You have probably seen Romney and Ryan tout six studies that show that their tax plan works during the debates. I saw it and thought "I bet they are lying". Turns out they are, and Chris Wallace was having none of it, and put Romney Senior Adviser to Ed Gillespie to task.
Video and Transcript below the fold
A bit in the end of the video is cut off, please read the rest in the transcript below.
Gillespie: These are very credible sources, and, you know...Note that when Wallace wasn't buying Gillespie's talking point on partisanship, Gillespie tried to bait and switch and muddle the definitions of partisanship and credibility, but Wallace pounces on it.
Wallace: One of them is from a guy who is – is a blog from a guy who was a top advisor to George W. Bush. So these are hardly nonpartisan studies.
Gillespie: Look, Chris I think if you look at Harvard and AEI [American Enterprise Institute] and other studies are very credible sources for economic analysis
Wallace: You wouldn't say that AEI is a conservative think tank?
Gillespie: I would say it is a right-leaning think tank. That doesn't make it not credible.
Wallace: It doesn't make it nonpartisan.
Gillespie: It does make it nonpartisan. It's not a partisan organization, I can tell you, there are many instances where there have been things AEI came out with and said, I didn't find it to be necessarily to be helpful to the Republican Party.
Wallace: Would you say Brookings Institution is nonpartisan?
Gillespie: I would say the Brookings Institution is left leaning and nonpartisan.
So Gillespie had to switch tack again, and as a consequence, he (speaking for the Romney campaign, by the way) is forced to admit that the Brookings Institution is nonpartisan. Now, liberals can now tout their studies and point to Gillespie's grudging admission!
Also, I love the analogy of the candy and spinach. It's a catchy, subtle reference to their dishonesty and one that we should be using.
Whatever you have to say about Chris Wallace, this is GOOD JOURNALISM. It's like watching a cheetah taking down a helpless gazelle. When Wallace realized that he can't get Gillespie to agree on a particular fact- that the AEI is actually partisan- he pivoted and trapped Gillespie on consistency, forcing him to admit that Brookings is nonpartisan as well. This is what happens when you have intelligent follow-up questions and facts that dismantle their talking points.
If you want more detail on those studies, here is what Huffpo had to say:
The studies have been called into question for weeks now, as only one or two of them are actually academic. The rest are blog posts and op-eds, some written by the same author, others by conservative sources. One study cited was actually paid for by the campaign itself, though the campaign has since replaced that study with another.Also, check out Meteor Blades's diary on the issue (thanks to Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse for pointing it out)
More problematic for Romney is that a number of them reached conclusions that he would find uncomfortable. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, for instance, said that Romney's tax plan could work mathematically if it eliminated deductions and exemptions for individuals making over $100,000 per year. A Princeton study put that figure at $200,000, though the author told Bloomberg News that the figure may need to be brought down to pay for Romney's 20 percent across-the-board reduction in tax rates.
In other words, Romney and Ryan were LYING about the studies. Big surprise. And Chris Wallace, of all people, wasn't about to let them get away with it.
This is the second time that Chris Wallace embarrassed them on the issue. The first was when Wallace interviewed Ryan and exposed the Republican Party's math whiz kid's inability to differentiate between cost and NET cost. It's too good.
I think Chris Wallace woke up one day and realized "damn , these guys might actually run this country again. I gotta do my job as a journalist"
By the way, I love the ambivalence we are showing towards Chris Wallace in the comments! He is such a tease, and it makes me want his punditry even more ;)