6:38 PM, Jan 18, 2013 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Earlier today, I wrote a lengthy critique pointing out the inconvenient fact that PolitiFact's Lie of the Year -- "The Romney campaign's ad on Jeeps made in China" -- turns out to be true. It involves a lot of complicated back and forth, so I encouage you to read that post if you're not familiar with what's going on. But the thrust of the matter is that the Romney campaign ran an ad saying that Jeep, the recipient of a taxpayer bailout, was going to start producing cars in China. Well, now PolitiFact has responded to my criticism, albeit obliquely, and their response leaves a lot to be desired:
Our story focused on the clear message of the Romney campaign’s ad, that jobs in the United States were being moved to China, or perhaps that Jeep was moving its entire operations to China. That is not the case and has never been the case.
Emphasis added. Now if the message of the ad was "clear," why does PolitiFact say "perhaps" the ad meant to say "Jeep was moving its entire operations to China"? The ad, which you can watch here, never said that Jeep was moving U.S. jobs to China, let alone its entire operations to China. All the ad says, and this is correct, is that the Obama administration played a hand in selling Chrysler to "Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China." In fact, later in PolitiFact's response they make this concession:
The Romney campaign was crafty with its word choice, so campaign aides could claim to be speaking the literal truth, but the ad left a false impression that all Jeep production was being moved to China.
Emphasis added. Casting aside all of the obvious weasel words in that statement, it's pretty dubious to say the ad created "a false impression that all Jeep production was being moved to China." Now it's true there was some initial confusion over what Jeep was doing. Here's what happened: Romney wrongly said in a stump speech that Jeep was "thinking of moving all production to China." That remark seems to have stemmed from an imprecisely written Bloomberg report saying that Fiat, which owns Chrysler, "plans to return Jeep output to China and may eventually make all of its models in the country." According to CBS News, the "piece subsequently clarified that Chrysler was considering 'adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.'" After it was pointed out by many in the press that Jeep was not, in fact, moving U.S. production overseas, the campaign clarified Romney's position on the matter:
The campaign did not respond to those questions but insisted that "the larger point that the Gov. made is that rather than creating jobs here, the foreign owner, handpicked by President Obama, is planning to add jobs overseas - which is still true." Romney did not mention the [Bloomberg] report at a campaign event in Ames, Iowa this afternoon.
So Jeep, which was currently producing almost all of its cars in America and then selling them overseas, was now planning to build cars in China instead of increasing production and creating jobs in the U.S. to meet increasing overseas demand. For a variety of reasons, it could be said that producing cars overseas makes business sense for Jeep. But the point the Romney campaign was making is that because Jeep received a taxpayer bailout at the behest of the president, creating jobs for American workers should be prioritized by Jeep before taxpayers are subsidizing the company's decision to create jobs in China.
Further, all of this was hashed out and reported before the Romney ad that PolitiFact singled out as the "Lie of the Year" even aired. PolitiFact didn't need to guess at the message the Romney campaign was trying to send, yet they chose to put pretty much the worst construction on what the Romney campaign ad said. As I said before, even free-traders and pro-globalization folks on the right may find the Romney campaign's argument against Jeep's expansion overseas disagreeable on economic and political grounds. But how exactly is it an example of the Romney campaign being deceptive?
12:25 PM, Jan 18, 2013 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Last month, PolitiFact selected its "Lie of the Year." Given PolitiFact's dubious record of singling out Republicans for lying far more often than Democrats, you probably could have guessed the winner of this particular sweepstakes was a Mitt Romney campaign ad:
6:00 AM, Nov 4, 2012 • By JAY COST
The Romney campaign seems to have committed to a late push into Pennsylvania, to the derision of Team Obama. The latter sees this as a desperation ploy by a foundering campaign, similar to John McCain’s late entrance into the Keystone State in 2008. Is that right?
6:00 AM, Nov 2, 2012 • By JAY COST
When I started making election predictions eight years ago, I had a very different perspective than I do today. I knew relatively little about the history of presidential elections or the geography of American politics. I had a good background in political science and statistics. So, unsurprisingly in retrospect, I focused on drawing confidence intervals from poll averages.
Four scenarios for the next four yearsNov 5, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 08 • By JAMES W. CEASER
For the small school of political analysis that draws its inspiration from the great French 17th-century philosopher René Descartes, the cardinal methodological rule is to begin from what one can know “so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground of doubt.” The only important fact about the election contest today that meets this stringent threshold is that someone named either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be declared president, most likely on November 7.
2:02 PM, Oct 18, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The New York Times reports today that the "the Obama campaign and Democratic groups have run commercials relating to abortion about 30,000 times since July 2 — about 10 percent of their ads — including one that falsely claimed Mr. Romney’s opposition to abortion extended to cases of rape and incest."
6:00 AM, Oct 10, 2012 • By JAY COST
So where are we, four weeks out? Romney suddenly finds himself with a lead in the polls, making liberals panicked and conservatives jubilant -- an interesting change of pace.
Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Almost 25 minutes into last Wednesday night’s presidential debate, it was already clear Mitt Romney was doing better than expected, and that Barack Obama was a bit flat. But it wasn’t yet obvious at the end of the debate’s first segment that the debate would produce a decisive winner.
Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
When Mitt Romney stepped on stage at the first presidential debate in Denver on October 3, he had been losing to President Obama on the issue of taxes for two solid months. The Obama campaign bombarded Romney with TV ads claiming he would raise taxes on middle-class families by $2,000 in order to pay for his tax cut for the rich.
The media pull out all the stops to reelect the president.
Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By FRED BARNES
The Time cover story last week was headlined “The Mormon Identity.” The cover, featuring Mitt Romney in a stained-glass window, said in smaller type, “What Mitt Romney’s faith tells us about his vision and values.” Newsweek had President Obama on the cover, identifying him as “The Democrats’ Reagan” and heralding the story inside as “What Obama Will Achieve in His Second Term.”
And Romney’s achievement.Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By HARVEY MANSFIELD
Two things were notable in the debate on October 3: the ennui of Barack Obama and the twist made by Mitt Romney.
3:02 PM, Oct 5, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Yesterday, at a rally in Wisconsin, a combative Obama characterized Romney's comments at the debate this way:
Now, last night, this may have actually been the real Mitt Romney, because he ruled out raising a dime on taxes on anyone ever, no matter how much money they make; ruled out closing those loopholes that are giving $4 billion of corporate welfare to the oil companies; refused to even acknowledge the loophole that gives tax breaks to corporations that move jobs overseas.
6:00 AM, Oct 5, 2012 • By JAY COST
October in an election year tends to be a bad month for incumbents seeking reelection. Going back fifty years, we have six decent comparisons to this cycle – 1956, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1996, and 2004. On average, the late September margin in the Gallup poll of registered voters closed by six to seven points in favor of the challenger. Only in the year 1956 did the incumbent expand his lead.
(I’ve excluded 1964 and 1976 because LBJ and Ford were not incumbents in the typical meaning of the word, and 1992 because Ross Perot’s jumping in and out of the race skewed the data.)
6:00 AM, Oct 3, 2012 • By JAY COST
The most recent RealClearPolitics average of the national polls shows President Obama holding a 3.1 point lead over Mitt Romney, 49.1 to 46.0. Additionally, his net job approval rating is now back to about even, 48.8 approve to 48.5 disapprove.
It's important not to buy the left wing spin that this race is over: it's not even close to being over. Here's why.