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John Thune
Sen. John Thune (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

After protesters interrupted one of Mitt Romney's campaign events, Scott Keyes of Think Progress asked South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who has endorsed Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential primary, about the protest:

Keyes: Do you think there is any merit, they’re charging that he’s of the corporate 1 percent?

THUNE: No. I think that this is somebody, if I’m somebody in this country who is worried about my job or is looking for a job, I want somebody out there who knows how to create jobs. [...] Obviously tonight these are people who are going to protest, that’s fine. That’s a democracy, we welcome that. I thought he handled it well.

There are three possibilities here. One is that Thune didn't listen to the question beyond "do you think there is any merit" and just trotted out whatever talking point he had been given. The second is that he's ignorant. The third is that Thune is taking lessons in flagrant lying from Mitt Romney, because, if he actually listened and answered that question with "no," then wow.

Romney's campaign message is geared around his history as a businessman, so not only is there no question he's corporate, it's something he's proud of. And 1 percent? If you deal in anything resembling facts, the only way to answer "no" to the question "is there any merit to calling Mitt Romney part of the 1 percent" is to follow "no" with "he's part of the 0.1 percent." As Keyes writes,

The cut-off to be in the top 1 percent of the American income spectrum, according to the New York Times, is an income of $506,553 per year. If Romney were to put his entire $250 million fortune in a typical Nationwide Bank savings account, for instance, at a 0.95 percent rate, the interest alone would put him in the top 0.1 percentile with $2,375,000 per year.

If anything, that understates the case for Romney's place in at the very top of the income scale—Social Security Administration data put the threshold to the top 1 percent quite a bit lower in 2010.

It's just factual that Mitt Romney is corporate and Mitt Romney is (at the top of) the 1 percent. Thune might disagree with protesters about how to interpret those facts, but you can't spin them into anything but facts.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:31 PM PST.

Also republished by Progressive Hippie and Daily Kos.

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