Country Club Fantasy

September 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

“Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.”

  • David Brooks, conservative columnist, September 17, 2012
  • Source: Thurston Howell Romney
  • Context: Brooks wrote a piece for the New York Times criticizing Romney’s comments from a private fundraiser in May which have now become viral after they were leaked by Mother Jones. In it, he describes Romney as being out of touch politically, socially, and culturally. Fact checkers have already pointed out that Romney’s comments about welfare and those on it are false and misleading, but Brooks goes even further, pointing out that many people on welfare are Republicans:

“The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.”

  • On Romney being out of touch, he said:

“First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?”

“First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?”

“It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.”

“Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that.”

“The final thing the comment suggests is that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation. The formula he sketches is this: People who are forced to make it on their own have drive. People who receive benefits have dependency. But, of course, no middle-class parent acts as if this is true. Middle-class parents don’t deprive their children of benefits so they can learn to struggle on their own. They shower benefits on their children to give them more opportunities — so they can play travel sports, go on foreign trips and develop more skills. People are motivated when they feel competent. They are motivated when they have more opportunities. Ambition is fired by possibility, not by deprivation, as a tour through the world’s poorest regions makes clear.”

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I Don’t Care

September 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

“I don’t care what fact check says.”

  • Peter King, Republican Congressman from New York, September 17, 2012
  • Source: video
  • Context: Republicans, including the Romney campaign, have recently, and falsely, attacked President Obama for “apologizing” for America. Peter King reiterated this Republican talking point n CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien. When O’Brien pointed out that independent fact checkers, such as factcheck.org (and The Washington Post), have determined that the President has never apologized for America, King stated that he doesn’t “care what fact check says.” O’Brien responded by saying that “There are fact checks. You may not care, but they’re a fact checker.”

Stretching The Truth

September 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

“I think, from my perspective, what happened at this convention is that nobody is calling on it, or maybe a few people are calling on it. Paul Ryan, what he did in his speech, I think, so stretched the truth, and I like Paul Ryan, I have a lot of great respect for Paul Ryan, but the (INAUDIBLE) that he said about closing the GM plant, which closed before Barack Obama took president, about the Simpson-Bowles bill which — Simpson-Bowles, which he opposed, and then all of a sudden you see faults Barack Obama for, at some point the truth should matter.”

  • Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign, September 2, 2012
  • Source: ABC’s This Week (video , transcript)
  • Context: Matthew Dowd accuses both sides of stretching the truth, but he pointed out that they do not do it on the same scale. He criticized Paul Ryan for lying in his speech, specifically about a plant which closed under Bush’s presidency but which Ryan claimed closed because of Obama’s policies.

Impossible To Contract AIDS Through Heterosexual Sex

August 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community — it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall. My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex…very rarely [transmitted].”

  • Stacey Campfield, Republican member of the Tennessee Senate, January 26, 2012
  • Source: The Gist with Michelangelo Signorile (audio)
  • Context: Stacey Campfield spearheaded the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Tennessee, which would ban the discussion of any sexual orientation other than heterosexuality. Campfield makes several false claims, one being that AIDS rarely spreads during heterosexual sex, and that AIDS began when a man had sex with a monkey:

“According the esteemed Canadian infectious disease specialist Jacques Pepin, in his groundbreaking book The Origin of AIDS, DNA evidence now available has shown that the first known case of simian-to-human transmission of HIV occurred in Africa in the 1930s when a hunter killed and chopped up a monkey for food. The monkey’s blood infected an open cut. (There is no evidence of monkey to human sexual transmission). HIV then was transmitted among humans for decades in Africa largely via unprotected heterosexual vaginal sex, which, contrary to Campfield’s claims, the CDC and all public health experts warn is a high risk activity. Today, around the globe, the majority of people with HIV are heterosexual and are infected via heterosexual sex.”

Proven To Be Not True

August 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

“We reformed welfare in the 1990s, now the Obama administration’s trying to undo the work requirement.”

  • Terry Branstad, Republican Governor of Iowa, August 14, 2012
  • Source: The Daily Rundown (video)
  • Context: Terry Branstad repeated another false Republican talking point on “The Daily Rundown.” In this case, the talking point was Obama “removing the welfare work requirement.” Chuck Todd, the host, confronted the Governor, explaining to him that Obama did no such thing. Branstad refused to accept that fact, and insisted that Obama was destroying welfare as part of a “Liberal agenda.” Politifact has debunked this false claim, giving it a “pants on fire” rating, as have many other independent organizations. As a matter of fact, Romney himself supported this measure when he was Governor of Massachusetts, as did many other Republican governors at the time. This echoes an incident earlier in the week where CNN’s Soledad O’Brien confront former Governor Sununu over yet another false Republican talking point claiming that Obama “cut $700 billion from Medicare.” Here is part of the transcript from “The Daily Rundown”:

BRANSTAD: We reformed welfare in the 1990s, now the Obama administration’s trying to undo the work requirement.

TODD: Wait a minute, Gov. Branstad, I can’t let that go. They haven’t done that. [Crosstalk] You leveled a charge about the welfare work requirement. It turns out that’s not true. Where did you get your information?

BRANSTAD: It absolutely is. I was one of the governors that helped get it, and when we passed it, it was designed not to be waived. And now the President of the United States has, by executive order in July, weakened that which was very effective.

TODD: The waivers are for state governors. The waivers are for you. […] If governors weaken it to a certain point, the federal government yanks the waiver. […] Nothing about this issue,every charge that has been leveled about this welfare reform order that the president signed, every accusation that has been leveled by some Republicans have been proven to be not true.

BRANSTAD: Well, the fact of the matter is that the president did it. He didn’t have to take this action to weaken the strong work requirement that was passed.

TODD: It doesn’t weaken it…The works still there, governor, it’s still there.

Stop This!

August 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

On August 14, 2012, Soledad O’Brien interviewed Romney surrogate John Sununu on Starting Point:

During the interview, Sununu repeated the false Republican talking point that Obama’s Affordable Care Act cuts $700 billion from Medicare spending. The Affordable Care Act does not cut any benefits or services from Medicare, nor does it take any money from the program. Soledad O’Brien clarified that this is not the case, but Sununu insisted, and went as far as accusing O’Brien of being a mouth piece for the White House:

“Soledad, stop this! All you’re doing is mimicking the stuff that comes out of the White House and gets repeated on the Democratic blog boards out there. If you’re going to mouth what comes out of the White House — Put a Obama bumper sticker on your forehead when you do this.”

O’Brien was correct, and although she even mentioned that independent analysis has also debunked this Republican talking point, Sununu refused to back down. FactCheck.org, The Washington Post, ABC News, and Politifact, among many others, have repeatedly debunked this claim.

On August 15, O’Brien revisited the matter, citing more facts and documents, saying:

“So while we here at ‘Starting Point’ always enjoy a healthy, even if at times heated, debate, when it comes to the facts, we like to hold all our guests accountable, including Gov. Sununu.”

CNN also laid out the facts on their website. Ironically, as Politifact points out, the $700 billion dollars which the Romney campaign calls “cuts” were supported by Republicans, including Paul Ryan.

Romney Wanted To “Gut Welfare”

August 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

Mitt Romney and his campaign have recently criticized President Obama for “gutting welfare”. The reality, however, is that the U.S Department of Health and Human Services released a memo on July 12 adjusting the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) by giving more flexibility to states in determining which paths are most efficient in leading people towards employment. As a matter of fact, this is an adjustment that Mitt Romney himself, as governor of Massachusetts, lobbied for in 2005. Romney, along with several other Republican governors, sent a signed letter to the then GOP Majority Leader in the Senate, requesting that he help pass a bill which would provide more flexibility in federal law as it pertained to the state execution of TANF. The signed letter can be viewed here:

State flexibility – The Senate bill provides states with the flexibility to manage their TANF programs and effectively serve low-income populations. Increased waiver authority, allowable work activities, availability of partial work credit and the ability to coordinate state programs are all important aspects of moving recipients from welfare to work.

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