Fact-Checkers Blast Bret Baier and Democrats - The Charge of Romney’s “Flip-Flopping” is Greatly Exaggerated

Last week Governor Romney was interviewed by Bret Baier of Fox News. In the interview, Baier said, “You have been on both sides of some issues. . . .There is video of you changing your position on a whole host of issues from climate change to immigration to abortion to gay rights to health care.” Romney replied “Well Bret, your list is just not accurate. So, one, we are going to have to be better informed about my views on issues and, two, it’s good to see the ads from the Democrats are being seen here at Fox.”

This testy exchange drew a lot of news coverage last week and so the “fact-checkers” at FactCheck.org, Politifact, and the Washington Post decided to do some research to find out who was right and who was wrong. For those who may not know, fact-checkers are organizations that are not affiliated with any political party or candidate. The goal of these fact-checkers is to provide the public with unbiased, independent research on claims being thrown around in the media. 

Well, the fact-checkers did their analysis of this interview and, even though I generally like Bret Baier, there is no other way to describe it but as a huge embarrassment for Mr. Baier. The fact-checkers found that Romney has been very consistent on the topics Baier listed. Lets look at the topics mentioned by Baier one by one and see what the fact-checkers concluded.

1) Climate Change - After the Democrats ran an ad last month showing a supposed change in Romney’s position on the cause of global warming, the fact-checkers at the Washington Post concluded there was “No Flip Flop” saying:
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Obama’s Allentown, PA Fail: Romney to Hold News Conference


To watch Governor Romney’s Allentown press conference LIVE today @ 4:10 PM ET, click here.

Gates closed forever at Allentown Metal Works in Allentown, PA. (Jan 7, 2022) Photo by E. Carter

Mitt Romney is focused on the over 14 million Americans who are out of work…

and the countless more who are underemployed.

The Gov is holding a NEWS CONFERENCE tomorrow at boarded-up Allentown Metal Works in Pennsylvania – a factory that Obama said would benefit from his $800 billion stimulus bill:

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney will take dead aim at President Obama’s handling of the economy tomorrow when he holds a news conference at a closed Pennsylvania factory the president once said would benefit from the federal stimulus law.

Obama visited the Allentown Metal Works in December 2009 as he touted his $787 billion stimulus bill.

The more than 100-year-old plant, which made heavy steel construction components including trusses beneath the new World Trade Center, subsequently closed this past January.

Romney has argued that Obama’s plans have not worked and the country should give an experienced businessman such as him a chance to resurrect the economy.

“The 2012 election is going to be a referendum on the president’s failure to turn around the economy,” Romney told the Philadelphia Inquirer today. “He’s grown detached and isolated from what people are feeling and experiencing.”

(emphasis added)

A little history on Allentown Metal Works:

Every book has an ending and the same is true with corporate success stories. In America, the endings for books are much easier to accept than the end of a company[…]

Allentown Metal Works, a 100 year old plant in south Allentown, will close its doors for good sometime in 2011.

In 2005 it was used a gritty backdrop in the city’s mayoral election and was held up as a symbol of bringing manufacturing back to the region. It also was a stop on President Barack Obama’s tour of the Lehigh Valley in a recent visit.

However, it more accurately represented a bygone era of when manufacturing was king of the economy in the Lehigh Valley and around the country.

The press will be there:

Event: Romney Press Conference at Allentown Metal Works

When: Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 4:10 PM EDT

Location: Allentown Metal Works, 600 South 10th Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania

► Jayde Wyatt

Huck’s Bizarro Press Conference

There is an adage which warns against kicking a man when he’s down, but what is one to do when that man paints a target on himself and begs for it?

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee today gave what can only be termed as the most bizarre press conference of 2007. Given that today is New Year’s Eve, that’s quite an accomplishment.

To believe Huck, you have to believe that he spent a chunk of cash (which is no doubt in short supply) creating a “negative ad” with which he was planning on pummeling Mitt today starting at noon. Then – and one can only venture a guess as to why – Huck had an epiphany this morning and decided to keep his campaign on a “positive” track rather than stooping to mudslinging.

This would all be fine and good with the glaring exception of his Bizarro Press Conference where he showed his negative ad to a room packed with reporters. The ad basically accuses Mitt of being a bold faced liar. If ever there was a case of the pot calling the kettle black, this is it. The New York Times link has video I’m sure will be plastered across the net. You’ll note the raucous laughter of the reporters as Huck tells the story of his epiphany.

No, Huck, they aren’t laughing with you. Neither am I. I’m laughing at you.

You see, I don’t buy Huck’s story. Not in the least. I think he’s being disingenuous. In short, I think he’s lying.

Political ads don’t just grow on trees. They take time to make and cost a wad of cash to generate. I don’t know the full extent of Huck’s finances, but I think it’s a safe bet he doesn’t have cash to throw down the rat hole by creating hit ads he’s never going to use. In my not so humble opinion, Huck’s Bizzaro Press Conference was part of a seriously flawed strategy that has now blown up in his face.

Huck wanted to throw down a hit ad on Mitt and still come away smelling like a rose. He wanted the people of Iowa specifically, and Americans in general, to believe he had Mitt lined up in his sights and his finger on the proverbial trigger and then at the last moment decided to be merciful and positive. The only problem with his plan is the number of people who believe his epiphany story can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Iowans know hypocrisy when they see it, and right now they see it personified by Mike Huckabee.

Huck has spent the better part of the past two days whining about comparison ads run by Mitt in Iowa and New Hampshire. Methinks the Gov doth protest far too much. Mitt’s ad barrage is devastatingly accurate and Huck knows this. He also knows he doesn’t have the resources (or the record) to go toe to toe with Mitt in the last few days leading up to the Hawkeye Cauci. Huck knows if he loses Iowa people will be chasing him down trying to jab him in the hindquarters with a huge fork because he’ll be way past done.

While Huck’s Bizarro Press Conference won’t eclipse Howard Dean’s spectacular Iowa implosion, I’m beginning to think it might come in as a close second.

Press Flip-flops on Romney healthcare plan

Romney: Mass. Health Plan Can Be Copied, Glen Johnson, AP
Romney Won’t Adapt Mass. Plan, Perry Bacon Jr., Washington Post
Romney’s Federal Prescription, Mary Jacoby and Sarah Lueck, Wall Street Journal
Romney to Pitch a State-by-State Health Insurance Plan, Michael Luo, NY Times
Romney to detail his healthcare Rx, Lisa Wangsness, Boston Globe

H/T Marc Ambinder.

Miami Herald: Bastian of Liberal Lies?

You know you’ve come of age when the DNC aims all its guns at you; when moderate republicans have you in your cites and when your enemies in the press will do ANYTHING to drag you down in the dumps.

The later episode was on full display over the last two days as the Miami Herald reports on a supposed faux pas that Gov. Romney supposedly committed in front of a Cuban-American audience by quoting a Castro phrase at the end of his speech.

There’s only one problem. He was using the phrase to bash Castro.

Capn’ Ed and others at CQ are on top of the story.

Here’ how the Miami Herald reports the “blunder”:

People chuckled when presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon raised in Michigan and elected in Massachusetts, bungled the names of Cuban-American politicians during a recent speech in Miami.

But when he mistakenly associated Fidel Castro’s trademark speech-ending slogan — Patria o muerte, venceremos! — with a free Cuba, listeners didn’t laugh. They winced.

Castro has closed his speeches with the phrase — in English, ”Fatherland or death, we shall overcome” — for decades.

Here’s what Romney ACTUALLY said:

Romney: “I said at the outset that the threat in Latin America is unprecedented. I say that because the Castros have a second tyrant and he has great wealth, from oil. We must stand just as firm against caudillos like Hugo Chavez, tutored by Fidel Castro. Chavez and Castro are brothers in blood, intent on personal gratification at the expense of their people. Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro have stolen the phrase – ‘Patria o muerte, venceremos.’ This phrase should not be used by dictators, but by liberators.

“There are two spheres of influence in the Western Hemisphere. One is dark, bellicose and spreads misery by denying people basic freedoms; the other shines like a powerful light, is peaceful and wants only for its people to live in liberty and prosper.”

It’s absurd that the Miami Herald had to stoop to this level. But we can’t say we’re surprised

Mitt Romney’s Closet Finally Uncovered! 3 Generations Ago!

What do you get when you pair Jennifer Dobner (the LDS Church watcher) and Glen Johnson (the Romney basher) together on an article about Romney’s Marmon family roots? A hit piece like no other.

Jennifer is fairly tame in her decidedly left-leaning muckraking, though at times she inserts some fun axiomatic assumptions into her pieces (implying that the Mormon church would “punish” a man who entered into a “legal, same-sex marriage”). Glen has cut his teeth far deeper than Jennifer implying disappointment that Governor Romney doesn’t carry over his displeasure with the Mass. Supreme Court into the public arena (see here and here). With their dual agendas the path to literary sniping was almost inevitable.

Actually, I got a call from a friend this morning who indicated that reporters were poking around down in Mexico trying to interview some of the supposed long-lost polygamous cousins of Mitt Romney. It says something about the personal integrity of Governor Romney that his detractors have to scour back 3 generations to literally dig up a skeleton in a closet… since his closet is pretty darn clean.

You see the main problem with AP hit pieces is that they don’t state their claims…. they simply insinuate. So the article starts out like this:

While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate’s great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.

This would be funny if it weren’t so contorted. They set up the sentence as a dichotomy but can’t quite come to the realization of what that dichotomy is. So we need some MORE insinuation:

Romney’s father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where Mormons fled in the 1800s to escape religious persecution and U.S. laws forbidding polygamy. He and his family did not return to the United States until 1912, more than two decades after the church issued “The Manifesto” banning polygamy.

So the whispering voices that Dobner and Johnson want you to hear is that Romney Sr. was possibly a closet polygamist himself, that his immediate kin were Mormon defilers for decades and that Mitt obviously must have polyamorous leanings.

What any of this has to do with Romney’s presidential aspirations is unclear. Except this: Dobner and Johnson do not want you to vote for him. And nothing pulls on a voters heart strings like the strange estrangement and tears of Mitt’s Great Great grandmother:

“I felt that was more than I could endure, to have him divide his time and affections from me. I used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow. If anything will make a woman’s heart ache, it is for her husband to take another wife. … But I put my trust in my heavenly father, and prayed and pleaded with him to give me strength to bear this great trial.”

Again, I ask. What does this have to do with Mitt? This is agenda press politics at its best!

Bashing Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney for President
Photo from CBS News article/AP
Story bashing Romney and Bain Co.

Dean Barnett wonders aloud why the press has mustered so much energy against Romney. He suggests several reasons:

To start with the obvious Mitt Romney is most conservative candidate in the field who has, at present, a chance of winning. The press doesn’t like conservatives, or at the very least, is more hostile to conservatives than it is to liberals. The press sees everything regarding a conservative in the worst possible light; liberals are more likely to get the benefit of the doubt.

This is one thing that conservative forget. Regardless how you think Romney REALLY feels about the issues his public stance is THE conservative candidate in the GOP candidate slate. Dean continues:

A second reason is that Mitt Romney doesn’t look like a politician should, or at least the way the media thinks a Republican politician should. Given that Romney is constantly praised for his patrician demeanor, his impeccable manner and his smooth-as-silk politicking…

The press has come to expect Republicans to fit certain molds. They are supposed to be inarticulate and not quick on their feet. The press has stereotyped every Republican presidential nominee since Ford in this way. They are also supposed to be intellectually unimaginative or downright unintelligent. Again, every Republican presidential nominee since Ford has had to live with this label. They are further required to be creatures of politics who have accomplished nothing or next to nothing outside of the political world. Lastly, all Republicans ought to have a bit of Elmer Gantry in them. They should preach about morality and piety, but they should always be obliging enough to have at least a few skeletons jangling in their closet.

Think about our past slate of presidential candidates: Bush (inarticulate), Dole (dour), Bush 41 (unimpressive). Romney exudes something very different. As one press person put it: “Romney is straight out of central casting!” Dean summarizes this point:

Mitt Romney fails to live up to any of these stereotypes. Intellectually, Romney graduated Harvard’s Business and Law Schools with top honors. Furthermore, it seems like he’s completely unfamiliar with the media dictates that Republicans should wrestle with English like it’s a hostile foreign language and make themselves available for lampooning as dullards.

So why else are the press shooting at Romney?

Lastly, and probably most frustratingly for the media, the Romney closet is depressingly barren. When Mitt Romney talks about family values, he’s able to point to his own wife of 40 years and a brood of children and grandchildren that seems too good even for a Christmas card.

Barnett makes a great defense elsewhere on why this approach just won’t work

Introduction of Mitt Romney by Mark DeMoss @ NRB

National Religious Broadcasters Convention, February 18, 2007, Orlando
comments by Mark DeMoss

Last September, after months of personal research, I sat in the office of a remarkable man. I was meeting, for the first time in person, a 59 year-old man who:

  • Has been married to the same woman, his fist wife, for 37 years
  • Is an amazingly successful businessman, with a long track record of making and managing money, hiring talented people, and solving complex problems
  • Restored integrity, order, and profit to an Olympic Games mired in a bribery scandal and heavy debt
  • Was elected governor of the most liberal state in the nation; and later elected by his 26 fellow Republican colleagues as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association
  • Defended the Biblical definition of marriage, marriage between a man and a woman, against great opposition
  • Objects to embryonic stem-cell research, even though his wife Ann has multiple sclerosis
  • Believes that life begins at conception and should be protected at all cost

Now, I think most of us in this room would say, “Wow! That’s just the kind of leader I’ve been looking for.” Well, this man, Gov. Mitt Romney, is also a Mormon—which is why I was sitting in his office that September afternoon.

You see, I had been hearing that evangelicals would not support a Mormon for president (even though we’ve worked closely with them for 30 years on a host of issues of importance to us); and that thinking bothered me.

After all, I would not want people to say, “I could never vote for an evangelical—those people are crazy.” I further thought that if one-third of evangelicals saw fit to vote for Bill Clinton—the second time—a Southern Baptist who doesn’t share my values, surely we could consider a Mormon who does share and practice these values.

So, as I think about our country and the next election, I have concluded two things:

  1. I care more that a candidate represents my values, than that he or she shares my faith or theology.
  2. I have an answer to the question, “Could I ever vote for a Mormon?” It depends on who the Mormon is! The question should not be “Could I vote for a Mormon,” but rather, “could I vote for this Mormon.” Or could I vote for that Southern Baptist, or this Methodist, or that Catholic?

After all, there are Mormons Mitt Romney would not vote for; and there are Southern Baptists I would not vote for.

I believe when evaluating a candidate for this important office, we should evaluate the whole of a person’s life—his experience, his behavior, his family, his intellect, his integrity, and his character.

That September day, in the Massachusetts Statehouse, I told Gov. Romney two things: I told him I wanted to help him; and I told him I wasn’t for hire. I was looking for a candidate, not a client.

A month later I was fortunate to spend a day in the governor’s home, getting to know him and his wife better; and I quickly developed a friendship and a conviction that this is a special man and a rare kind of leader.

So I have tried to introduce Gov. Romney, and his wonderful wife Ann, to fellow evangelicals ever since, and I’m honored that they have come to Orlando today to meet with us. I am convinced that if “values voters” are looking for a candidate with real values, you are about to meet the real thing.

So after Jay Sekulow, my co-host for this meeting today, shares a few additional comments, I am proud to join him in introducing my special friends,

Gov. and Mrs. Mitt Romney.