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Friday, April 13, 2012

Romney Will Tell Whatever Lie He Thinks You Want to Hear

It's a trap they've set for themselves before. In 2009, the Obama administration released visitor logs to promote greater transparency at the White House. Predictably, the obsessive rightwing blogosphere pored over the names, looking for commies and Nazis and Black Panthers and general ne'er-do-wells. They found Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. So they took to Twitter and their blogs to announce the terrible news; Barack HUSSEIN Obama was still palling around with terrorists and preachers of the dreaded black liberation theology.

Except he wasn't. Turns out that it's a big world, the White House is a big building, and people don't have unique names. The William Ayers in the White House logs was a different guy, as was Jeremiah Wright. So lesson learned; never jump to conclusions based solely on the fact that you prefer those conclusions to the likely reality.

Or, it would be lesson learned, if the right had any interest in learning lessons. But, as the past decade has demonstrated so well, they don't. And so it is that Hilary Rosen has visited the White House 35 times -- which is absolute, lead pipe cinch proof that she's one of President Obama's top advisers and is probably the person running his reelection campaign.

That's the vibe you get from Dave Weigel's account of a press conference call with Romney surrogates.


The most insane press conference call of the week took place at 11:30 a.m. today. It was billed as a "conference call on women in the Obama economy." Its surrogates (the term slung around for endorsers temporarily empowered to speak for a candidate) -- Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance, Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock, and a conservative "mommy blogger."

Within five seconds it was clear that the call would have almost nothing to do with the economy.

"I represent New Hampshire in the United States Senate," said Ayotte. "I also am the mother of two children. And I think it was very insulting for President Obama's adviser, and DNC strategist Hilary Rosen to make the comment she made about Ann Romney yesterday, that she never worked a day in her life. It's insulting that the president's adviser would dismiss the value of the hard work women do when raising children."

She was telling whoppers. Rosen is neither a presidential adviser nor a "DNC strategist." She's a CNN analyst and a strategist at SKD Knickerbocker. In her paid CNN role, she's prohibited from working for a campaign. There are, occasionally, work-arounds when it comes to these contracts. James Carville contributes to CNN; he also lends his name to DCCC fundraising emails.

"Several times they mentioned that Rosen had visited the White House 35 times, even though we don't know if every visit was made by this Hilary Rosen," he writes. To give you an idea of how Weigel feels about Team Romney's claims, I point you to the title of his post: "Romney Camp Will Keep Calling Hilary Rosen an Obama Adviser Because Shut Up That's Why."

So I'm kind of thinking he believes it's BS.

And that's been Mitt's favorite tactic for a while now -- lying his lying ass off, over and over and over. Steve Benen's done a great job of tracking this over time and Romney has been a relentless liar. Benen's weekly "Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity" post will be in its 13th edition today -- and every one of these posts are as long as your arm. Whether it's claiming that Obama's running around the world apologizing for America or the pretense that "Romneycare" is significantly different than "Obamacare" or that Obama ran up the first trillion dollar deficit in American history (Bush did that and stuck his successor with the task of cleaning it up), Mittens is the anti-George Washington; he cannot tell the truth. Cherry tree? What cherry tree? What's a hatchet?

But the interesting thing about Mitt's lies isn't that they're so unending, but that they aren't original. Most of the time, Romney's echoing the rightwing blogosphere. This is why the "Obama apology tour" lie seems so familiar, for example. Romney's strategy to win over the base seems to be to win over the lying, conspiracy-minded, no-time-to-check-facts wingnut blogosphere. In short, most of Romney's lies seem to ooze from the same strategy he uses to approach everyone else -- tell them what they want to hear. The crazies want to hear their lies validated, so channel the ghost of freakin' Breitbart for them.

Once again, I find myself wondering who Mitt Romney actually is. Is there anyone in there at all? Or is he just some Chauncey Gardener-type who got where he is by reflecting everyone's thoughts and desires back at them? He doesn't seem to have any original ideas -- even when he's lying, they aren't his lies. All we really know about him is that he really, really wants to be president.

That and the fact that he lies without breaking a sweat.


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