(AP/Lynne Sladkey)

Romney's shameful surrogates

Crazy John Sununu lies his way through an MSNBC interview. Plus: Stop equating Romney and Obama remarks


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Joan Walsh
September 18, 2012 10:13PM (UTC)

John Sununu just went full-tilt crazy on Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, telling her the media shouldn't be criticizing Mitt Romney's dishonest, divisive comments about the "47 percent." He said it should be after "a president who's decided to run a campaign on class warfare, he attacks success."

Sununu falsely claimed Romney was talking about polling showing that 47 percent of voters support Obama – when Romney clearly said he was talking about the 47 percent who pay no federal income taxes. Then he flipped and said Romney was talking about "the constituency that Obama's been pandering to." He went on to claim that in 2008, Obama "made race a divider," and told Mitchell with a flourish, "You ought to be saying 'Shame on you, Obama!'"

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What did Bill Clinton say about Paul Ryan's Medicare lie? “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It takes some brass to accuse a guy of doing what you did.” It takes some brass to accuse the president of class warfare when the class warrior is Romney and his top 1 percent. What a buffoon Sununu is. Why do people keep booking him on television shows?

I've said all I have to say about Romney's cruel remarks. We've been demanding to see the real Romney – Romney "unzipped," in his wife's memorable words. Well, we've seen the real Romney, an arrogant plutocrat.

Sadly, the media continue to equate Romney's remarks with President Obama's "bitter" voters in Pennsylvania. It's shameful; we know the president was trying to get his wealthy donors to empathize with those voters, not hold them in contempt. I thought I would include the full transcript of Obama's remarks so maybe fewer people will make this mistake. Compare it with Romney's; there's actually no comparison.

I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre...I think they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.

Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laughter), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).

But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing.


Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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