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Right Turn
Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 06/21/2012

Shiny object battered by the facts

The Obama team is running out of shiny objects, those specious allegations that send most of the media on a wild goose chase. Like confused bloodhounds thrown off the track, members of the press race off brimming with excitement only to pad around in circles, howl a bit and then give up before getting wind of something else. But it is hard to keep generating enough of these distractions, so the Obama team is reusing shiny objects, no matter how tarnished.

My colleague Glenn Kessler demolishes Bain Attack 2.0, delivering four Pinocchios. It is essential to read Glenn’s post in full to appreciate how inaccurate is the “outsourcing” ad, but I’ll share just a couple snippets.

First, he dissects the term “corporate raider,” used to smear Romney:

In other words, this is generally an adversarial stance, in which an investor sees an undervalued asset and forces management to spin off assets, take the company private or break it up. In a previous life, The Fact Checker covered renowned corporate raiders such as Carl Icahn and his ilk. We also have closely studied Bain Capital, and can find no examples that come close to this situation; its deals were done in close association with management. Indeed, Bain generally held onto its investments for four or five years, in contrast to the quick bust-em-ups of real corporate raiders.”

It turns out the one time Reuters used the phrase was an error.

As Right Turn pointed out, Obama also got the particulars in his ad wrong: “Regarding the outsourcing claims, we have frowned on these before. The Obama campaign rests its case on three examples of Bain-controlled companies sending jobs overseas. . . . The claim that Romney outsourced jobs as governor is equally overblown.”

In sum, the Bain attack is a lie wrapped up in exaggeration and distortion. Understand that the case against Mitt Romney — that he was a corporate raider or vulture — is wrong. But the Obama team doesn’t care. This suggests both desperation and the inability to debunk Romney’s claim of 100, 000 net jobs created.

Romney has put out a list of big job-creating successes and done a rough count of the losses. The time frame, however, is vague, and many journalists, including Glenn, have made the case that the Romney team hasn’t sufficiently corroborated its claim. But if it is false or exaggerated, wouldn’t the fierce Obama people by now have undercut that boast? Heck, if they could, the press would eat it up.

Now why hasn’t the Obama team done this? There are a few possibilities (variations of one another, actually): The figure is correct or even understated; any other time frame deployed undercuts the Obama assertions of post-Bain layoffs ( like the examples Glenn debunked); or it’s very hard to slice and dice the number in a way that gets to a lower number of jobs created.

When a campaign prefers a spurious, easily debunked claim over a potentially more sturdy one, you have to conclude the latter doesn’t really “work.”

The shiny object this week is rusted, banged up and rightly to be tossed on the junk heap; Romney’s pro-Bain case is looking pretty good so far.

By  |  10:05 AM ET, 06/21/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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