You can point out that Mitt Romney is the proud owner of a record number of PolitiFact “Pants on Fire” awards. You can say that MSNBC’s Steve Benen has chronicled hundreds of Romney’s lies. You can watch CNN’s Candy Crowley being forced to fact-check the Republican nominee during the middle of the second debate.
But Mitt Romney never thought he’d be fact-checked by his real friends — corporations.
After Romney decided to repeat an Internet rumor that Jeep was moving jobs to China, Chrysler was forced to correct the former governor of Massachusetts on its blog.
Then Romney — as they say — doubled down and reworded the claim in a unannounced TV commercial followed by a radio ad, this time adding an accusation that General Motors was also moving jobs abroad.
This forced General Motors to fact-check the son of the former head of American Motors, “We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” they said, but “no amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”
Both Chrysler and General Motors have added new jobs in China to make cars sold in China. But neither has moved American jobs abroad — unlike Delphi Automotive, a company the Romneys are invested in. And both Chrysler and General Motors would likely be out of business with a million Americans out of work if the government had taken Romney’s advice.
These lies about the auto industry go along with a series of commercials since the last debate that all include debunked lies, an attempt by a campaign surrogate to lie about Romney’s stand on abortion and the return of the nastiest lie of the campaign about Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, AKA “welfare reform.”
This summer Romney falsely accused the president of “taking the work out of welfare” by granting a waiver that Republican governors had asked for, despite the claim being rejected by every fact-checker who looked at it and the president who signed welfare reform into law, Bill Clinton. The commercial was effective before the convention when nothing much was working for Romney, but it soon disappeared from the air.
Romney has now resumed his welfare reform attack in in an unannounced commercial.
Why is Romney flailing in dishonesty at this point, as his campaign is trying to pretend he’s winning? Simply, he needs Ohio to win and the only poll that has ever had him up in the state is Rasmussen Reports, which had McCain and Obama tied in 2000 before the president won the state easily.
Three polls in the last two days have shown the president leading in Ohio — two put the lead at a nearly insurmountable 5 points.
What’s hurting Romney in the Buckeye State is the issue at the heart of some of his biggest lies — the auto rescue. A recent poll showed the president leading by 14 percent in northwest Ohio, an auto manufacturing hub.
The white working-class males that are making Romney competitive in national polls are turning to the president in the one state that counts the most. To win them back, Romney is going all in on trying to muddy the waters on the auto rescue and stirring racial resentment with the welfare attack.
Are there consequences to this beyond being fact-checked by two of the largest employers in the state of Ohio?
Romney must feel the rewards outweigh the benefits — or perhaps he’s just out of options. The GOP nominee hasn’t taken a question from a reporter in weeks and doesn’t have one interview scheduled. It appears his plan is to throw all the lies on deck before they go down with the ship.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak