To bolster his welfare lie, Mitt Romney's new attack ad cites a new source: the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It's obviously intended to give the smear the air credibility -- if Romney had just made this up out of whole cloth, the newspaper, described in the spot as "one of the most respected newspapers in America," wouldn't have endorsed his loathsome position.
But Romney did simply make this up out of whole cloth, and the fact that the Times-Dispatch misled its readers with a ridiculous editorial doesn't justify the lie.
Indeed, in an amusing twist, none other than the Richmond Times-Dispatch ran a story on Romney's smear today, noting that the Republican campaign's attack ad "pushes [a] debunked claim."
Mitt Romney's campaign is up with a new ad in Virginia and other swing states using a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial in support of the Republican's continued attack on President Barack Obama's welfare policies.
The 30-second ad doubles down on the Romney campaign's claim that Obama ended welfare's work requirement "gutting welfare reform," a charge that has been debunked by multiple independent fact-checkers. [...]
On the day it was released, PolitiFact.com debunked the first of the Romney campaign ads claiming that "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," rating it "Pants on Fire."
FactCheck.org followed suit, finding that Obama's changes to the welfare reform law neither gutted it, nor "dropped" the work provisions. Rather, the piece says, states were given authority to change the work requirements with a goal of increasing job placement. Making it a hat trick, the Washington Post Fact-Checker also gave the claim "Four Pinnochios."
So, Romney is saying the Richmond Times-Dispatch is "one of the most respected newspapers in America," so its reporting should be taken seriously. Great. The Richmond Times-Dispatch is also saying Romney is lying. Does the Republican still think it's still "one of the most respected newspapers in America"?
The problem, obviously, is that the newspaper's strange, Republican-dominated editorial board was so eager to attack the president, it lost sight of reality. As Dan Radmacher explained, the members of Times-Dispatch's editorial board apparently haven't "read their own paper."
The good news for the paper's readers is that the firewall between its good reporters and silly editorial board appears to high and sound.
Postscript: Incidentally, the Romney ad also quotes a Daily Caller columnist, who, as it turns out, believes the argument underpinning the attack on Obama has been "overstated and oversimplified." It's as if Romney can't get anything right.