Romney Binder full of Top Ten Mistakes and Falsehoods

1. Romney attempted to convey the impression that he has worked to increase women’s employment as governor, reaching out to women’s groups and receiving “binders of women” from them. (Yes, that is what he said). But Romney made no effort to hire women managers at Bain Capital, and even today only 4 of out of 49 of Bain’s managing directors are women.

2. Romney maintained that President Obama did not publicly refer to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi as an “act of terror” for two weeks after it happened.

As moderator Candy Crowley pointed out in real time, Romney was completely wrong about that.

In his speech from the Rose Garden on September 12, 2012, Obama said, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

Romney’s charge was disturbing for several reasons. First, he was wrong on the facts, which cannot inspire confidence in him. Second, he reminded people of his outrageous attack on Obama while the Benghazi incident was unfolding, in which he incorrectly said that Obama had made excuses for the attackers. Third, he had to be slapped down by the moderator for telling a whopper, which is not the image a candidate would like in the public mind.

3. Romney pretended to be a big booster of coal and blamed that industry’s woes on Obama. Actually, the larger problem coal faces is that fracked natural gas is cheaper and cleaner, and coal plants can’t compete, which has little to do with Obama. Romney’s posturing gave Obama an opening to correctly quote Romney as Massachusetts government determined to close the coal plant and saying, “”I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant — that plant kills people.”.” Romney blew up a big balloon full of hot air that Obama readily punctured.

Here’s Romney’s original condemnation of the coal plant (whatever happened to that guy?):

4. Contrary to Romney’s assertion, oil production on Federal land did not decline during Obama’s presidency over all. In fact, it was way up from the last year of Bush. There was a decline in 2011 because of a temporary offshore moratorium caused by the Deep Horizon malfeasance

Oil Production from Federal lands (Percent Change from Previous Year)

2008 -8.6%
2009 +11.7%
2010 +14.9%
2011 – 13.8%

5. Romney represented himself as a supporter of college students but in fact Romney has slammed Obama for doubling the number of Pell grants– which are low-cost Federal loans for . . . college students.

6. Romney said, “We have fewer people working today than we had when the president took office. If the — the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when he took office, it’s 7.8 percent now.” But when Obama took office, the country was still losing 800,000 jobs a month because of the Bush meltdown. Obama obviously needed a year or so to get his policies in place and implemented. You can’t just start the clock ticking from the inauguration– in something like economic trends, you have to take a longer view. In January of 2010, the unemployment rate was 9.7%, after all the Bush-caused hemorrhaging. Obama has improved that number he inherited to 7.8%.

7. On energy, Romney said “Let’s take advantage of the energy resources we have, as well as the energy sources for the future.” Romney is posturing as a friend of green energy! But as Obama noted, the former governor wants to cut the Federal tax break aimed at encouraging wind energy, something he has been slammed for by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

8. Romney said, “And if we do that, if we do what I’m planning on doing, which is getting us energy independent, North America energy independence within eight years, you’re going to see manufacturing jobs come back.” The United States imports roughly 11 million barrels a day of petroleum. Contrary to what is often alleged, that level of imports has not fallen significantly. We use about 19 million barrels a day, and there is a shortfall of about 8 million a day (we export some of our own production in Alaska to Asia since it is cheaper to do that than bring it down to the lower 48, making for net imports of 8 million b/d). There is no scenario under which the United States increases its production by 8 million barrels a day in the next 8 years, or, like, ever. That would be like discovering a whole Saudi Arabia in the US. In fact, most of our current fields are declining and even with new production we are unlikely to produce more than about 6 million b/d of oil in the coming decades. There is only one path to energy independence for the US with regard to transportation, and that is a combination of green energy and hybrid or electric cars. This is also the only path to an America that is not destroying the world by dumping enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, causing climate change (something neither candidate had the gumption to bring up).

9. Romney alleged, “When the president took office, the price of gasoline here in Nassau County was about $1.86 a gallon. Now, it’s $4.00 a gallon. The price of electricity is up.” Obama correctly riposted that the low gas prices of fall 2008 were caused by the Bush-induced economic collapse. And Obama pointed to increased Asian demand as the reason for the current high prices (as more and more Asians drive, they use more gasoline to fuel their vehicles; since world supply is fairly steady at 89 mn b/d, more use equals rising prices.). The fact is that the president has little to do with oil prices– they are set by supply and demand, and contrary to what Romney alleges, there simply is not much supply in the United States yet to be developed. Neither Romney nor Obama mentioned a further consideration, which is that some of the run up in petroleum prices comes from taking Iranian oil off the market through sanctions (less supply equals higher prices if demand does not fall). Romney says his Iran sanctions would be even worse (hard to imagine). You can’t reduce supply without increasing prices.

10. Romney’s biggest mistake was using the same technique as in the first debate, of denying or papering over all the right wing stances he took last spring. The Obama team didn’t stare slack-jawed at the repeat performance, for which they were prepared. Romney could have gone back to appeasing the Tea Party for this debate, which would have really confused Obama.

20 Responses

  1. Last night the President provided the simple and short description of what a venture capital firm brings to the real world economy. Crunching numbers and the people behind those numbers to “bring value” to existing business’ both large and small and at the same time and always, bringing large returns to the capital they work for and with. People are not at the top of any checklist in a M&A deal. Success in business is not a necessary or particularly valuable recommendation for being a political leader. Business is business and government is something entirely different. Efficiency is a value within a system not a prerequisite for an effective and empathetic leader for the people.

    • Sorry Joe, The time for efficiency to be extraneous to government concern is long gone, blown apart by a national system (yes our very own) that supplies almost none of its own needs. You’re right, business success today isn’t a prerequisite to political success. But then again, success in today’s business seems to have almost nothing at all to do with long term planning (think national future). A lack or reality in business is not a reason to de-link business saavy from political ability.

      If you want to look at success, as oppsoed to Obama, look at the Jeep in WWII: A contest for a national spec, a winner, and then the spec spread through multiple manufacturing streams so that manufacturing itself was not a bottleneck to the need. What do we do today? Give money to startups, let them get a hint of success, then support the selloff as good business. To China, sure, its only business.

      Obama is a vacant storefront in terms of Americas’s future. Nothing he has done shows a hint of clue about it. Is he better than Romney? Certainly, but only in terms of the slower pace he would set digging the nation into its own grave, compared to rich-kid, never-had-a-care, nary-a-clue-now Romney.

      We need a Jeep kind of war effort now, and I don’t mean the stupid overweight, overlycomplex Jeep Patriot you see lumbering around advertising itself. But WWII was oh so long ago and we all must have our wants met and we gotta keep all our treasured WWII myths floating somehow. That’s what we Americans do today. Meet our wants, the hell with the needs, the hell with reality. The Greeks called that Desire, and it was a deadly sin. How did American manage to make a deadly sin into a national freedom, a national treasure? And why are both both Romney and Obama so eager to support that deadly sin?

  2. I suppose Clinton thinks of herself as the white knight on an election battleground, deflecting Banghazi spears away from Obama by saying she is responsible for the Benghazi attack. What she really did was take a page from Bush’s book and further demonstrate that responsibility in modern American government is meaningless. Stating personal responsiblity at that level of officialdom means not that something will happen now, but rather that the case is closed and nothing will happen in judgement over the lack of responsibility. Clinton would have been more accurate saying she was irresponsible, but that obviously doesn’t sound so good.

    I used to think of the State Department as an important piece of American government, rather than as a dual specialty office splitting its time between amplifying Israeli policy and being national crier for Al Qaeda sightings. But I think a grey rock would have been less harmfully provocative and more soothing for international tensions than Clinton has been. Ultimately this little episode shines a light on Obama who is the only person who can do anything about Clinton’s ‘irresponsibility’. Heads have rolled in past administrations when the President felt his agenda was mired down. Mired as Obama has been, the only heads he has rolled are a bunch of men, women, and children sitting in tents, or having dinner, or riding motorbikes on some faraway desert scape beyond the reach of American reporting media. And Rahm to the mayorship of Chicago of course. But that was bowling.

    Irresponsibility is by no means limited to Clinton or Obama. Responsibility has no place at all in the Romney campaign, where direct conflicts of quotes in major speeches are regularly an hourly occurrence, and ‘policy-makin’ is primarily involved in successful nuancing of completely contradictory positions. In the specific area of contradictions, Obama holds a very slight advantage.

    If responsibility means anything anymore, it should fall to the informed electorate to make a responsible decision with their vote. The problem is when both choices are irresponsible. Then what does the responsible voter do?

  3. The “binders of women” comment is a clear expression for how Mitt Romney thinks of women and how women are valued by this man.
    Romney’s conduct during during his whole election campaign reveals an asocial egomaniac. If this man becomes president nobody will be allowed to speak.
    He is dictator material.
    This flip-flopper and shape-shifter will not have the trust of America’s allies.
    How can anybody rely on this man.

    • I took a closer look at Bain’s website, and of the 3 women out of 37 people I just counted that Juan charitably attributed to their hiring, it appears 2 are outright support staff. The remainder is a recruiter, which would be a go-getter assignment, but in this case she would typically leave it to The Men to take over once a basic screening is done.

      link to

    Wants to cut taxes—35% to 28%–eliminate Estate Tax– where one family owns as much Wealth as 90% of families—keep capital gains at 15%–where 25 Hedge Fund Managers made 22 Billion in 2010
    and paid the low 15% and less than 1% or zero in Payroll tax—offset revenue loss by closing loopholes
    Ha. Each loophole has proponents to fight for them—Increase military spending biggest waster of all—Our armies in 800 bases worldwide. We pursue bad trade agreements that allow unrestricted access to our markets. We cannot compete with $1 labor so watch our factories closing. 58,000 closed in last decade.

    We must demand better self serving policies. Tariffs on imports. High tax rate to pay down that horrid debt like 1945-1980 tax rates and tax on estates. The Middle Class has been hurt badly with loss of good paying jobs with benefits. Protect our safety nets which have served us well for over half a Century.

    Mitt is a rich mans candidate no spin can deny it. He will cut taxes for his rich pals and shred safety nets.
    This Man scares me very much. I do no trust his motives

    • I’d like to buy you a beer Clarence. I hate Obama for escalating the war in Afganistan, signing the Patriot Act and a laundry list of other things but Romney would collapse the economy in the USA and Europe.

      I fail to comprehend why the Republicans want collapse the economy. It seems to me that even the 1% would loose money. Are they trying to hasten the coming of armagedon? Are they planning to depopulate the world? In any case how does any of this reconcile with Christian values?

  5. WAH
    worst administration in history
    Bush took 1830B Budget to 5800B or 90% increase
    5800B debt to 11,900 or doubled
    237,000 jobs per month to 31,000 or lowest since Hoover
    Surplus to 1400B deficit—first time over 1000B
    Invaded two destitute—unarmed nations –alienated 1500 Million Muslims
    Allowed destruction of Housing Industry
    Allowed Casino Derivative of America to becomes world’s larges gaming facility
    Violated international laws on torture
    He and 11 staffers told 935 lies to sell the people on invading Iraq..
    Why invade a country that had done nothing to us.
    It smells. Black Gold. OIL. Mitt a deja vu?

  6. Not only did Obama refer to acts of terror on 9/12, he directly called this specific incident an “act of terror” on 9/13.

    “So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. (Applause.) I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.”

    Then on 9/19, Matt Olsen testified to congress “Yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy”. And on 9/20, the president’s press secretary confirmed “It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack”. And on 9/21, the Secretary of State said “what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack” and vowed to track down “terrorists who murdered four Americans.”

    All before Romney first ackowleged on 9/25, two weeks after the attack, that this was a terrorist attack. The earliest any Romney spokesperson seems to have used the word was Ryan Williams on 9/20, after the administration had already made clear earlier in the day that this was a terrorist attack.

    • It’s events like this that makes me miss Reagan. He would’ve come out straightaway and declared the perpatrators terrorists. Then he would’ve given them a cake shaped like a key and a bunch of Stinger missiles.

  7. Romney did go back to appeasing the Tea Partiers; that was his big mistake. When on the topic of Libya (currently a hot internet conspiracy and outrage du jour fodder for the wingnuts) Romney went off script and out on a wingnut limb.

    He thought he smelled blood in the water, but the problem was that blood was only the sort that the hard right cares about – whether or not Obama called it “terrorism” early enough.

    Romney thought he had Obama in a “gotcha”, but in fact he had forgotten who his audience was, and when he chased it down with the leering finger-pointing joy of a middle school creep, it was a sad sick spectacle indeed.

    The other costly moment for Romney, also when he went off script – this time because he was unprepared I think – was his binder full of women comment. Very revealing of who Romney really is when he has no script.

    “Binder full of women,” pretty much the modern GOP version of “bus full of coloreds.” Objects, not people.

    • “Human Resources,” in the business parlance. People are A Cost of Doing Business. You (he) would, as a pro, do a cost-benefit on any hiring, versus other investments, machine alternatives, out-sourcing, etc. Whatever is most cost effective in terms of enhancing shareholder wealth (for them in the gated communities/castles).

      NOWHERE in those calculations is responsibility for people involved, only to the owners (“People ARE corporations, My Friend!”). A more nuanced read would include the self-serving extent of the cost of replacing labor-units with another course of action if they are overly abused, so I guess he really would care. Walking this fine line being the definition of Good Management.

  8. Re Benghazi attack: But isn’t it true that while there was a terrorist element at the tail end of the demonstrations in front of the US embassy in Libya, the demonstrations initially started off as a response to the anti-Muslim film caused so much distress in the Muslim world? Or is that a misunderstanding on my part? Is the actual truth that the whole thing was a terrorist attack on the embassy, from start to finish?

  9. It would have been nice if Obama had further explained gas went from about a buck and a half when Bush took office to
    $ 4.11 per gallon in May, 2008, before the trickledown deregulatory chickens came home to roost.

    Even with the obvious supply and demand caveat, Cheney’s secret energy meetings in between those two numbers cannot be viewed as inconsequential.

  10. 8. Romney is always careful to refer to ‘North American’ energy independence because he is relying on Canada (mostly) and Mexico (partly) to make up for the shortfall in domestic production that you have pointed out.

  11. It would be nice of the President was on the offensive for once. It would be nice if those of us whose values are not reflected by the Tea Party could have someone advocate for OUR values for once.

    If Romney wants to say that we pumped less oil from federal lands, the answer should be “Why is that a bad thing?” Lots and lots of Americans do not want to pump more oil. We want to get away from dirty, polluting, destructive, limited, and unhealthy energy sources.

    Why do we allow the right wing nut-jobs to dictate the course of the conversation and frame it with their particular morals? Put Romney on the defensive and ask him what he plans to do once we’ve pumped all the gas we have in the US? And how does he plan to pay for the health problems and environmental destruction these fossil fuels create?

    Of course, that would imply that the President actually shares progressive morals. He has not advocated for them very much, so maybe he doesn’t really.

  12. Ye! I am worried that we rank #4 on Inequality in oecd.
    I am worried that 10% own 73% net wealth—83% financial wealth–get 50% individual income.
    I am worried We borrowed 15,000B since 1980 that went to help them get much richer.
    I am worried when one family has more wealth than 90% of families
    I am worried when 70,000,000 get 14% of individual income.
    I am worried when we borrowed 1100B in fiscal 2012 and taxed only only
    only 17% of out Total Income.  Why borrow when we have so much money??? Tells you why we rank behind Chile And Mexico As Least taxed in oecd nations
    Obama will end 4 years increasing spending by 8.6% to Bush 90% in 8.
    (Bush 1830 to 3510) (Obama 3510 to 3800)
    Must tax wealth much higher must must must   they have most of the $$$$

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