* Another day, another barrage of casual dissembling from Romney: How do you explain Mitt Romney’s penchant for casually uttering statements that can be completely debunked as quickly as he makes them?
By all accounts, Romney won last night’s debate, and his grip on the nomination appears to be tightening. The question is at what cost to his credibility. At last night’s debate, for instance, Romney claimed that Obama “went before the United Nations” and “said nothing about thousands of rockets being rained in on Israel from the Gaza Strip.”
All you have to do is click on the links, and search for the word “rocket.”
Oh wait, I get it now. Romney claimed Obama said nothing about the “thousands” of rockets being rained on Israel. And it’s true: Obama didn’t use the word “thousands.” My bad!
* Romney disavows his own ad: Relatedly, the Boston Globe’s Glen Johnson has a nice takedown of Romney’s serial dissembling last night. Key moment: Romney claimed he had not seen an ad atttacking Gingrich that ended with Romney’s own voice approving of the ad’s message.
* Romney pulls ahead in Florida: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Romney surging ahead of Gingrich in Florida, 38-29. Key footnote: Much of this polling was done before last night’s debate, meaning the spread will likely get even wider before Tuesday’s voting.
* Dems to press GOP with new strategy on taxes: Keep an eye on this one: Senate Democrats plan to pivot off Obama’s speech this week to launch a new push for tax reform, with raising revenues from the rich and from corporations that offshore at its center.
Messaging chief Chuck Schumer: “Republicans will not go along out of a desire to cooperate, but they may find they have to out of political necessity.”
Whether that’s true or not, Dems hope expected GOP opposition to these proposals will dovetail with the argument over tax fairness at the center of the presidential race — helping to tie the unpopular Congressional GOP to likely nominee Romney (who, conveniently enough, personifies everything Dems allege is wrong with the tax system).
* Poll finds Americans want a Dem Congress: The Dem imperative of tying the nominee to the GOP Congress becomes even clearer in light of NBC/WSJ’s new poll, which finds that Americans want a Dem Congress over a GOP one by six points, 47-41.
* Obama’s successful auto rescue will be central in 2012: Paul Krugman notes that Mitch Daniels’s post-SOTU criticism of the auto rescue as “crony capitalism” proves that Dems were right, and Republicans were wrong, and that this also applies to the fundamental philosophical difference between the two parties:
One side believes that economies succeed solely thanks to heroic entrepreneurs; the other has nothing against entrepreneurs, but believes that entrepreneurs need a supportive environment, and that sometimes government has to help create or sustain that supportive environment.
And the view that it takes more than business heroes is the one that fits the facts.
Which is why the Obama campaign will make the auto rescue absolutely central to its broader case, and why Romney will keep trying to muddy the waters with absurd comparisons of it to his Bain work.
* The latest good news from Michigan: With Obama set to visit the state today, Jonathan Cohn notes that the auto industry is planning to add jobs, and reminds us that the auto rescue was not a politically easy thing to do in the face of implacable Republican oppostion.
* Obama to unveil new college aid proposal: The New York Times previews what Obama will announce in Michigan today: A plan to “tie college’s eligibility for campus-based aid programs” to the colleges’ “success in improving affordability and value for students.”
The plan could be politically potent in an election year, particularly among young voters, a core constituency that the Obama campaign needs to boost enthusiasm among in order to come close to reproducing his 2008 performance.
* Dems keep hitting Romney on honesty: The DNC is out with a new Web video fact-checking Romney’s claims at last night’s debate, particularly his insistence that the wealth he amassed will be “good for America,” with a relentless focus on the theme that Romney “will say anything to get elected.”
* And is GOP really going to run against “fairness and shared responsibility”? Eugene Robinson on the writhing contortions of Republicans who are trying to come up with a way to argue against Obama’s call for economic fairness shared sacrifice.
As I noted here yesterday, all indications are that the only argument Romney has against this case is the small-minded “envy” and “class warfare” line.