There's often a gap between Romney's rhetoric and reality.
There may come a point at which the issue of Mitt Romney's propensity for falsehoods reaches some kind of critical mass. In fact, we may have already reached that point.
David Bernstein argued persuasively this week, "I think we've seen, over the past couple of months, an important tipping point where much of the national political media now recognizes ... that, in the Romney campaign, they are dealing with something unlike the normal spin and hyperbole. They are realizing that Romney and his campaign simply cannot be trusted, in any way, about anything."
I thought of Bernstein's piece on Tuesday when MSNBC's "Morning Joe" did two segments on Romney lying, rather blatantly, about his record on health care. It came the day before Rick Santorum also began targeting Romney as someone willing to "not tell the truth" to win.
Once a candidate earns a reputation for being shamelessly dishonest, it's awfully tough to reclaim a degree of credibility. And with that, here's this week's installment of Romney's biggest falsehoods of the week.
1. Commenting on his health care reform law in Massachusetts, Romney told voters in Ohio this week, "Early on, we were asked if what you did in Massachusetts should be something you'd have the federal government do? I said no from the very beginning. No. This is designed for our state and our circumstance."
2. Romney said of President Obama and veterans' health care, "He's going after TRICARE. Saying, 'Ok, we're going to raise the co-pays. We're going to cut the benefits.' Why is it we go after military families?"
This isn't even remotely accurate.
3. Romney said of Obama this week, "He gave a speech the other day at his State of the Union address. He didn't even mention the deficit or the debt."
Obama mentioned the deficit and the debt six times in his State of the Union address.
4. Pretending to understand U.S. policy in Iran, Romney said Obama "failed" to place sanctions on Iran.
That's the opposite of reality.
5. Also on Iran, Romney said this week that Obama "failed to communicate that military options are on the table" with regards to Iran's nuclear program.
6. On Tuesday night, Romney said Obama has "doubled" the deficit.
It's amazing Romney keeps saying this -- he's either lying or he's bad at arithmetic. When Obama took office, the deficit was about $1.3 trillion. Last year, it was $1.29 trillion. This year, it's on track to be about $1.1 trillion. Does Romney not know what "double" means?
7. In the same speech, Romney said Obama "lost our AAA credit rating."
No, actually, he didn't.
8. In the same speech, Romney argued, "President Obama wants to raise your taxes; I'm going to cut them."
Actually, Obama only wants to raise taxes on those making over $250,000 a year. Romney proposes massive tax breaks, except for those struggling most -- their taxes would go up under Romney's plan.
9. On Social Security and Medicare, Romney claimed, "I have a plan that saves both of them, and I have the courage to put that plan on the table."
No, actually, he doesn't -- at least not yet. Romney has presented no details about his "plan" for Medicare and Social Security.
10. Romney told AIPAC that Reagan's philosophy of "peace through strength" is why "the Iranians released the hostages on the same day and at the same hour that Reagan was sworn in."
Romney isn't just lying about what transpired in 1981; he's making a claim that's laughably untrue.
Paul Waldman wrote this week, "So here's my question: Just what will it take for reporters to start writing about the question of whether Mitt Romney is, deep within his heart, a liar?"
With each passing week, I find myself asking the same question.