Sunday Shows: The “L” Word

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.”

Axelrod even compared Romney to Sinclair Lewis’s fictional character Elmer Gantry.

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?

33 Comments on “Sunday Shows: The “L” Word”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Surprisingly, Joan Walsh gave the “Sunday Best” award to Chuck Todd’s responses to the Jack Welch and other GOP nuts on their claims that “Chicago” manipulated the jobs numbers.

    Todd can sometimes seem a captive of the Beltway, but on Sunday he staged a prison break, going off on Welch and Donald Trump and formerly respectable business leaders for their vicious insanity.

    “This is really making me crazy,” he told his “Meet the Press” friends. ” The Federal Reserve gets questioned now for politics these days. The Supreme Court and John Roberts get – we have got, we have corroded – what we’re doing, we are corroding trust in our federal government in a way. And, one-time responsible people are doing it. And the idea that Donald Trump and Jack Welch, rich people with crazy conspiracy theories, can get traction on this is a bad trend…”We have mainstreamed, ‘when did you stop beating your wife.’”

    Video at the link.

  2. dakinikat says:

    I couldn’t believe the panel ganged up on Krugman for simply saying that the press can’t handle correcting lies. I was dumbstruck. I thought that was part of their jobs under the constitution.

    • dakinikat says:

      This part by Mary Matalin was particularly shocking since Romney even said it was a voucher plan he supported in the debate:

      MATALIN: You have mischaracterized and you have lied about every position and every particular of the Ryan plan on Medicare, from the efficiency of Medicare administration, to calling it a voucher plan, so you’re hardly credible on calling somebody else a liar.

      speaking of hardly credible …

      And is it more or does she look like her face is stretched like an overkill on a face lift?

    • bostonboomer says:

      That was ridiculous. I thought Krugman held up pretty well though. Mary Matalin and Peggy Noonan aren’t the most credible spokespeople.

      • dakinikat says:

        Even James Carville said that was the president’s job to do that in the debate … but really, the tv media hasn’t covered the lies like the print media has so far …

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Sorry but I think both Matalin & Carville are political whores. Seriously, if they were truly as rabid about their politics as the characters they PLAY on TV, they would have killed each other years ago.

        Ooooh, Newter has strayed from the fold again. I see an a$$-whooping in his near future.

        I can’t watch those Sunday morning shows. I watched Up & the first hour of MHP & then Moyers. Great show on Moyers with the 2 anchors from Univision. For me, it’s nice to hear other than whiter than white talking heads, mostly male, on the MSM. Hispanic & African American voices provide a different perspective from the same old same old bull$hit. In case you didn’t check out the UP segment discussing the use of “illegal immigrant”, here’s the link again:

        Kat, thought of you this AM on MHP. The former Santorum gay, AA campaign aide said that in “our ” lifetime we’ll see Hispanic, Indian & Asian presidents. MHP said she’s fine with that as long as it isn’t BOBBY JINDAL!

    • Thank you Dak, I thought the same damn thing!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Elizabeth Warren has moved into a “sustained lead” of around 5 points–that’s the average of recent polls by TPM.

    Tammy Baldwin is still up by nearly 10. There was no effect on these races from the debate.

    Anyone want to bet me that Romney’s “bump” will be short lived?

  4. RalphB says:

    Seems plain enough to me. Maybe republicans can’t do simple arithmetic? They don’t believe in science after all.

    TPM: Obama Spox Runs Through $5 Trillion Tax Math With Reporters

    Jen Psaki, traveling press secretary for the Obama campaign, started the press gaggle aboard Air Force One Sunday by running through the math of Mitt Romney’s tax plan, according to a readout of the gaggle. “I just wanted to go through some simple ‘back of the notecard’ math on how we get to the $5 trillion [number],” Psaki said.

    So lowering the rates, as Mitt Romney has said he would do, to 20 percent — $2.7 trillion over 10 years; eliminating the AMT — $700 billion; repealing high-income payroll tax — $300 billion; ending estate tax — $150 billion; lowering the corporate rate from 35 to 25 — $1.1 trillion. That adds up to $4.8 trillion. If you factor in interest for additional borrowing, you get to $5 trillion.

    On Sunday, the Romney campaign released a new ad to push back on the claim that his tax plan calls for $5 trillion in cuts, accusing President Obama of “not telling the truth about Mitt Romney’s tax plan.”

  5. pdgrey says:

    Hey guys, I had to get in a day of work before dental surgery tomorrow so I’ll have to catch up on all the great links!
    But here is Matt Taibbi

  6. Pilgrim says:

    My own feeling is that the word “lie,” should, for several reasons be used very seldom, one of which is that over-use would tend to reduce its power. It’s like the word “fuck” which no longer shocks at all. Recently this lie-word has been thrown around so much that it is heading for a similar end of almost meaninglessness. Too bad. It should be held in reserve for not-frequent use.

    • dakinikat says:

      Well, it’s apt for Romney … he lies pathologically. I’ve never seen anything like it.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I haven’t either. I still find “f%ck” shocking, depending on where I hear it. I don’t find the word “lie” shocking at all. A lie is a lie, no need to sugarcoat it. Obviously those who are rooting for Romney or against Obama don’t like to hear it. Too bad, so sad.

    • Obama is a liar, Romney is a liar squared/cubed, every empty suit I’ve seen in recent political history has been a liar… From the history books, it appears this is nothing new. Funny how the only person in a debate I really remember being called out for being a liar (“disingenuous”) was Hillary. By Obama no less. Which is why I’m not buying any of the excuses or apologia for Obama’s piss poor debate performance. He’s perfectly capable of calling out Hillary for being disingenuous (a beltway Clinton derangement syndrome meme) but he couldn’t call out Romney on all his thousands of lies in action/motion during that debate? Puhleez.

      • Seriously says:

        Yeah, I always thought the interesting aspect of this race would be how does Elmer Gantry run against Elmer Gantry. It poses a very interesting set of challenges I’d think, but it does seem fairly unlikely that Obama’s performance was due to utter paralysis caused by being shocked, shocked to discover that gambling was occurring in this Establishment (no pun intended).

  7. Fannie says:

    nobody feels obligated to deal with the lies, and liars……….banging my head.

  8. RalphB says:


    • RalphB says:

  9. RalphB says:

    Is Hugo Chavez going to get beat? Sure looks possible.