Sunday Shows: The “L” WordPosted: October 7, 2012
No, I don’t mean “liberal.” The “L” word for this week is “lies.” Democrats were out on the Sunday shows this morning calling out Mitt Romney for lying in last Wednesday’s presidential debate. Talk about a “game changer.” It used to be that politicians were uncomfortable coming right out and calling their opponents liars, but with the number and scale of Romney’s lies in the 2012 campaign, that calculus has changed. Two Obama surrogates actually used the word “lie” and two Obama advisers called Romney “dishonest.” It appears to have a been a coordinated attack.
On Face the Nation, David Axelrod called Romney “dishonest.”
“Governor Romney showed up to deliver a performance, and he delivered a very good performance,” Axelrod said. “It was completely unrooted in fact; it was completely unrooted in the position he’s taken before, and he spent 90 minutes trying to undo two years of campaigning.”
Doubling down on his assertion, Axelrod said, “I think he was dishonest…absolutely.”
Axelrod criticized Romney for saying during the debates that he “never proposed” $5 trillion worth of tax cuts, which an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found would occur if Romney implemented his plan to reduce tax rates by 20 percent. “That was dishonest,” Axelrod said….
“It’s impossible….He cannot name one loophole that he would close. If you took away all the loopholes for upper-income Americans, every single one of them, he would still be trillions of dollars short.” In order to pay for the tax cuts and remain revenue neutral, Axelrod said, “He has to sock it to the middle class or explode the deficit.”
Suggesting that Mr. Obama had expected, and prepared for, a more substantive debate, Mr. Axelrod said, “I think he went thinking that this was going to be a discussion about the country’s future, and he was confronted by this kind of Gantry-esque performance on the other side, just serially rewriting history.”
The program’s moderator, Bob Schieffer, stopped Mr. Axelrod for clarification.
Yes, Mr. Axelrod said, he was referring to Elmer Gantry, the title character in a book – banned in Boston when published in 1927 – and later a movie about a charismatic, fast-talking, but deeply dishonest street preacher.
Axelrod also noted that President Obama “was ‘taken aback at the brazenness’ of the Republican nominee’s answers.”
Robert Gibbs also used the word “dishonest” to describe Romney on This Week.
“The underpinnings and foundation of that performance were fundamentally dishonest,” said Gibbs, an Obama campaign senior adviser. “Look, the only thing he outlined that he would cut in the budget is Big Bird. He’s taken the battle straight to Sesame Street and let Wall Street run hog wild.”
The Obama campaign has attacked Mitt Romney for tax plan, which is to lower tax rates, but also close certain loopholes, which would produce revenue for the government. Romney has not specified exactly which ones he would close.
“And let’s be clear, if you’re willing to say anything to get elected president, if you are willing to make up your positions and walk away from them, I think the American people have to understand, how can they trust you if you are elected president,” Gibbs said.
On Fox News Sunday, top Obama surrogate Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said of Romney’s tax plan, “The fact of the matter is in this debate we saw Big Bird meet the big lie.” In addition, he told Chris Wallace:
“Mitt Romney tells us to trust him, his plan is hiding behind door No. 3 with Carol Merrill and his undisclosed tax returns,” O’Malley said, referring to “Let’s Make a Deal,” the game show that was popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Merrill was the model that assisted host Monty Hall.
Another Obama campaign surrogate, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia said on CNN’s State of the Union that
Mitt Romney had offered “lie after lie” during last week’s debate.
“He is the Etch-A-Sketch guy, [he] has transformed himself and, quite frankly, we always have to wonder which Mitt is going to show up.”
Nutter said that Romney
had undergone an “11th hour conversion” before his debate appearance. “So, if you just lay out lie after lie after lie about your own plan, as well as what the president has been talking about, of course you can look good,” he said.
I’m very glad that Democrats are getting so tough on Romney. But on Meet the Press, even Romney surrogate Newt Gingrich agreed that Romney was lying about his tax plan.
When asked if Romney was being dishonest in the presidential debate, Gingrich said it was “clear” Romney ran away from the tax plan he has long promised on Wednesday night.
GINGRICH: I think you got to look carefully at how Romney structured, what he said is, something that frankly true supply siders don’t necessarily love but it’s good politics, he said, “I will close enough deductions that wealthy Americans will not get a net tax cut.” Now, that’s a pretty clear description.
Senior Obama Campaign Adviser Robert GIBBS: Let me just say this. Standing on the stage with you in Arizona, this is what Mitt Romney said.” Number one, I said today we’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country, by 20%, including the top 1%.” Mr. Speaker, you mentioned that your opponent, Mitt Romney, had a problem with being dishonest in the primary. My question is, was he dishonest when he said that?
GINGRICH: I think it’s clear he changed.
GIBBS: So we don’t disagree that he changed.
The most stinging rebuke this morning came from Paul Krugman’s indictment of the media coverage of Romney’s debate performance on This Week.
On ABC’s “This Week” roundtable Sunday, Paul Krugman said Mitt Romney is exploiting a press that is ineffective at holding politicians accountable for lies.
“The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths,” he said.
“I don’t know whether to blame [the debate moderator Jim] Lehrer or the president, but it was kind of amazing because Romney was not only saying things that are not true, he was saying things that his own campaign had previously said weren’t true,” said the economist and New York Times columnist.
Citing Romney’s claims on taxes and preexisting conditions, Krugman said the Republican nominee showed “contempt for us by thinking the news media will not cover on me as long as they say forcefully I won.”
Please use this as an open thread. What are you hearing?