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Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney and U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) wave after Romney introduced Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate during a campaign event at the battleship USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia  August 11, 2012.
Ryan and Romney launch the USS Disinformation
This is as close as the AP is going to get to calling Mitt Romney a liar and race-baiter, but while it doesn't go there, it sure lays out a good case.
MIDLAND, Texas (AP) - Mitt Romney claims he's got a winner with his criticism that President Barack Obama is giving welfare recipients a free ride. Never mind that aspects of his argument against the Democrat are factually inaccurate. [...]

[...] Numerous independent fact-checkers, including The Associated Press, have determined that Romney and his surrogates are distorting the facts. [...]

But that criticism has done little to persuade Romney and his aides to abandon the welfare issue or even tweak its assertions. [...]

It could open Romney up to criticism that he is injecting race into the campaign and seeking to boost support among white, working-class voters by charging that the nation's first black president is offering a free pass to recipients of a program stereotypically associated with poor African-Americans.

Republican strategist Greg Mueller certainly lays out the strategy that way: "It's a huge advantage issue for Romney. [...] It cuts right through, beyond the Republican base, to independents and blue-collar Democrats." In other words, to white, working-class voters whom they want to convince Obama is stealing something from in order to redistribute it to the "welfare queens" and "young bucks." It's a strategy as old as Ronald Reagan's and Richard Nixon's mouldering remains.

There's a reason Romney is going to stick with this strategy, no matter how many fact-checkers and news organizations all but call him a liar. He needs white voters and isn't getting enough of them. From the new NBC/WSJ poll:

Romney is underperforming with white voters. According to the survey, Romney leads Obama among this demographic group by 13 points (53%-40%), but that isn’t much different than McCain’s 12-point edge in 2008 per the exit polls (55%-43%) -- and McCain decisively lost the election. [...] If Romney is going to win in November, he needs to EXPAND those margins. And here’s why: If you assume that whites make up 74% of the electorate like they did in ’08 (and there’s a good argument to make that, because of the Latino growth, it will be less than that), then Obama winning 90%-plus of the black vote, 67% of the Latino vote, and 40% of the white vote gets him past 50%.
The big issues this campaign is boiling down to are, as Markos wrote, sex and Medicare. Romney has a slight advantage with white women—eight points—that is likely to keep shrinking. Ditto Romney's core of support among older whites on Medicare. Romney's VP selection of zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan assured that granny starving is going to be front and center between now and November.

Romney's big hope, his only hope, is angry and fearful working-class whites. And he's going to do his damnedest to make them even angrier and more fearful. He's not going to let a little thing like the truth get in his way.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 08:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges and Daily Kos.

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