“Mitt vs. Mitt,” Fact Checked

The Democratic National Committee let GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney have it yesterday with a new 4 minute web video entitled “Mitt vs. Mitt,” intended to cast aspersions on his trustworthiness as a public policy flip-flopper, borrowing heavily from the Bush-Cheney 2004 anti-John Kerry playbook. Perhaps predicting that Romney is the true eventual nominee, the DNC ad attacks Romney where he’s most vulnerable: in distrust among many, especially conservatives in his own party, that he places ephemeral political expedience before principle in his shifting policy positions.

First, here’s the ad:

Ever the intrepid defender of accuracy over b.s., the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Factcheck.org released an analysis of the DNC ad that identifies a host of distortions of Romney’s public statements and positions. What did they come up with?

The Denizens recommend the entire analysis to you, which is detailed and insightful.  But here’s the quick skinny:

The Democrats have put little money behind the TV ad, but the Web video has received a lot of media buzz and for good reason. It has long been expected that Romney, a leading contender for the GOP nomination, would be a top Democratic target. With this video, the Democrats revealed their line of attack against Romney. They will go after Romney’s character — raising doubts in voters’ minds about his trustworthiness by playing up his reputation for changing his mind on policy issues. But how much of Romney’s reputation is earned and how much of it is myth? We looked at all 15 issues raised in the lengthy Web video to find out. We found four flip-flops, one flip-flop-flip, one half-flip — and nine times when the DNC wrongly accused Romney of flip-flopping.

Specifically,

  • The DNC says Romney flip-flopped on the Wall Street bailout — when, in fact, he has consistently supported its original intent but opposed Obama’s decision to extend TARP and use its funds for other programs, including the auto bailout.
  • The DNC also claims Romney changed his position on the auto bailout. The fact is Romney consistently called for a “managed bankruptcy” similar to what was later undertaken, but he opposed the use of federal funds by both Bush and Obama.
  • The video casts Romney as a one-time supporter of Obama’s stimulus. In fact, Romney favored a smaller stimulus and opposed the “excessive borrowing” of Obama’s plan as the “wrong course.”
  • The DNC video also portrays Romney as supporting the Obama health care plan. Not true. He has consistently defended his Massachusetts law as right for his state, but opposed imposing it on other states by federal law.
  • Similarly, the DNC claims Romney supported Obama’s education program, Race to the Top. But, again, Romney supported some of the program’s goals, but he said those kinds of issues ought to be handled at the state level, not federal.

We also found the DNC video wrongly accuses Romney of reversing his positions on the minimum wage, stem-cell research, don’t ask don’t tell, and whether he hired illegal immigrants.

Of course, the irony in Romney’s response to the DNC ad, that it takes his words out of context, identifies the very strategy with which the Romney campaign attacked President Obama in its very first campaign ad.

Hoo boy… it’s gonna be a loooonnnggg campaign. Keep Factcheck.org close… they’re in our blogroll on the right side of your screen!

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