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  • Wrapping up Mitt Romney’s convention reinvention

    Mitt Romney put the Republican National Convention to bed last night with the biggest speech of his campaign—but he failed to outline any tangible ideas to move America forward.

    Although his remarks were full of gauzy platitudes and false attacks, he didn’t offer any specifics about his record or his vision for the country he wants to lead.

    Notably absent from Romney’s speech was any mention of immigration, Afghanistan, or how he’d pay for his massive tax cuts for the wealthy. He made sure to repeat the false, debunked claim that President Obama cut Medicare to fund Obamacare—but declined to explain his own plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system, a change that could raise retirees’ annual costs by up to $6,400 a year. He made sure to insult the scientific community by mocking President Obama’s efforts to address climate change, but he didn’t mention the war in Afghanistan once—and he failed to acknowledge our troops for fighting the longest war in American history.

    And just like his running mate the night before, Romney played fast and loose with the facts, knowingly repeating lies that have been thoroughly debunked by independent fact checkers. Here are three of the biggest whoppers he served up last night:

    • Romney charged once again that President Obama began his presidency with an “apology tour,” a claim that Politifact called a “ridiculous charge” and rated as “Pants on Fire.” Yet, “despite earning Four Pinocchios for months, Romney keeps saying this.”

    • He said the President has thrown Israel “under the bus,” when in reality, President Obama has provided Israel with unshakeable support and unprecedented aid—in fact, “more than anything” Israeli leaders can remember.

    • Romney even claimed that President Obama has raised taxes on the middle class, a demonstrably false charge made even more hypocritical by the fact that Romney’s own plan would raise taxes on middle-class families with kids by an average of $2,000 in order to pay for a $5 trillion tax cut favoring millionaires and billionaires.

    For all its fanfare and slick packaging, Mitt Romney’s convention reinvention couldn’t rewrite his long record of putting those at the very top above the middle class, or obscure his clear vision for taking us back to the failed top-down economic policies of the past. After all, there are some things you just can’t etch-a-sketch away.


  • Why Sandra Fluke supports President Obama

    Last February, a law student named Sandra Fluke agreed to testify before Congress, arguing that her university's lack of contraception coverage was detrimental to female students, who often use birth control as preventive care. When Fluke uttered the phrase "I am an American woman who uses contraceptives," she drew the wrath of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who repeatedly called her a "slut" on his show.

    Since then, Fluke has become an outspoken, public advocate of women's rights. There's a clear difference between then candidates when it comes to women's rights, and this week, she's been traveling around the country with female members of Congress to highlight Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's policies on women's issues.

    At a press conference with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Fluke cited the Republican Party's attitudes and actions toward Planned Parenthood as indicative of how extreme the party has become—and just how dangerous their agenda is for women. "I just find it astonishing that the first bill that this House of Representatives chose to pass was a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. When they chose to defund Planned Parenthood, that was literally the choice to take away breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, and access to contraception. I don't understand the mindset that says that's the most important, critical thing to do. Day one, we need to take away breast cancer screenings for women?"

    "Mr. Ryan was part of that decision. Mr. Romney has endorsed that decision."

    It's just as telling when a candidate is unwilling—or unable—to lead. "When I was verbally attacked earlier this year, President Obama spoke out and condemned those words," Fluke says. "He supported my right to speak out and make my voice heard. Romney, on the other hand, could only bring himself to say that Limbaugh's words weren't the words he would have chosen.

    "I don't need Romney to speak out for me," she says. "I am a strong enough woman to handle that on my own. But it shows me that he's not capable or doesn't want to stand up to the extreme voices in his community. I need to know that the man who's going to be my president is standing up for me and the women of this country. And that's not going to be Mr. Romney."

    Her message for the voters, men and women alike, is simple: Educate yourself about the choice the country faces. "What I really hope happens between now and November," she says, "is that every woman in this country—or every man who care about a woman—takes a look at the record of these candidates. President Obama's record is standing up for women and defending us from attacks on our rights and making sure we have the health care we need. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan's have a record that is dangerous and frightening for women—one that limits our access to health care and our economic options."

    Find out more about both candidate's records on women's issues here.

  • In case you missed it…

    By Grant on

    Mitt Romney capped off the Republican National Convention last night with his big speech, and the reviews are in:

    “We heard precious little about Mitt Romney’s plans for the country. By my count, Barack Obama’s 2008 convention speech spent 768 words describing his domestic and economic policies. Romney’s speech spent 260 words. There was almost no mention—and absolutely no description—of his budget, tax, health care or Medicare plans.”
    —Ezra Klein of The Washington Post, “Romney’s speech: Where was the policy?”

    “The economic plan he laid out is just a rehash of the policies we had in 2007, when the economy started falling apart.”
    —Bloomberg News, “Romney: Generic Republican for President”

    “Mr. Romney’s big speech, delivered in a treacly tone with a strange misty smile on his face suggesting he was always about to burst into tears, was of a piece with the rest of the convention. Republicans have offered precious little of substance but a lot of bromides (“A free world is a more peaceful world!”) meant to convey profundity and take passive-aggressive digs at President Obama. But no subjects have received less attention, or been treated with less honesty, than foreign affairs and national security—and Mr. Romney’s banal speech was no exception.”
    —The New York Times, “Mr. Romney Reinvents History”

    “ … a sad evening for an actual reality-based critique of Obama's record, or a coherent set of proposals for the future ... In a word: mediocre, and deeply dishonest as an argument.”
    The Daily Beast

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  • Mitt Romney’s "unshakeable" record

    Mitt Romney’s hoping for a convention reinvention, where he can clear away his past record like someone shaking an Etch-A-Sketch. But there are some things you just can't shake—like his business record, his Massachusetts record, his offshore funds, and what the Romney-Ryan budget does to Medicare. Take a look at this video to find out more about Romney’s “unshakeable” record, then share it with your friends.

  • Responding to Paul Ryan's lies

    Last night at the Republican National Convention, Paul Ryan introduced himself to the American people. But instead of detailing how his and Mitt Romney's budget plan would affect middle-class Americans, seniors, and the economy, the so-called "intellectual leader of the Republican Party" launched false attack after false attack against President Obama. So at this morning's Democratic press conference in Tampa, OFA deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter got straight to the point:

    "Last night, Paul Ryan lied. Repeatedly, knowingly, and brazenly, reciting charges that have been universally dismissed as false by news organizations. They just don't care. And they've said so: Two days ago, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney said they're not going to be beholden to fact checks. And boy, did they prove that last night."

    Cutter joined Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who have both served alongside Ryan in Congress, to correct what they heard in the biggest speech of Ryan's political career.

    One of Ryan's most egregious attacks centered around a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin that was effectively shut down in December 2008, before President Obama took office—a fact that Ryan, who represents Janesville in Congress, would be well acquainted with.

    "When the speechwriters came in and said, 'We want you to say Barack Obama closed the plant,' he should have stopped them and said it's not true," Durbin said. "The fact is, General Motors is alive and well and thriving today because Barack Obama stood up. He said, ‘We're going to stand behind them and the workers’—and it worked. Remember what Mitt Romney said? ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt.’"

    Wasserman Schultz, who serves with Ryan on the House Budget Committee, said, "To suggest that Paul Ryan is fiscally responsible is ludicrous, because his record doesn't even remotely reflect that." Just take his claim that President Obama failed to advance a deficit reduction plan. What Ryan neglected to mention was that as a member of the Simpson-Bowles commission, he voted against the plan.

    Durbin incredulously recounted the year he spent on the Simpson-Bowles sitting across the table from Ryan. "All the witnesses came in and presented their views on the deficit," he said. "At the end of the day, Simpson-Bowles produced a balanced plan to put everything on the table. And then came the final vote on the plan. And when the 18 names were called, I voted yes. Paul Ryan and every House Republican voted no. So they can stand there with the deficit clock ticking this week, but they have to explain why their vice presidential candidate voted against the President's plan that came out of Simpson-Bowles."

    As Cutter said, Ryan's speech "may have rallied a bunch of Republican delegates in the arena last night, but it failed the American people."