Mitt Romney’s Biggest Debate Whoppers
While many observers and flash polls credit Mitt Romney with winning last night’s presidential debate, it’s important to look a little closer and see how he accomplished this feat: lying. After months of building his campaign on various myths and distortions, Romney’s entire debate strategy also appeared to be premised on gross distortions and falsehoods about both his own policy positions and President Obama’s record. As Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson put it, Romney “revealed himself to be an accomplished and unapologetic liar.”
Here are Mitt’s three most mendacious myths from last night:
1. TAXES: “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about,” said Romney. A Tax Policy Center analysis of Romney’s proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, eliminating the estate tax and other tax reductions, would reduce federal revenue $480 billion in 2015. This amount to $5 trillion over the decade.
Romney also said, “My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.” This is of course completely untrue, but also directly at odds with what Romney was claiming during the GOP primary. During a February debate with his Republican primary rivals, Romney proclaimed:
“We’re going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 Percent.”
The Obama campaign has already cut a new ad addressing this particular issue that is set to air in swing states.
2. MEDICARE: Romney made numerous false claims about Medicare, but two stand out:
- The oft-repeated false allegation that Obama harmed seniors by cutting $716 BILLION from Medicare. As we’ve often discussed in this space, the savings Obamacare achieves through cracking down on fraud and abuse and ending overpayments to insurance companies and providers has no impact on beneficiaries. Indeed, Obamacare provides Medicare beneficiaries with new no-cost preventive care, is already saving seniors billions on prescription drugs, and will eventually completely close the notorious prescription drug donut hole. Finally, the savings achieved by Obamacare actually extend the solvency of Medicare by 8 years, while Romney’s plan to put the waste back in will actually bring the date of the Medicare trust fund’s insolvency ahead to 2016 — just four years from now.
- Romney also claimed that his plan to end the Medicare guarantee and turn it into a voucher plan would not hurt current seniors. A senior who is age 64 today would face increased costs of at least $11,100 and, eventually, traditional Medicare would collapse entirely and force all seniors into the hands of private insurance companies.
3. PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: In one of the more outrageous distortions of his own policy positions, Romney claimed that “preexisting conditions are covered under my plan.” This too is completely untrue. Romney’s actual position, as his own top strategist admitted immediately after the debate, is that only people with continuous insurance coverage would be guaranteed insurance if they have a pre-existing condition. It’s worth nothing that this isn’t even an improvement from the status quo, it’s been the law since 1996. So in reality Romney’s plan would continue to allow insurance companies to deny coverage to millions of Americans with preexisting conditions.
Romney’s misinformation throughout the debate was so prolific that even his own campaign admitted to reporters that he said things that were completely untrue.
For a more thorough accounting of Mitt’s mendacity about Wall Street reform and numerous other topics, check out the compilation put together this morning by ThinkProgress.
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