

REALITY: The administration’s welfare waiver initiative would strengthen work requirements by empowering states to innovate on strategies that could move 20 percent more of the caseload into sustainable employment. As the government’s directive announcing the initiative notes, “The Secretary is only interested in approving waivers if the state can explain in a compelling fashion why the proposed approach may be a more efficient or effective means to promote employment entry, retention, advancement, or access to jobs that offer opportunities for earnings and advancement that will allow participants to avoid dependence on government benefits.” Republican and Democratic governors — and even Romney and Paul Ryan — have all promoted flexibility before Obama embraced it. [HHS, 7/12/2012]

Romney on Food Stamps

“What unfortunately happens is with all the multiplicity of federal programs, you have massive overhead, with government bureaucrats in Washington administering all these programs, very little of the money that’s actually needed by those that really need help, those that can’t care for themselves, actually reaches them,” Romney said of the food stamp program. [MSNBC, 1/8/12]

REALITY: The food stamp program has relatively little overhead administrative costs — about 15.8 cents on the dollar. That’s about an average for the cost of a government-administered program. Plus, as the Washington Post points out, “That means almost 85 cents gets to the people who need the help.” [Brookings, 3/2008; Washington Post, 1/8/2012]

Romney on Security

President Obama “went around the world and apologized for America,” said Mitt Romney, reiterating a common Romney campaign and right-wing talking point. [9/22/11]

REALITY: The Washington Post’s fact checker gave this statement “four Pinocchios,” saying, “Take it from us: The apology tour never happened.” PolitiFact.com also took aim at Romney’s false claim, giving it a “Pants on Fire” rating. “We found not a single, full-throated apology” in Obama’s speeches while abroad, PolitiFact says, adding, “we think it’s a ridiculous charge.” [The Washington Post 12/10/11; PolitiFact.com 9/22/11]

President Obama alone is responsible for the $500 billion in military spending sequester. [Chicago Tribune, 5/19/2012]

REALITY: In fact, under the Budget Control Act, many Republicans voted in favor of the spending sequester. 28 Republican senators and 174 Republican members of the House backed the measure. [ThinkProgress, 5/20/2012; Roll Call, 8/2/2011; Roll Call, 8/1/2011 ]

In an op-ed attacking Obama’s Iran policy and ratcheting up the war rhetoric, Romney claimed that the Islamic Republic has a “nuclear bomb program.” [Washington Post, 3/5/2012]

REALITY: Top American officials, the International Atomic Energy Agency and U.S. and Israeli intelligence all recently said that while Iran may be moving toward a nuclear weapons capability, the regime has not made a decision to build a bomb. [ThinkProgress, 3/5/2012]

Obama has thrown Israel “under the bus.” [Bloomberg, 7/3/2012]

REALITY: Obama has ramped up security cooperation with Israel, providing specialized bombs that the Bush administration had once refused to hand off, funding Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system to the tune of $275 million, and approving the billions of dollars in defense aid packages passed by Congress every year. Israel’s top leaders are immensely appreciative — Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said, “this administration under President Obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past,” President Shimon Peres claimed that “When I look at the record of President Obama concerning the major issue security I think it’s a highly satisfactory record from Israeli point of view,” and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Obama merited “a badge of honor” for diplomatic support during the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations. [Newsweek, 9/23/2011; Arutz Sheva 7, 5/17/2012; CNN, 7/30/2012; CNN, 7/31/2012; Politico, 9/21/2011]

Romney claimed Obama “went before the United Nations” and “said nothing about thousands of rockets being rained in on Israel from the Gaza Strip.” [CNN, 1/26/2012]

REALITY: In his 2011 U.N. address, Obama said, “Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses.” The 2009 speech also decried rocket fire falling on the Israeli town of Sderot, saying “We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It is paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the night. It is paid by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own.” [White House Transcript, 9/21/2011; New York Times, 9/23/2009]

Romney on LGBT Rights

Romney claims that he “fully supports the rights of gay individuals and homosexuals.” [NBC, 12/16/2007

REALITY: Romney often makes this claim in the same sentence as he expresses his opposition to marriage equality. He also opposes federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people. [Salt Lake Tribune, 10/7/2010]

Romney says same-sex couples have a “legitimate interest” in adoption and “obviously, that’s their right.” [Boston Globe, 3/14/2006]

REALITY: Though Romney “acknowledges” that some states recognize same-sex adoptions, he has said multiples times that same-sex parents are harmful to children, telling Religious Right groups in 2006 that “the price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children.” [CNS News, 10/12/2011; RightWingWatch.org, 5/15/2012]

“We’re not going to force people of faith to violate their faith in order to carry out their profession,” Romney said, explaining that Catholic Charities in Massachusetts “had to get out of adoptions because they would not, under their faith, place children in the homes of same-sex couples.” [ThinkProgress, 9/5/2011]

REALITY: Catholic Charities received public funds but refused to place children with same-sex couples in spite of Massachusetts’ inclusive law. It could have continued making this distinction by continuing to operate on private funding only, but it voluntarily chose to shut down instead. Romney believes the government should subsidize religious groups even if they discriminate against gays. [Palmetto Freedom Forum, 9/5/2011]