Some are suggesting that more than 50 million folks will watch Wednesday’s debate. Let’s hope so. And let’s hope that President Obama will do a better job of combating the inevitable falsehoods that will flow freely from Mittens’ lips than what I saw this weekend, as Romney surrogates lined up to lie to the Sunday morning shows.
On ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos played a clip of President Obama saying this:
OBAMA: Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double-down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place.
Based on that clip, Stephanopoulos then had the following exchange with his guest, the 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie:
STEPHANOPOULOS: If you were on the stage Wednesday, how would you respond to that?
CHRISTIE: Stop lying, Mr. President.
CHRISTIE: Yeah. That’s what I’d say.
God, I hope Romney takes his advice. Calling the President of the United States a liar during a debate would certainly send Rush Limbaugh into an orgasmic coma, but it would end any chance Romney has of being president.
But I digress. The exchange continued:
STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s the lie there?
CHRISTIE: That he — Governor Romney is not talking about more tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact, what he said is that the wealthy will pay just as much under a Romney administration as they pay today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But their tax rate will go down into the 20s.
CHRISTIE: Right. But their tax rate will go down, but they will lose deductions and other loopholes that will have them paying the same. That’s what Governor Romney’s plan is.
Since I find this so important, as a public service I will once again—my last post covered the same territory with Roy Blunt spouting the same lie—provide proof that there is a concerted effort on the part of Republicans to lie about Romney’s tax plan. Chris Christie is just the latest party hack to go on TV and bear false witness for the cause.
From the Romney for President website:
That is part of the fifth point in Romney’s five-point Plan For More Jobs and More Take-Home Pay. Get that? “More Take-Home Pay.” Not “the same take-home pay,” but more. More. And it clearly says “Reduce taxes.” It doesn’t just say “Reduce tax rates.” Reduce means “to bring down.” So Romney clearly is claiming that he will bring down taxes “through individual and corporate tax reform” and put more money in the pockets of those so-called job creators.
Now, Stephanopoulos should have asked Christie how Romney’s secretive scheme, based on what is in the five-point plan he is so proud of, could actually have wealthy folks “paying the same,” yet still have “more take-home pay” and reduced taxes?
But nope. Stephanopoulos failed to nail down this important point. Here is an exchange a bit later:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But I — I can imagine the comeback from President Obama at that point, when you say where are the details, that same question could be put to Governor Romney. You’ve called for hard truths in the convention, but Governor Romney has not been willing to lay out which deductions are going to go away for the wealthy.
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, the president of the United States has an obligation after four years as being president to be the one who is the most specific.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So the challenger doesn’t have to?
CHRISTIE: Well, I didn’t say he doesn’t have to. I said he has a greater obligation. The president of the United States hasn’t stepped up to the plate and done that. That ad does nothing — nothing to add to the debate and discussion except to not tell the truth. I mean, he starts off by not telling the truth, which is that the president says Governor Romney wants more tax cuts for the rich. I mean, it’s just not true. Governor Romney has said it over and over and over again, the rich will not pay less under his tax plan.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Overall as a share, but their tax rates will come down.
CHRISTIE: Yeah, but, George, it’s like saying, you know, you change the rates, but if the same amount of money’s coming out of my pocket or your pocket, you don’t care what the rate is. If the same amount of money’s coming out, you’re not paying less.
Besides Christie’s creation of a hilarious and juicy double-standard here (the president “has an obligation” to be “the most specific“), notice how Stephanopoulos confirmed the lie Christie is telling? Responding to Christie’s claim that “the rich will not pay less” under Romney’s tax plan, Stephanopoulos falsely said, “Overall as a share, but their tax rates will come down.”
And that is how a lie, in American politics, can become a truth. Just say it over and over and over and at some point a time-plagued journalist will simply affirm it and move on to something else.
I suspect, though, that on Wednesday night, standing on the stage with President Obama, Mr. Romney will not have such an easy time morphing his “More take-home pay” and “reduced taxes” plan into a revenue neutral reform plan that will magically cause the economy to grow and the deficit to shrink, while not giving one penny more to those job creators.
That lie may finally get exposed, hopefully in front of 50 million people.