The Washington Post

Mitt Romney’s casual, effortless falsehoods

One of the more remarkable things about Mitt Romney’s falsehoods is how casual they are. I’m not talking about the big Romney lies (Obama apologized for America; Obama made the economy worse; etc.). Rather, I’m talking about the small, almost inconquential falsehoods that slide out of Romney, day in and day out, as smoothly as a puck on an air hockey table.

Here, for instance, is Romney hitting back at Newt Gingrich’s recent criticism of the layoffs that occured on Romney’s watch at Bain Capital:

“In my enterprise, we had the occasion to help build tens of thousands of jobs, and he doesn’t understand the economy if he doesn’t understand that sometimes businesses succeed and sometimes fail,” Romney said, adding: “To suggest that there’s something un-American or something wrong about investing in an enterprise that, ultimately, doesn’t succeed bespeaks an extraordinary lack of understanding about how the economy works.”

But wait — did Gingrich really say that what Romney did at Bain was “un-American”? No, he didn’t. Here’s what Gingrich actually said:

“If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him. And I will bet you $10, not $10,000, that he won’t take the offer.”

Yet Romney, in a clearly calculated rebuttal, deftly slipped in the idea that Gingrich had called his Bain actions “un-American.”

Also: Romney’s claim that on his watch, Bain built “tens of thousands of jobs” is also suspect. looked at this claim in another context, and concluded that while many of the companies Bain invested in grew and added jobs, some downsized or went bankrupt, making the assertion almost impossible to prove or disprove.

I continue to maintain that Romney’s ability to lie, dissemble, distort and equivocate so effortlessly is a far more important story — and is far more telling about his character — than any $10,000 bet.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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