DNC - Fact Checking Mitt Romney's Acrobatic Speech at CPAC

See below for a Fact Check on Mitt Romney’s speech this morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference.  Once again, Romney is demonstrating a penchant he has become well known for: Rewriting his record (just as he did his book earlier this week), ignoring the documented facts of the economic recovery under President Obama’s leadership and flip-flopping on his earlier positions on everything from health reform and climate change legislation to President Obama’s education policies and a woman’s right to choose.     


RHETORIC: “They grew the government, they racked up bigger deficits, they took over healthcare, they pushed cap and trade, they stalled production of our oil and gas and coal, they fought to impose unions on America’s workers, and they created over a hundred new agencies and commissions and hundreds of thousands of pages of new regulations.”




AP: “Mitt Romney Has A Problem With Obamacare.  It Looks A Lot Like Romneycare.” Mitt Romney has a problem with Obamacare. It looks a lot like Romneycare. The prospective Republican presidential candidate’s vulnerability on the issue was evident this week, when he was interrupted during a tour for his new book by a woman upset with the Massachusetts health care law Romney signed as governor in 2006. That law has some of the same core features as the federal law President Barack Obama, a Democrat, signed on Tuesday. And that’s creating an uncomfortable straddle for Romney as his party makes attacking the new health care law its main message this midterm year.” [AP, 3/26/10]


Newsweek: Romney’s Health Care Plan Is “Almost Identical To Obama’s.” “If this is Romney’s strategy for unseating Obama in 2012, he’s in trouble. It’s not just that politics of repealing reform will be disastrous for Republicans, as my Gaggle colleague Katie Connolly explained earlier today. It’s that Romney is a completely unconvincing advocate for the argument he’s trying to make. As I’ve written before, the biggest roadblock to Romney receiving the 2012 GOP presidential nomination is the fact that he proposed and passed a health-care reform plan in Massachusetts that’s almost identical to Obama’sexcept without any of the cost controls, making it less fiscally responsible, and therefore less conservative, than the new national law. In the past, Romney has tried to distinguish between the two initiatives by attacking the public option (which is no longer part of Obamacare), speaking out against Medicare cuts (which are necessary to keep per capita costs down), and decrying price controls (which are meant to prevent premiums from skyrocketing). None of these talking points, however, won Romney many new fansespecially among his fellow Republicans.” [Romano, Newsweek, 3/22/10]


New York Times: “Obama Has Reason To Assert That His Agenda Has In Fact Incorporated Republican Approaches” As His Health Care Plan “Resembles The Plan Enacted In Massachusetts By Gov. Mitt Romney.” “In a third interview, in January 2009, President-elect Obama welcomed bipartisan cooperation and said, ‘Republicans have a lot to offer’ on economic policy. Today, Mr. Obama has reason to assert that his agenda has in fact incorporated Republican approaches, even as he has failed to attract Republican political support. His health care plan, fighting for survival on Capitol Hill, is grounded in a requirement that individuals buy insurance coverage, creation of an ‘exchange’ marketplace in which policies are sold and subsidies for those who cannot afford them. That resembles the plan enacted in Massachusetts by Gov. Mitt Romney, a possible Republican presidential contender in 2012.” [New York Times, 2/15/10]




2005: Romney Endorsed Regional Cap And Trade System, Saying "This Is A Great Thing For The Commonwealth ... We Can Effectively Create Incentives To Help Stimulate A Sector Of The Economy And At The Same Time Not Kill Jobs. ... I’m Convinced It Is Good Business." "Governor Mitt Romney signaled his support yesterday for a regional agreement among Northeastern states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite opposition from power companies and other business interests that have been lobbying the administration against the plan. In opening remarks to a clean-energy conference in Boston, Romney said the first-of-its-kind agreement, under which Massachusetts and eight other states could be required to cut power plant emissions by 2020, will not hurt the economy, as some have charged. He argued that it would spur businesses to develop clean -- and renewable-energy technology to market worldwide. ‘This is a great thing for the Commonwealth,’ Romney said, his strongest endorsement of the pact to date. ‘We can effectively create incentives to help stimulate a sector of the economy and at the same time not kill jobs.’... Romney said yesterday that he had some concerns about the agreement, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, but he endorsed this and other clean-energy initiatives by saying they would stimulate the development of technology that Massachusetts companies could sell to other states and countries, as the emphasis on climate change grows. ‘I’m convinced it is good business,’ Romney said." [Boston Globe, 11/8/05]

Romney In 2003: "Now Is The Time To Take Action Toward Climate Protection ... Our Joint Work To Create A Flexible Market-Based Regional Cap And Trade System Could Serve As An Effective Approach To Meeting These Goals.”In another nod to environmentalists, Gov. Mitt Romney has joined with New York Gov. George Pataki in a plan to limit greenhouse gases from Northeast power plants. In a July 21 letter to Mr. Pataki, Mr. Romney acknowledged that carbon dioxide emissions are harming the environment and agreed to help design a regional emissions cap for power generating plants. Mr. Pataki last spring invited New England and mid-Atlantic state governors to spend two years on a plan to bring about significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. I concur that climate change is beginning to affect our natural resources and that now is the time to take action toward climate protection,’ the governor wrote. ‘I share your interest in ensuring that the economic and security contributions made by our electricity generating system are not negated by the impact of emissions from that system on the health of our citizens,’ he continued… ‘Our joint work to create a flexible market-based regional cap and trade system could serve as an effective approach to meeting these goals,’ Mr. Romney wrote in the letter.” [Telegram & Gazette [Worcester, MA], 8/6/03]



RHETORIC: “Liberal education policies fail our children today, because they put pensions and privilege for union bosses above the reading scores of our kids.”




Romney Praised Obama For Race To The Top And For Funding No Child Left Behind. “Romney praised President Barack Obama for funding No Child Left Behind to test kids and for Race to the Top, which he said was a ‘hopeful departure from the influence of the teachers’ unions.’” [New Haven Register, 9/10/10]


RHETORIC: “Liberal social policies have failed to protect the unborn.”




1994: Romney on Roe v. Wade: “I Do Not Want To Change It, Overturn It, Reverse It.”Romney has said he supports Roe v. Wade, the landmark case establishing a woman’s right to an abortion, though he does not favor federal funding of abortions except where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or threatens the life of the mother. ‘(It) has been the law of the land for over 20 years, and I do not want to change it, overturn it, reverse it. I want it to remain the law of the land,’ Romney said of Roe v Wade.” [Boston Herald, 5/19/94]

RHETORIC: “The President who took office on January 20th, 2009 should have had one central mission – put Americans back to work! Fight for every job! Because every job is a paycheck and paychecks fuel Americans dreams.”



Bureau Of Labor Statistics: Private Employers Added 1.1 Million Jobs In 2010, The Strongest Private Sector Job Growth Since 2006. “Today’s employment report shows that the unemployment rate fell sharply to 9.0 percent and private sector payrolls increased by 50,000 in January. Revisions to private sector payroll data show that 1.1 million jobs were added during 2010, the strongest private sector job growth since 2006.” [White House Council of Economic Advisers blog, 2/4/11]








Washington Post: “Report Gives Stimulus Package High Marks.” “The massive economic stimulus package President Obama pushed through Congress last year is coming in on time and under budget - and with strikingly few claims of fraud or abuse - according to a White House report to be released Friday. Coming barely a month before November's midterm elections, which will determine whether Democrats retain control of Congress, the report challenges public perceptions of the stimulus aid as slow-moving and wasteful - an image that has fueled voter anger with the dominant party. Even some former skeptics who predicted that the money would lead to rampant abuse now acknowledge that the program could serve as a model for improving efficiency in government. By the end of September, the administration had spent 70 percent of the act's original $787 billion, which met a White House goal of quickly pumping money into the nation's ravaged economy, the report says. The administration also met nearly a dozen deadlines set by Congress for getting money out the door.” [Washington Post, 10/1/10]


Bloomberg: “Obama's Economic Stimulus Program Created Or Saved Up to 3.3 Million Jobs, CBO Says”: President Barack Obama’s stimulus package may have created or saved as many as 3.3 million jobs last quarter and lowered the unemployment rate by as much as 1.8 percentage points, the Congressional Budget Office said. The $814 billion program, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, probably added between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent to gross domestic product for the three months through June, the nonpartisan agency said in a report issued yesterday.” [Bloomberg, 8/24/10]


CEA: The Stimulus Package Saved Or Created Up To 3.6 Million Jobs. “As of the second quarter of 2010, the Recovery Act has raised employment by between 2.5 and 3.6 million jobs.  This puts us well on track to reach the 3.5 million jobs benchmark by the end of this year.” [Council of Economic Advisors, 7/14/10]

RHETORIC: “And his “reset program” with Russia? That consisted of our President abandoning our missile defense in Poland and signing a one-sided nuclear treaty. The cause of liberty cannot endure much more of his ‘they get, we give’ diplomacy! “



Lugar Slammed Romney’s Op-Ed On START “In An Unusually Harsh Statement” Calling It “Hyperbolic” Rhetoric That “Repeated Discredited Objections” And Claimed Romney “Appears Unaware Of Arms Control History And Context.” “Senator Richard G. Lugar, one of the Republican Party’s senior voices on foreign affairs, fired back Thursday at Mitt Romney over his opposition to the new nuclear treaty with Russia, accusing Mr. Romney of ‘hyperbolic’ rhetoric that is divorced from the reality of arms control. In an unusually harsh statement, Mr. Lugar said Mr. Romney ‘repeated discredited objections’ to the treaty and “appears unaware of arms control history and context.’ The senator said rejecting the treaty, as Mr. Romney has urged, would mean giving up any human monitoring of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and guarantee no follow-up agreement to further limit nuclear weapons. ‘Governor Romney offers additional misreadings and myths that have been refuted explicitly in Congressional hearings,’ said Mr. Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Among other things, Mr. Lugar said the treaty imposes no restriction on current American plans for missile defense and has the support of prominent Republican national security leaders like former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger.” [New York Times, 7/8/10]


Romney’s Op-Ed Opposing START Was “Torn To Shreds The Next Day By The Washington Consensus” As Romney Prefers “A Radical Approach.” “A few weeks ago, Mitt Romney drew a circle in the sand and stood inside of it, declaring his opposition to the START treaty on the grounds that it jeopardized national security and conceded too much to Russia. The op-ed was torn to shreds the next day by the Washington consensus, which very much supports a bilateral, mutually beneficial approach to arms control, an approach that was President Reagan’s greatest legacy to the world. A few days ago, Romney all but announced that he disagreed with the consensus entirely.  Twenty plus years of nuclear diplomacy is not in his consciousness. He wants an entirely new approach, a radical approach that marks a return to a world that dissolved twenty years ago but is still alive intellectually, in some circles.” [Ambinder, The Atlantic, 7/28/10]

Former President George HW Bush Called On The Senate To Ratify The START Treaty. “Former president George H.W. Bush called Wednesday on the Senate to ratify a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia, adding his influential voice to a chorus of former officials backing the pact as it awaits a critical vote. President Obama has said passage of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is his top foreign policy priority in Congress's current lame-duck session. But many Republicans have said there isn't enough time to consider it. In a one-sentence statement, Bush said, ‘I urge the United States Senate to ratify the START treaty.’” [Washington Post, 12/9/10]

Former Secretaries Of State Kissinger, Shultz, Baker, Eagleburger, And Powell Supported The Passage Of The START Treaty. “President Obama has found yet another powerful group of backers for his New START treaty in a supportive op-ed penned by former secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker III, Lawrence Eagleburger, and Colin Powell -- a group that served the last five Republican presidents.” [National Journal, 12/2/10]


  • Condoleezza Rice Supported Ratification Of The START Treaty. “Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, writing in the Wall Street Journal, urges the Senate to ratify the new START treaty, but to make clear to Moscow that the agreement doesn't limit U.S. missile defenses.” [Politico, 12/6/10]


Former Defense Secretaries Harold Brown, Frank Carlucci, Bill Cohen, Bill Perry, And James Schlesinger As Well As Former National Security Advisers Steven Hadley And Brent Scowcroft Support START Ratification. “Biden highlighted a string of GOP national security officials under Republican presidents who favor the treaty besides Rice: Former Defense Secretaries Harold Brown, Frank Carlucci, Bill Cohen, Bill Perry and James Schlesinger, and former Secretaries of State Jim Baker, Larry Eagleburger, Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, Colin Powell, and former National Security Advisers Steve Hadley and Brent Scowcroft.” [Politics Daily, 12/8/10]