Five Lies You Need to Know about Mitt Romney

Barack Obama’s campaign has compiled an user-friendly guide detailing Mitt Romney’s scheme to transform America into a Plutocracy. The one tiny problem with “5 Things You Need to Know about Mitt Romney” is that, though it’s super handy, most of it is not technically true — and the rest of it is very unlikely (and that’s unfortunate).

1. “He’d repeal Obamacare and take away health care from millions.”

One of the central criticisms of Romney has been his persistent defense of Romneycare and his refusal to even condemn the individual mandate — other than by couching his argument in federalist terms. The White House even celebrated Romneycare’s anniversary recently (though Obama joined most Americans to similarly not celebrate his own health-care bill).

Romney, of course, can’t repeal Obamacare any more than Obama could pass it alone. He can only promise to hand out waivers so states can decide the fate of their own health care insurance. The administration is not philosophically opposed to waivers, of course, offering over a 100 to friends of the president to allow them to skirt the law.

2. “He opposes the president’s plan to end the war in Afghanistan and would leave troops there indefinitely.”

Romney may oppose the president’s plan — whatever that is — and he doesn’t support a timeline, but he’s been criticized for failing to be hawkish enough on the issue by the Republican establishment.

Romney was asked last year: “Osama bin Laden is dead. We’ve been in Afghanistan for 10 years. Isn’t it time to bring our combat troops home from Afghanistan?”

“It’s time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can,” he responded.

That doesn’t sound like “indefinitely” to me. Polls are heading in the dovish direction, even within the GOP.

3. “He’d cut taxes for millionaires, paid for by cutting the programs that middle class Americans rely on.”

It’s not worth getting too deeply into this Big Lie. Across-the-board tax cuts always benefit the wealthy who pay most of our taxes. But I think Philip Klein at The Examiner perfectly articulated the answer when he wrote, “to portray any tax cut as a cost to government is to assume that the government is the rightful owner of 100 percent of the wealth created in society, and that every dollar that isn’t spent by government is somehow a giveaway.”

4. “He’d end Medicare as we know it.”

Unfortunately, Romney wouldn’t end Medicare as we know it — unless you mean keeping it basically the way it is only increasing the eligibility age (something Obama once indicated he might support) and offering the elderly some more choices.

5. “He’d get rid of Planned Parenthood and outlaw abortion.”

Two lies in one. As Buzzfeed has pointed out, Romney advocates overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing states to craft their own abortion laws. That is not the same as “outlawing” abortion.

When Romney was asked if he wanted to get rid of Planned Parenthood, he answered: “Planned Parenthood is a private organization. What I want to get rid of is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood.”

I realize that in the minds of many, cutting government hand outs is tantamount to “getting rid” of something. Occasionally this is true. Surely there are numerous “alternative energy” plans that would never find funding in the marketplace without Washington charity and coercion. There is a difference, however.

It’s going to be interesting to see this play out. Grassroots conservatives haven’t warmed to Romney, and he comes off more as a management expert than someone with a core conservative ideological outlook. Can Democrats define him as some kind of Tea Party radical who wants to dismantle all that liberals hold dear? I guess that’ll depend on how Romney reacts.