So Mitt Romney's campaign is up with a new minute-long biographical ad designed to (re)introduce Romney to voters. It's a schmaltzy ad and if it weren't for the fact that it takes enormous liberties with the truth it wouldn't a bad one. But it does take those liberties and here are three of the worst:
The ad opens with Mitt Romney talking about his business background and saying that he knows what it's like to start a business and create jobs and "to wonder whether you're going to be able to make ends meet." If you're the Harvard-educated son of an auto industry CEO who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and has bank accounts in the Caymans, a secretive Bermuda shell corporation, and, until recently, a Swiss bank account, those are words that should never escape your lips. And that's doubly true if you've made millions while firing workers and bankrupting companies.
Amazingly, this isn't the first time Romney has said something like this: Earlier in the campaign he said knew what it was like to be afraid of getting a pink slip. "I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re gonna get fired," Romney said. "There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip."
Next thing you know, he'll say he knows what it's like to be out of work because he is currently unemployed. Oh wait, he already has.
Technically, this claim is accurate, but it doesn't take long to figure out why: In the past decade, Massachusetts has had two governors. Romney was one of them. And the other one was Deval Patrick ... who was governor during the economic collapse of 2007 and 2008, and remains governor to this day. So of course Romney had a better record than Patrick—he didn't have to deal with the financial crisis of 2008 or the aftermath of the Bush presidency.
It is worth noting, however, than over the past two years, Patrick has created more jobs than Romney did during his entire term. (The data is here.) Despite that fact, a much better comparison is to put Romney's job creation record in Massachusetts up against the job creations records of other states while he was governor. But by that metric, Romney ranks 47th in the nation ... so you can see why he chose his ridiculous claim instead.
"I went off to having the chance to run the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002," Romney says. According to Romney, the games were in a financial crisis, but "by the time the games were over, we had about a $100 million that we put into an endowment there for the future of Olympic sport."
First, "about a $100 million" is more than twice the actual amount. As Romney knows, the endowment actually received $40 million. Another $6 million went to building Salt Lake's Olympic Legacy Plaza and $10 million was returned to federal taxpayers. So the bottom line is the surplus was $56 million, a little more than half what Romney had claimed.
Second, and more importantly, Romney really should be giving credit for the surplus to taxpayers, not taking it all for himself. Yes, it sounds nice that he returned $10 million to the federal government, but given that overall federal spending was $1.3 billion, that $10 million amounts to just 0.8 percent of what American taxpayers spent on the 2002 games.
Also worth noting: When controversy about federal spending erupted in the lead up to the games, Romney responded as only Romney can. He started out by rejecting criticism of overspending by calling it "Balderdash!" (Seriously, he did.) But then he also said that if the spending was excessive, it wasn't his fault, because it had been requested by his predecessors. In other words, don't blame Mitt for the Olympics: He was at Bain.
But Mitt didn't merely manage to deny the existence of the problem while simultaneously saying it wasn't his fault—he also managed to pull of the Romney-hedge trifecta by defending the spending which he said didn't exist and wasn't his fault: "These numbers are going up and up," Romney said. "It's a new world, and it's a dangerous world."
And it's still a world full of Mitt Romney's balderdash.