The Republican Primary

In an effort to woo the Tea Party, the Republican presidential candidates are doing everything they can to top one another with right-wing rhetoric and harmful policies. Click on the faces above to learn about the extreme ideas these candidates have for seniors and the middle class.

We'll be covering each phase of this campaign as it unfolds.

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“He’s had two positions at least on every issue”

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 3:55 p.m. ET

Who said the following about Mitt Romney?

"The governor of Massachusetts is totally consistent, because he's had two positions at least on every issue."

"I didn't manage for profit. I led for patriotism."

"For the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, that bill to American taxpayers is estimated to be $1.3 billion. That's outrageous…and it's a disgrace."

That's fellow Republican and current Romney endorser John McCain. Romney and McCain haven't always had the sunniest of friendships, and McCain has not shied away from hitting Romney on his record as governor, his time in the private sector, and his values. And today, he introduced Mitt at an RNC gathering in Arizona.

Regardless of what McCain says these days, we know what he really thinks. Check out our latest video, "John McCain on Mitt Romney."

Meet Romney’s latest right-wing endorser, John Kasich

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:32 p.m. ET

Mitt Romney has added another Tea Party governor to his list of endorsements, and this time, it's Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Kasich gained national notoriety last year when he led the charge to strip Ohio workers of their collective bargaining rights—an anti-union effort to which Romney gladly lent his support. Issue 2 wasn't as popular with Ohio voters, however, as it was with Romney, and they overwhelmingly rejected their governor's plan.

The extremism doesn't end there: Romney and Kasich share the same agenda to weaken the middle class in order to help the wealthiest few. Take education. Romney's campaigning on gutting the Department of Education, and Kasich slashed funds to Ohio's local school districts—all to fund major tax cuts for millionaires. The middle class can, however, look forward to a whopping $167 tax cut from President Romney ("$167 isn't zero," he says).

It's no wonder Kasich held the distinction of being the most unpopular governor in America. His pal Mitt can commiserate: Polls show he's the most unpopular candidate in decades.

Watch and share our new video on what Ohio voters already know: Romney and Kasich's mutual agenda is bad for the middle class.

Mitt Romney can’t shake his extreme positions on immigration

Posted by Madeleine Perry on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 6:04 p.m. ET

Today, DNC Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs Juan Sepúlveda released the following statement:

"This week, Mitt Romney’s campaign spokesperson labeled Kris Kobach as a 'supporter' versus the well-publicized 'immigration advisor' role Romney has so proudly flaunted since the beginning of the year. And today, Romney tried to shake the Etch A Sketch again by distancing himself from the most controversial elements of the Arizona immigration law SB 1070, when, in fact he has, without question said he 'supports the Arizona law' in the past. Mitt Romney faces a huge deficit with Hispanic voters – and these are just two examples of how Mitt Romney wants to Etch a Sketch away his extreme record on immigration – but Latinos will not forget.

"This is the same Mitt Romney that took Kobach’s advice and publicly championed for a 'self-deportation' policy. And the same Mitt Romney who said he would veto the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation supported by over 90% of Latino voters, and called it as a 'hand out.'

"The Latino community and voters nationwide will not allow Mitt Romney to Etch a Sketch Romney’s extreme views – if there is one thing that we are clear on, it’s that Mitt Romney is on the wrong side of every Latino issue and that, on immigration, he would be the most extreme presidential candidate in modern history."

Romney’s running from his immigration record

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 1:28 p.m. ET

Mitt Romney's trying to shake his Etch A Sketch on immigration. He's made a name for himself over the course of the Republican primary as the most extreme candidate on immigration, but his campaign said today that he never called Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, a model.

Oh really? A few reminders:

  • Mitt Romney, September 15, 2011: "I support the Arizona law."
  • Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2012: "Romney calls Arizona immigration law a model for the nation"
  • Washington Post, April 5, 2012: "Russell Peace, Arizona immigration law author, says Romney's policy is identical to mine

Romney and Corbett: Extreme for women

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 4:42 p.m. ET

While pushing a law to force women to undergo an ultrasound before receiving an abortion, Pennsylvania's Republican Gov. Corbett dismissed the outcry from women, saying they could just "close their eyes" during the invasive procedure. Yesterday, Corbett became Mitt Romney's latest endorser.

And Romney says he's "extraordinarily proud."

Women aren't closing their eyes to Romney and the Republicans' extraordinarily extreme agenda for women's health—nor will they close their eyes to the message that comes with Corbett's endorsement.

Romney and his Republican ally are simply too extreme for women—and the polls show it.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Blasts John Boehner’s False Attacks and Failed Leadership as Spea

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 3:22 p.m. ET

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on Speaker John Boehner’s false attacks on President Obama on CBS this morning:

“House Speaker John Boehner’s attacks on President Obama and the economy are outrageous and false. Coming from a man who has led congressional Republicans as they’ve tried to block President Obama every step of the way and who, with Mitt Romney, has fully endorsed the failed policies of the past, his criticisms are laughable. If Boehner and Romney think the goal is to return to the time when we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month and middle-class paychecks were plummeting, that helps explain a lot of what Congress has been doing these past few years under Boehner’s leadership—which is to stand in the way of every possible initiative that could contribute to economic growth or job creation. It might also explain why they’ve backed the Ryan-Romney budget that would end Medicare as we know it to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

“John Boehner’s brief speakership will go down as one of the least effective in history. He’s been whipsawed by the extreme Tea Party faction of his caucus, he’s walked away from historic opportunities to work together to get our fiscal house in order and strengthen our economy, and he’s stood in the way of efforts to create jobs because an improving economy might not be good for Romney’s campaign for president. It’s appropriate that Boehner has endorsed Romney for president—a House speaker with little to show for his effort will be in good company with a man who wants to return to the failed economic policies of the past.”

Food for thought

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 4:57 p.m. ET

Romney thinks it’s been “fun” getting to know Ted Nugent

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 2:41 p.m. ET

One of Mitt Romney's most highly touted endorsements has been Ted Nugent, better known these days for his extreme right-wing views than for his music. After Romney sought and received Nugent's endorsement, he went on the radio last month and said, "It's been fun getting to know Ted Nugent."

Really?

Does Romney think it's "fun" that Nugent told the NRA convention that President Obama and members of his administration are "criminals," "vile," "evil," and "America-hating"? Is it "fun" for Romney when Nugent claims he'll be "dead or in jail" should President Obama be re-elected?

Let's hope not—but we won't know until Romney steps up and denounces Nugent's latest despicable remarks. Romney's been remarkably silent on his surrogate's comments, especially when you consider how quickly he is to cause a fuss over anything he perceives as a slight.

We're waiting, Mitt.

Choice is obvious for women

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 1:21 p.m. ET

It's really no surprise that recent polls show that women are driving President Obama's nationwide leads. Just yesterday, CNN/ORC released a poll that shows that women back President Obama over Mitt Romney by 16 points. That's because women are paying attention to the stark choice we face in this election, and we know that we need a leader who understands—and is committed to shattering—the glass ceiling that still exists for so many women in the workplace and in every aspect of their lives.

We have that leader in President Obama.

When asked, Mitt Romney's campaign didn't even know where their candidate stands on Lilly Ledbetter and fair pay. That should be a no brainer—and for President Obama, it is. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill President Obama signed into law. It goes to the heart of the equal pay issue, giving women the power to challenge discrimination where they work. That's change that matters for all women.

Change is also signing the Recovery Act into law to reverse our economic free-fall. Through this law, the Obama administration has issued more than 2,300 microloans and invested more than $3 billion in 12,000 grants to women-owned small businesses. That’s a big deal. Romney thinks it made our economy worse.

Change is nominating two women to the Supreme Court—including the first Latina—and seven women to cabinet-rank positions.

Change is the President’s steadfast defense of a woman’s right to choose.

Today, Romney is campaigning in Pennsylvania—but no amount of Etch-A-Sketching will win back the female voters he's so thoroughly alienated. We've seen Romney's true colors.  And for women in Pennsylvania and across the country, the choice in this election is obvious.

On a recent trip to Philadelphia, I joined Rep. Allyson Schwartz and fired-up women to stand up in support of the change President Obama has brought about for the women of this country. I want to make sure you hear directly from the Pennsylvania women I met on why they back our President.

Take a look at this short video, and pass it along to women you know.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Calls on Mitt Romney to Condemn Romney Surrogate Ted Nugent’s Off

Posted by Madeleine Perry on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 8:17 p.m. ET

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on Romney surrogate Ted Nugent's offensive comments this weekend about President Obama and our nation, which can be read here:

"Mitt Romney surrogate Ted Nugent made offensive comments about President Obama and November’s elections this weekend that are despicable, deplorable and completely beyond the pale. He called the Administration 'vile,' 'evil' and 'America-hating,' and said much worse. Yet what have we heard from Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, who should be outraged that someone representing them is using language like this to make a political point? Absolutely nothing.

"Romney’s surrogates should know better than to rally the troops with outrageous rhetoric that is unacceptable in our political debate. Mitt Romney must condemn Nugent’s violent and hateful rhetoric immediately, as it has no place in our political discourse or this campaign."

Romney’s long history of secrecy

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 2:59 p.m. ET

Over the weekend, Mitt Romney began to offer some of the specific policy positions he has been reluctant to share with the public. He outlined ways he'd pay for his $5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans: gutting the Department of Education and even mentioning eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development altogether—policies that will have a significant impact on millions of American children and families.

All of this took place at a closed-door, high-dollar fundraiser. We only know the details of Romney's plan because reporters who were shut out of the event overheard it from the street. The message here is simple: You're entitled to hear Romney's policy plans for the country, but only if you can afford the entrance fee. The rest of us get to hear one vague promise after another from Romney—but nothing concrete, lest it scare off more voters.

This follows a long history of Romney's secrecy and playing by a different set of rules. What else is he hiding from the American people? Let's recap.

Tax returns and personal finances: Despite providing 23 years of tax returns to John McCain when Romney was a potential vice presidential running mate, Romney continues to refuse to release those returns to the public. Decades of previous candidates have released multiple years of returns—including his father, who released 12 years of tax information when he ran for president in the 1960s.

We're starting to get details about the questionable methods Romney might have used to drive up the value of his IRA, as well as other ethics and financial disclosure loopholes he's employed to hide his finances from the public. He still has not explained why he opened a Swiss bank account or why he keeps much of his personal wealth in overseas accounts. Until Romney comes clean and releases his returns, we won't know the full story of Romney's finances—where he got his money and what conflicts of interest might arise.

Hard drives and servers: At the end of Romney’s term as governor, his top aides and staff took the unprecedented step of purchasing their state-issued computer hard drives for $65 apiece, and his administration's emails were wiped from the servers, which were replaced. The public will never get to see those records.

Bundlers: Romney refuses to identify his top fundraisers, or bundlers, who bring in millions of dollars to his campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats—including President Obama's—have made it common practice not only to name their bundlers but also to provide money ranges. The only bundlers Romney has released are federal lobbyists—and only because he is required to by a law President Obama helped pass. Until he identifies his top fundraisers, we won't know, as the Associated Press reported, "who wields influence inside the GOP frontrunner's campaign and how their interests might benefit if he is elected."

What is Romney hiding?

The Romney Rule

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 12:19 p.m. ET

The Romney Rule means tax cuts for millionaires and tax hikes for middle-class and low-income Americans. Hold Mitt accountable.

Pass this along: Romney’s health care plan

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 1:43 p.m. ET

Mitt Romney wants to let insurance companies run up premiums, deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, and drop patients when they get sick. Share this image, and fight back here.

Share Romney’s plan for women’s health

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 5:31 p.m. ET

Every voter in America needs to know Mitt Romney's plan for women's health—share this image.

Happy anniversary, Romneycare!

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 2:40 p.m. ET

On this day in 2006, Mitt Romney's signature created universal health care in Massachusetts, paving the way for one of the most historic pieces legislation in decades: the Affordable Care Act.

Oh, how things have changed in six years. As governor, Romney embraced his state's health plan as his ticket to national fame and glory. He repeated again and again his belief that the bill he passed in Massachusetts could be a "model for the nation."

And it was.

But now that he's trying to paint himself as "severely conservative" to win over Republican voters, Romney's putting politics first. Six years after he became the godfather of health reform, Romney is running away from his signature legislation and relentlessly attacking Obamacare, saying that he would "kill it dead" on day one of his presidency.

And that is a slap in the face to the Bay Staters who have gotten their lives back because of health reform.

Just ask Madelyn Rhenisch, who as the first person to enroll in the Massachusetts Core Health Plan joined Romney to roll out the health care law. Today, she sees a very different person—one who is driven more by his political ambitions than concern for a nation's health:

"When I hear Gov. Romney talking about repealing Obamacare, I just think he's jumping to the political position when the issue isn't health care—it's getting elected. And I think, don't you remember me? Don't you remember my story and all the other stories you heard? How can you attack this when you've heard all that? Don't we matter?"

Take a look at the video above to hear from the architects and beneficiaries of Romneycare—and pass it along.

Nothing says I understand hard working Americans like John “Where’s My Jet” Sununu

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 11:33 a.m. ET

This is being handed out at John Sununu’s press conference in Exeter, NH. Makes you wonder how the Romney campaign bus compares to the limousine and corporate jet he took to a stamp auction or the military aircraft he flew to the Indianapolis 500?

Nothing says I understand hard working Americans like John “Where’s My Jet” Sununu

SUNUNU USED CORPORATE JETS FOR HIS PERSONAL TRAVEL

Sununu Used A Government-Paid Limousine And A Corporate Jet To Attend A Stamp Auction In New York.  “As one aide explained, Sununu is in such demand to attend political functions around the country that he has no trouble finding someone to provide him an aircraft. Another official said Sununu's attitude toward the corporations that provide the planes is: ‘As long as they pay, that's fine.’  Beneficial spokesman Bob Wade said his company initially was asked to provide a round-trip chartered flight for Sununu to attend the New Jersey GOP fund-raiser last Wednesday night. The event was held at Hamilton Farm, a facility that Beneficial owns in Bedminster, N.J., a town in the horse country of western New Jersey about an hour's drive from New York City.  After the company chartered an aircraft for Sununu, Wade said, White House officials said he would use it to return to Washington but not to go to New Jersey.  Instead, Sununu traveled in a government-provided limousine first to New York City, where he attended the stamp auction. It was not clear how he then traveled to New Jersey. The limousine returned to Washington without a passenger.  A New Jersey state party official, who declined to be identified, said he was told by the White House:  ‘’Don't worry about getting him here,' just take care of the return trip.’’  Wade said that Beneficial's Washington representative, Gary Perkinson, flew to New Jersey aboard the chartered jet alone, and returned with Sununu. He said Perkinson did some corporate business while he was in the New Jersey area, but he acknowledged that Perkinson would not have flown in a chartered plane had Sununu not requested one.”  [Los Angeles Times, 6/18/91]

Sununu Solicited Corporate Jets For Personal Travel.  “Ever since the White House cut back on John H. Sununu's use of military aircraft for leisure and political travel, the controversial chief of staff has been soliciting free trips aboard jets provided by American corporations, White House officials said Monday.  In the latest instance, Beneficial Corp., a consumer credit firm headquartered in Peapack, N.J., provided a chartered jet for Sununu to return to Washington from a New York stamp auction and a New Jersey GOP fund-raiser last Wednesday night.  Officials said other corporations are being asked to do likewise whenever Sununu makes similar trips.  Sununu pays nothing for these corporate flights, which are perfectly legal. Beneficial officials said they expect to receive only partial reimbursement from the New Jersey Republican Party for Sununu's flight last week.  In turning to corporations, Sununu is one of a growing number of top Administration officials who have come to rely on American business to provide air travel for trips that previously would have been funded by the government or paid for out of their own pockets.”  [Los Angeles Times, 6/18/91]

·         Sununu Denied That Using Corporate Jets Was A Conflict Of Interest, Claimed They Were Necessary For Him To Stay In Touch With The White House While Traveling.  “Although others have been criticized for flying on corporate jets, officials said Sununu sees no potential conflict of interest in accepting travel accommodations from corporations, even those with intense interest in changing government policies.  Beneficial, for example, has been actively involved in battling banking industry reforms proposed by the Bush Administration.  Sununu has said that he must rely on corporate jets in order to remain in constant touch with the White House. ‘I have to be able to communicate, to work on sensitive papers, to coordinate the White House activities, even while I'm traveling,’ he said on Sunday.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/18/91]

·         White House Official:  “Sununu Doesn’t Play By Your Rules Our Rules Or Washington Rules.  He Plays By His Rules And He’s Not Going To Change.”  “But Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), after he was told of Sununu's flight at the expense of Beneficial, said, ‘I think it's a mistake; that's why you have conflict of interest laws.’ Frank added, ‘What would be so terrible about flying in a regular plane like a normal person?’  White House officials said Sununu is unlikely to be swayed by such criticism. ‘Sununu doesn't play by your rules, or our rules, or Washington rules,’ one official said. ‘He plays by his rules and he's not going to change.’” [Los Angeles Times, 6/18/91]

JOHN H. SUNUNU WAS ACCUSED OF IMPROPERLY USING MILITARY AIRCRAFT FOR PERSONAL OR POLITICAL TRAVEL

1991: The Bush Administration Defended Chief Of Staff John H. Sununu’s Travels Aboard Military Planes, Despite Many Of The Trips Appearing To Be For Personal Or Partisan Reasons. “The Bush Administration on Sunday defended Chief of Staff John H. Sununu's wide-ranging travels aboard military planes, but two congressional Democrats called for an accounting of Sununu's trips. The White House said that the trips were ‘in accordance with official authorization,’ even if some appeared to be for personal or partisan political reasons.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/22/91]

1991: John H. Sununu Usually Flew In C-20 Jets. “According to Pentagon records, Sununu usually flies in a C-20, the sleek, 12-passenger, twin-engine jet that is the military version of the Gulfstream III corporate jet. The Air Force keeps several C-20s at Andrews Air Force Base for such VIPs as Barbara Bush. President Bush himself flies aboard a C-20 when he is bound for airports too small to accommodate his jumbo jet, Air Force One.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/22/91]

·         The Pentagon Estimated That It Cost $3,945 An Hour To Fly The C-20 Air Force Jet That John H. Sununu Used, Excluding The Cost Of The Five-Member Crew. “The policy is intended to enable Mr. Sununu to be in constant, secure voice contact with the White House if the need arose. But his use of military aircraft for personal and political trips has created a furor, even though Mr. Sununu paid the normal commercial coach fare for the flights, plus $1. The Pentagon estimates that it costs $3,945 an hour to fly the C-20 Air Force jet that Mr. Sununu uses, excluding the cost of the five-member crew.” [The New York Times, 4/25/91]

Trips For Which John H. Sununu Used Military Aircraft: The Indianapolis 500 Auto Race, A Charity Ski Event In New Hampshire, And Political Fundraisers For Incumbent Governors In Kansas And Nebraska. “Among the trips Sununu made on military aircraft, the newspaper reported, were those to the Indianapolis 500 auto race, a charity ski event in New Hampshire and political fund raisers for incumbent governors in Kansas and Nebraska. By comparison, two of Sununu's predecessors during the Reagan Administration each made fewer than 10 such trips--over a period of six years, according to the news magazine.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/22/91]

JOHN H. SUNUNU’S TRAVELS ABOARD MILITARY JETS PROMPTED A REVIEW OF GOVERNMENT POLICIES

As A Result Of John H. Sununu’s Travels Aboard Military Jets, President George H.W. Bush Had The White House Launch A Review Of Government Travel Policies. “President Bush said today that the White House would review the Government policy that allowed John H. Sununu, the White House chief of staff, to use military aircraft for personal and political business, as well as on Government matters. … This disparity between cost and payment, when the aircraft was used for personal or political business, evoked criticism on Capitol Hill and in the news media, which also questioned the appropriateness of using military aircraft on visits to ski resorts in Aspen and Vail, Colo.” [The New York Times, 4/25/91]

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Statement on Romney Campaign’s Failure to Take a Position on Eq

Posted by Madeleine Perry on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 12:20 p.m. ET

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on the Romney campaign’s failure during a press call today to take a position on whether or not Mitt Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which calls for equal pay for equal work for women:

“Today’s radio silence by Mitt Romney’s campaign aides when asked if their boss supports equal pay for equal work for women in this country is utterly shocking.  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which goes to the heart of the equal pay issue by giving women the power to challenge discrimination where they work, was the very first bill that President Obama signed into law.  And that was no coincidence – for the President, equal pay for equal work has always been a no-brainer.  But this isn’t just about women.  President Obama knows that equal pay for equal work is at the heart of economic security for millions of working families.  It’s about growing the economy by growing the middle class, and giving all Americans a fair shot and a fair opportunity to succeed.

“Meanwhile, the Romney campaign can’t even confidently articulate Mitt Romney’s position on supporting basic fairness for women in this country.  On a question that shouldn’t even require a millisecond of hesitation, Romney’s aides responded with a deafening six-second silence followed by, ‘We’ll get back to you on that.’  Mitt Romney’s spokesperson later tried to pivot by saying Romney isn’t interested in changing current law – but that’s not the question.  What voters deserve to know is this: if a bill to repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act were in front of a President Romney, would he veto it or sign it?  Or, had he been President in 2009, would he have signed it?  Based on Mitt Romney’s continued attacks on women’s health and his extreme positions on so many other issues affecting women and their families, women voters have every reason to be skeptical.  And the Romney campaign’s appalling fumble on this fundamental question makes the critical choice facing voters in this election all the more clear.”

Women are fired up and ready to organize

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 10:01 p.m. ET

Last month, I helped launch the DNC Women's Institute as a place for Democratic women to get involved in this year's elections. In the weeks that followed, Mitt Romney and the Republicans have launched attack after attack on women's health. From Romney's threat to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood to his support of Marco Rubio's attempt to let a woman's employer determine her access to preventive medicine, it's become clear to women across America just how much is at stake this November—and how important our voices and votes will be.

My friend and colleague Rep. Allyson Schwartz and I joined a Women for Obama roundtable last week in Philadelphia to talk about what Republicans like Romney are proposing for our health. Not surprisingly, the women we spoke with are upset by the GOP's attacks on their rights—but they're also fired up and ready to organize. Meeting women like the activists in Philadelphia makes me confident that the Republicans' attacks will not go unanswered.

Take a look at this short video from our conversation, and pass it along to the women in your life. And if you want to stand up for women's health, find out how you can get involved locally at barackobama.com and the DNC Women's Institute.

Debunking the Koch-funded economist’s “new math”

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:54 p.m. ET

The big news today is that conservative economist Charles Blahous is alleging that the Affordable Care Act will increase the deficit—but, as Think Progress notes, Blahous is blatantly revising the way the deficit is calculated in order to fulfill his false conclusion.

Blahous works for the Mercatus Center, a think tank launched and bankrolled by billionaire conservative Charles Koch. (The Koch brothers and their allies have publicly pledged as much as $200 million to defeat President Obama.) Mercatus founder Richard Fink has headed the Koch lobbying operation in Washington, while Charles Koch himself still sits on the Mercatus board of directors and has funded it heavily.

Nonpartisan scoring reaches a dramatically different conclusion. The Congressional Budget Office confirms that the health reform law is fully paid for and will actually reduce the deficit. The CBO estimates that Obamacare will reduce deficits by $127 billion over the 2012–2021 period. And just last month, the CBO updated its estimates to say the law would cost $50 billion less than expected—which will likely mean an extra $50 billion in deficit reduction.

What is certain to increase the deficit, however, is repealing Obamacare, which Republicans like Mitt Romney are campaigning hard to do. The CBO estimates that repeal would add $147 billion to the deficit.

With the general election heating up and right-wingers vowing to spend whatever it takes to defeat President Obama, it won't be the last time we see these well-funded distortions of the truth.

What is Romney hiding?

Posted by Elizabeth Chan on Monday, April 09, 2012 at 4:50 p.m. ET

Mitt Romney is taking great pains to avoid disclosing exactly where his money is invested, making use of what the Washington Post calls "an obscure exception in federal ethics laws" to avoid public scrutiny.

The Post reports that in 48 of his Bain Capital accounts, "Romney declined on his financial disclosure forms to identify the underlying assets, including his holdings in a company that moved U.S. jobs to China and a California firm once owned by Bain that filed for bankruptcy years ago and laid off more than 1,000 workers." We only know these limited examples because these companies were required to disclose information publicly. But the majority of underlying assets—specific investments—remain hidden because Romney is protected by a confidentiality agreement with his former firm.

Here's what that means in layman's terms, courtesy of OFA campaign manager Jim Messina: "Romney has put his personal financial assets in a black box and hid the key, attempting to play by a different set of rules than any candidate in recent history."

The Post also notes that "several outside experts across the political spectrum" agree that "Romney's disclosure is the most opaque they have encountered."

That's why we've been demanding for months that Romney release his tax returns. Until he does, we won't fully know how much of his money is in offshore accounts, controversial companies, or whether his financial decisions show any other major conflicts of interests.

The little we do know is troubling: Romney pays a shockingly low 13.9 percent tax rate—a rate that is lower than most middle-class families and even most millionaires. Romney has large investments in notorious overseas tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. He had $3 million stashed away in a Swiss bank account that was closed in recent years for fear of political embarrassment. Some of this information was omitted from the personal financial disclosure Romney filed last year—a requirement for all those seeking federal office. It was revealed months later when Romney agreed to release one year of tax returns after mounting public pressure.

What else could Romney possibly be hiding? We won't know without at least a decade's worth of tax returns.

So as Romney continues to prove his willingness to hide critical information and play by his own set of rules, we need to turn up the pressure once again and demand basic transparency and accountability from a man who aspires to the highest office. Decades of presidential candidates, including President Obama, have done so ever since Mitt's own father, George Romney, set the standard in 1968 by releasing 12 years' worth.

We know he has them. Just four years ago, when Romney was being vetted as a potential 2008 running mate, he gladly forked over 23 years' worth of returns. The American people deserve the same.

Tweet @MittRomney and use the hashtag #WhatsRomneyHiding to demand he release more tax returns.


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