Campaigning in Iowa yesterday, President Obama reflected on some of Mitt Romney's recent speeches, including last week's remarks in Iowa. "I know Governor Romney came to Des Moines last week; warned about a 'prairie fire of debt,'" Obama said. "But he left out some facts. His speech was more like a cow pie of distortion. I don't know whose record he twisted the most -- mine or his."
It was a rhetorical point, of course, but when it comes to Romney's falsehoods, I'm not sure whose record he twists more, either. Maybe you can help me decide by taking a look at the 19th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity.
1. In an interview with Mark Halperin, Romney argued about President Obama, "Did he hold unemployment below 8%? It's been, what, 39 months now. That hasn't happened. He promised it would happen by virtue of his stimulus."
As Romney surely knows by now, that's simply not true.
2. In the same interview, Romney asked, "Are people happy with ... the level of foreclosures?"
Romney was trying to attack the administration, but he's on record supporting more foreclosures, making this, at a minimum, wildly misleading.
3. Romney added, in reference to the president, " Look at him right now. He just doesn't have a clue what to do to get this economy going. I do."
Actually, Obama's jobs agenda, unveiled in September, included specific policy proposals that Romney had previously endorsed. If the president "doesn't have a clue," then Romney doesn't have a clue.
4. Romney went on to say, "I actually lay out a plan to get us to a balanced budget within eight years."
5. Romney also argued, in the context of talking about budget savings, "I'm going to take action immediately by eliminating programs like Obamacare, which become more and more expensive down the road -- by eliminating them, we get to a balanced budget."
He's lying. In fact, this is the polar opposite of the truth -- Obamacare's savings become greater in future years, and killing the law makes it harder to balance the budget.
6. Romney said, in addressing likely budget cuts, " I'd like my grandkids to be able to watch PBS. But I'm not willing to borrow money from China."
The implication here is that U.S. debt is financed by the Chinese. This isn't true -- China only holds about 8% of the nation's debt.
7. On taxes, Romney argued, "I'm not looking to lower the tax burden paid by the highest-income Americans. That's a fundamental principle."
That's a fundamental falsehood. Romney's plan slashes taxes on the wealthy.
8. On a related note, he added, "I'm looking, if there's any break at all, the break will go to middle-income Americans that have been most hurt by the Obama economy."
In reality, it's the rich, not the middle class, that primarily benefits from Romney's tax plan.
9. In a speech in Washington, Romney insisted, "President Obama has decided to attack success."
The Romney campaign has never been able to point to a single credible example of Obama attacking success.
10. In the same speech, Romney added, "When the President took office ... he faced a spending crisis. It's only gotten worse."
There is no universe in which this is even close to being true.
11. In making the case against Obama's student-loan reforms, the Romney campaign said it intends to "reverse President Obama's nationalization of the student loan market."
This is demonstrably false -- the market wasn't nationalized. Since all kinds of private-sector banks still make all kinds of student loans, the argument doesn't even make sense.
12. Romney told Fox News that "it certainly sounds like" the president is, as Rush Limbaugh put it, "running against capitalism." Romney added, "There's no question but that he's attacking capitalism."
No sensible person could possibly believe this is true, and neither Romney nor his aides have ever provided an example of the president attacking capitalism. Obama routinely does the opposite.
13. Romney argued in an op-ed that Obama "signed into law a budget scheme that threatens to saddle the U.S. military with nearly $1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years," which the president's own Defense Secretary criticized.
That's not even close to being accurate.
14. Referencing Noam Scheiber's book, The Escape Artists, Romney argued, "In this book, [White House officials] point out that they said the American people will forget how long the recovery took. So that means they went into this knowing that when they passed Obamacare, it was going to make life harder for the American people."
That's not really what the book says, and it's not what the president's team argued.
15. Romney boasted this week, in a rare reference to his one term as governor, "[W]e didn't just slow the rate of growth of our government, we actually cut it."
16. The Romney campaign also argued this week that Romney created "well in excess of 100,000" jobs as an executive at Bain Capital.