Mitt-statements — The master list

UPDATED: Romney's debate lies

Topics: Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney gaffes, Gaffes, Republican National Convention,

Mitt-statements -- The master list (Credit: Reuters/James Glover/Salon/Benjamin Wheelock)

UPDATED: We’ve added to our comprehensive list of Mitt Romney’s dubious statements — and will keep updating until Election Day. Check back soon!

73. “Our Navy is older — excuse me — our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now down to 285.” Romney made comment in the third debate, as a way of arguing that the military is weaker under Obama. This prompted Obama to make his now-famous comment that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets,” making a point about how the military has changed since that decade, but is not necessarily weaker. But Romney was wrong on the facts too: Politifact labeled this claim “Pants on Fire” and said the claim is ”meaningless.” (October 22, 2012)

72. “Secondly, Syria’s an opportunity for us because Syria plays an important role in the Middle East, particularly right now. Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea.” In the final debate, Romney emphasized the importance of getting rid of Assad in Syria. He did not, however, get the geography quite right. Iran already has access to the Persian gulf, and doesn’t border Syria - Iraq is in between the two countries, and Iran and Iraq are not
exactly friends
. (October 22, 2012)

71. “And I said, ‘Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified? I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.” Romney’s comments about “binders full of women” went viral, but were not exactly true in the end. In fact, in 2002, before Mitt Romney was elected, a group of women called MassGAP researched and put together information about women qualified for
Cabinet posts, and then presented it to Romney when he took office. Romney did not make the request himself. (October 17, 2012)



70. “Regulations have quadrupled. The rate of regulations quadrupled under this president.” — In the same debate, Romney erroneously claimed that Obama has increased regulations. Obama has actually approved five percent fewer regulations than George W. Bush, according to reports this year and last year.
(October 16, 2012)

69. “I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.” Romney was instantly fact-checked by Candy Crowley during the debate for this claim, because President Obama referred to “acts of terror” in a Rose Garden speech the next day, and then specifically called the Libya attack an “act of terror”
while campaigning in Colorado. (October 16, 2012)

68.  ”I’d just note that I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.” Romney has previously said he supports the Blunt Amendment, which would let employers decide whether to provide insurance coverage for birth control. (October 16,
2012
)

67. “A recent study has shown that people in the middle class will see $4,000 a year higher taxes as a result of the spending and borrowing of this administration.” — Romney, during the second debate. FactCheck.org called this number “nonsense.” A recent Romney ad made a similar
claim, attributing the study to the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute. In fact, even that study says Obama’s budget “provides a middle ground.” (October 16, 2012)

66. “No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” — One 2009 study shows that almost 45,000 people die every year primarily because they lack health insurance. (Oct. 11, 2012)

65. “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” — Romney seemed to soften on abortion when speaking with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register, but later his spokesman clarified to the National Review Online: “Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.” (Oct. 10, 2012)

64. “I’m sorry Jim. I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m gonna stop other things. I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too.” – Romney talked about cutting federal funding for PBS in order to reduce spending. PBS funding amounts to 0.012 percent of the federal budget. (Oct. 3, 2012)

63. Obamacare “puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have.” — Romney sort of revived the old “death panels” canard leveled at Obama during the health care debate. The law establishes an Independent Payment Advisory Board, but the board is banned from rationing and does not decide on individual cases. (October 3, 2012)

62. “Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.” — Another debate statement that was quickly clarified by Romney’s own campaign. Romney was referring to covering only those with pre-existing conditions who have continuous health care coverage, not those who have not had prior coverage for more than 90 days (Oct. 3, 2012)

61. “On Medicare for current retirees, [Obama] is cutting $716 billion from the program.” — Also in the first debate, Romney revived the claim that Obama will gut Medicare. That number is from cost savings from Medicare that would go towards paying for Obamacare, but the money actually comes from reimbursements to hospitals, not benefits for individuals. Studies show that this plan would also extend the life of Medicare. (Oct. 3, 2012)

60. “Now, you cite a study. There are six other studies that looked at the study you describe and say it’s completely wrong.” — In the debate, Romney disputed the study on his tax plan by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Romney has previously said there were five other studies, and FactCheck.org found that two of them were blog posts, two were written by Romney campaign advisers, and one was written by a former economic adviser to President Bush. (Oct. 3, 2012)

59. “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut.” — Romney said in the first debate that his plan for an across-the-board tax cut won’t add to the deficit, and he’ll pay for it by closing loopholes. But according to the Tax Policy Center, Romney’s plan will either cost $5 trillion over ten years, or he’d have to raise taxes on the middle class – but Romney says that is not part of his plan, either. (Oct. 3, 2012)

58. “I expected the president, at his convention, to talk about the unemployed and to unveil a jobs plan. Astonishingly, he did not. I have a plan, and my plan for a stronger middle class will create 12 million jobs by the end of my first term.” — Prepared remarks to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce about Obama’s DNC speech. Obama didn’t say the word “unemployed” in his speech (though Romney didn’t in his RNC speech either), but he did talk about people who had lost their jobs. Obama has also put forward several pieces of legislation aimed at creating jobs, including the American JOBS Act. (Sept. 17, 2012)

57. ”[Palestinians have] no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish…I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way.” (Sept. 17, 2012)

56. ”Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this, but he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. They lived there for a number of years. I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.” — At the same fundraiser. (Sept. 17, 2012)

55. “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement.” — At a May 17 private fundraiser. Mitt himself later took it back, saying his comments were “just completely wrong.” (Sept. 17, 2012)

 54. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Truth: Mitt was widely condemned for attempting to politicize the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt – and for erroneously accusing the President of sympathizing with the violent demonstrators. In fact, the U.S. embassy in Cairo had put out a statement as the protests were first gaining steam, and before the Libya attacks, condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” Both Hillary Clinton and President Obama very strongly condemned the all of the attacks, which resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three of his staffers. (Sept. 11, 2012)

53. “Of course there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place” and a priority “is to make sure that those with preexisting conditions can get coverage.” Truth: Romney has said he’d repeal Obama’s health care law on his first day in office. And shortly after these comments, his campaign clarified on National Review Online that he doesn’t really like Obamacare that much after all: “In reference to how Romney would deal with those with preexisting conditions and young adults who want to remain on their parents’ plans, a Romney aide responded that there had been no change in Romney’s position and that ‘in a competitive environment, the marketplace will make available plans that include coverage for what there is demand for. He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.’” (Sept. 9, 2012)

52. “I will not take God out of our platform. I will not take God off our coins, and I will not take God out of my heart.” – Truth: Obama has never implied that he would take God off the coins, a claim that Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith said was “extreme and untrue.” (Sept. 8, 2012) 

51. “I only regret you’re repeating it day in and day out. When you give a speech you don’t go through a laundry list, you talk about the things that you think are important and I described in my speech, my commitment to a strong military unlike the president’s decision to cut our military.” — On not mentioning military servicemen and women in his RNC speech. (Sept. 7, 2012)

50. “Well, I’m not sure exactly what President Clinton will say, but there’s no question that President Obama’s decision to say that we’re going to allow waivers or excuses from work requirements in welfare was designed to shore up part of his base that may not be inclined to go out and vote in the same kind of energy and passion as they did four years ago.” Truth: The idea that Obama will waive the welfare work requirement has been universally debunked(Sept. 5, 2012)

49. “That very optimism is uniquely American.” Truth: Actually, according to Gallup polls several years running, Nigerians are the most optimistic people in the world. Greeks are the most pessimistic. Americans are somewhere in the middle. (Aug. 30, 2012)

48. “But today, four years from the excitement of the last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future.” Truth: Setting aside the fact that it contradicts his earlier claim about Americans’ optimism, he’s right that Americans are not very optimistic about their kids’ future. But it’s hardly “the first time.” (Aug. 30, 2012)

47. “When I was 37, I helped start a small company.” Truth: Bain Capital was not and never has been a “small company.” (Aug. 30, 2012)

46. “And let me make this very clear — unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class.” Truth: Obama did not raise taxes on the middle class by any stretch of the imagination. The stimulus actually gave a tax cut to 95 percent of working families via a cut in payroll taxes. Republicansfought the extension of that cut when it expired. Meanwhile, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Romney’s budget plan would raise taxes on the middle class, while cutting taxes on the wealthy. (Aug. 30, 2012)

45. “I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs. It has five steps.” Truth: History shows this is likely an unrealistic pipe dream(Aug. 30, 2012)

44. “His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation — and jobs — in medicine.” Truth: One of the most persistent lies of the campaigns — Obama did not cut Medicare. (Aug. 30, 2012)

43.  “President Obama began with an apology tour.” Truth: Politifact gave this one a “Pants on Fire,” calling it a “ridiculous charge.” (Aug. 30, 2012)

42. “His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk.” Truth: Romney blames Obama for cuts that will kick in in January, but they actually are the result of a 2011 bipartisan budget to raise the government’s debt ceiling that Republicans agreed to. (Aug. 30, 2012)

41. “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” (Aug. 24, 2012)

40. “Join me in welcoming the next President of United States, Paul Ryan!” (Aug. 11, 2012)

39. “Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things. One, I recognize the hand of providence in selecting this place.” — Speaking in Israel (July 29, 2012)

38. “Mr. Leader.” — Upon meeting Ed Miliband, leader of Britain’s Labour party, Romney appeared to forget his name. (July 26, 2012)

37. “It’s hard to know just how well [the 2012 London Olympics] will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.” — While visiting England (July 25, 2012)

36. “Lemon. Wet. Good.” — Describing his lemonade while attending a parade in Wofeboro, N.H. (July 4, 2012)

35. “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” — Earlier, Romney wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2008 titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” in which he said if GM, Ford and Chrysler got a government bailout “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.” (May 8, 2012)

34. “I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7-Eleven, bakery, or whatever.” — A comment made about a batch of cookies, baked by a local bakery, while sitting around the picnic table at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. (April 17, 2012)

33. “We have a president who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps.” — Romney spent one year more than Obama at Harvard while earning two degrees there. (April 5, 2012)

32. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks.” — To a group of NASCAR fans wearing plastic ponchos (Feb. 26, 2012)

31. “I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.” — When asked if he follows NASCAR (Feb. 26, 2012)

30. “This feels good, being back in Michigan. You know, the trees are the right height.” (Feb. 21, 2012)

29. ”I was a severely conservative Republican governor.” (Feb. 10, 2012)

28. [My wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs.” (Feb. 4, 2012)

27. “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor — we have a safety net there.” (Feb. 2, 2012)

26. “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” (Jan. 21, 2012)

25. “I get speakers’ fees from time to time, but not very much.” In 2010 he earned about $370,000 in speaker’s fees over the course of the year, according to his personal financial disclosure. (Jan. 17, 2012)

24. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”  (Jan. 9, 2012)

23. “For me, politics is not a career.” (Jan. 8, 2012)

22. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.” (January 8, 2012)

21. “I’ll tell you what, ten-thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?” — Attempting to make a wager with Rick Perry during a Republican presidential debate to settle a disagreement about health care (Dec. 10, 2011)

20. “I tasted a beer and tried a cigarette once, as a wayward teenager, and never did it again.” — In People magazine (Dec. 5, 2011)

19. “I’m Mitt Romney — and yes, Wolf, that’s also my first name.” Romney’s first name is actually Willard. (Nov. 22, 2011)

18. “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake. We can’t have illegals.” — When his track record for hiring illegal immigrants to landscape his home comes up during a debate (Oct. 18, 2011)

17. “It’s for the great middle class – the 80 to 90 percent of us in this country.” (September 21, 2011)

16. “Corporations are people … Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?” (Aug. 11, 2011)

15. “I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.” (June 16, 2011)

14. “I saw the young man over there with eggs Benedict, with Hollandaise sauce. And I was going to suggest to you that you serve your eggs with Hollandaise sauce in hubcaps. Because there’s no plates like chrome for the Hollandaise.” — After working the room at a New Hampshire restaurant, to the establishments owner (June 14, 2011)

13. “Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?” (Jan. 21, 2008)

12. “Oh, you’ve got some bling-bling here.” — Admiring a child’s necklace during a meeting with black voters in Jacksonville, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2008)

11. “You sit down with your attorneys and tell you want you have to do, but obviously the president of the United States has to do what’s in the best interest of the United States to protect us against a potential threat.” — On whether, as President, he would get authorization from Congress before taking action against Iran (Oct. 9, 2007)

10. “PETA has not been my fan over the years. PETA was after me for having a rodeo at the Olympics and was very, very upset about that. PETA was after me when I went quail hunting in Georgia. And they’re not happy that my dog likes fresh air.” — After the Boston Globe reported that Romney transported his dog, Seamus, in a carrier on the roof of his car during family vacations (June 2007)

9. “Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.” — At the South Carolina Republican debate (May 15, 2007)

8. “In France, for instance, I’m told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.” This policy does not exist, but seven-year marriage contracts are a plot point in the “Memories of Earth” science fiction series by Mormon author Orson Scott Card. (May 5, 2007)

7. “Liquefied coal, gosh. Hitler during the Second World War — I guess because he was concerned about losing his oil — liquefied coal. That technology is still there.” — During a Q&A session about energy policy. (April 19, 2007)

6. “The one by L. Ron Hubbard … I’m not in favor of his religion by any means, but he wrote a book called ‘Battlefield Earth’ that was a very fun science fiction book.” Romney names his favorite novel on Fox News (May 1, 2007)

5. “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” — On capturing Osama Bin Laden (April 26, 2007)

4. “I’m not a big-game hunter. I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will.” — After previously calling himself a “lifelong hunter” while on the 2008 campaign trail (April 5, 2007)

3. “Hugo Chavez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase — ‘Patria o muerte, venceremos.’ It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba.” It turns out the phrase does not belong to a free Cuba. It means “Fatherland or death, we shall overcome,” and it was a tag line for Fidel Castro. (March 9, 2007)

2. “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.” Romney’s campaign later admitted that they did not march on the same day or in the same city. (December, 2007)

1. “Hi, how are you? Don’t run away. I want to shake your hand. I know, you haven’t got your makeup on yet, right? You do, you do.” — On the campaign trail while running for the U.S. Senate, to a random woman outside a store (1994)

 

Did we miss one? Email it to romneygaffes@salon.com.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

Jaime Cone is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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