Foregoing the facts

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President Obama and Mitt Romney met in Denver, Colorado, for the first debate. President Obama laid out a clear, achievable plan to move the country forward and create millions of jobs. What did Mitt Romney do? He launched another round of the same false, already-debunked attacks—his tried and true tactic to mislead voters about his plan to double-down on the failed policies of the past.

Take a look at how fact-checkers and reporters graded Romney’s ability to tell the truth about the issues that are important to the middle class in the first debate:


Romney claimed that he could balance the deficit and cut $5 trillion in tax cuts weighted toward the wealthy without raising taxes on the wealthy. The Los Angeles Times’s verdict:

The gap would need to be filled by closing loopholes for those at lower ends of the income scale, those earning less than $200,000. Estimates say those earning between $100,000 and $200,000 would be significantly hit.

Also, the report said the trade-off between lower rates and loopholes would benefit higher-income households, which would see their overall tax burden go down while middle- and lower-income households would see their taxes rise.

The deficit

Romney incorrectly insisted that we can expect trillion dollar deficits if the President is re-elected. But as the Washington Post points out, “Romney needs to spend a little more time with his budget reports.” Here are the details Romney failed to mention:

Government spending eats up nowhere near 42 percent of the national economy, as Romney claimed. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says outlays are on track to fall to about 23 percent of gross domestic product this year, down from about 24 percent of GDP in 2011.

Health care

Romney revived a well-known falsehood about Obamacare, erroneously claiming that President Obama’s health care law creates a board that will somehow decide what kind of treatments patients can get. As the Los Angeles Times notes, this attack has been “debunked consistently by independent fact-checkers.” Here are the facts about what the board actually does:

The board—known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board—was set up to recommend ways to reduce Medicare spending if it increases too rapidly.

The panel of independent experts is empowered to suggest cuts to how much the federal government pays healthcare providers. These cuts would go into effect unless Congress votes to overturn them.

But the panel is explicitly prohibited from cutting benefits for people on Medicare.

As CNN’s David Gergen noted, Romney got through the first debate by “flat-out lying.” But voters will not decide who they’ll stand by based on attack lines and blatant falsehoods—they will choose the candidate that has the clear, achievable plan to build an economy based on a strong middle class.