Romney and Obama: Who is telling the truth?
Now here is the problem:
If you go to Obama’s website, it clearly details his plan and argues why Romney is a horrible choice and explains his poor record as governor of Massachusetts.
If you go to Romney’s website, it clearly details his plan and argues why Obama is a horrible choice and explains his poor record as President.
Some of these reports are conflicting with each other, so who is the liar?
The easiest answer is to say that both are bending the truth, but I will say this—Obama at least has citations when he notes about Romney’s record:
In Romney’s first two years, wages fell by 5%—the steepest in the nation. [Bureau of Labor Statistics Average Annual Pay, Bls.Gov] While the median income nationwide was on the rise, it was dropping in Massachusetts. [Bureau of Labor Statistics Average Annual Pay, Bls.Gov] By the end of Governor Romney’s term, Massachusetts had lost more than 40,000 manufacturing jobs—a rate twice the national average. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 3.18.12; Boston Globe, 7.29.07]
I did not see such citations on Romney’s site when he was pointing out flaws in Obama’s record, which is a problem.
Giving Romney the benefit of the doubt, I went to FactCheck.org and did some research. While the site did confirm both politicians distorting each other’s record, it did note the following…
I first wanted to investigate the claim about unemployment.
The Romney ad claims that as governor of Massachusetts, “Romney had the best jobs record in a decade.”
Obama’s site believes unemployment has not improved under Romney and Romney’s site said the opposite. According to FactCheck.org this is really what is going on:
The ad claims Romney “reduced unemployment to just 4.7 percent.” It’s true, according to unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was 5.6 percent when Romney took office in January 2003, and it was 4.6 percent when he left office in January 2007.
But again, that’s not nearly as impressive when viewed against the nation’s unemployment record at the time. Massachusetts’ unemployment rate was slightly lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.8 percent when Romney took office and was roughly the same as the national rate when he left office.
I’d say that Obama’s site was 90% correct about their argument regarding this. They did note that Romney’s term showed a poor record when compared to the national average (true), but they distorted it by going as far as saying that unemployment was higher than the average when Romney left.
Finally, the ad claims Romney “balanced every budget, without raising taxes.” Massachusetts’ Constitution requires a yearly balanced budget, so the boast isn’t — or shouldn’t be — that Romney balanced the budget every year. Rather, it’s that he did it without raising taxes.
It’s true that Romney never raised personal income taxes as governor. But as we have noted repeatedly, Romney increased government fees by hundreds of millions of dollars, and he also closed loopholes on some corporate taxes (a fact we have noted whenever Romney has claimed he did not raise taxes as governor).
So what is the take-away message here?
Try to look at independent sources before making judgments. A site like FactCheck.org is a “nonpartisan, nonprofit ‘consumer advocate’ for voters” and it will help explain errors in the rhetoric. For example, you can see how both Obama and Romney made errors in the final debate. I would definitely recommend going to both candidate’s websites and then go the issues that matter most to you. Check out both arguments and compare it to the fact-checkers. Otherwise, it turns into who dresses better or who raises the most money.
Of course, women look at their wives, where Ann Romney incessantly talks about women voters (duh) and how great of a man her husband is (uh huh) while Michelle at least talks about how our kids are fat and is trying to prevent them from getting fatter (good luck with that).
Do have suggestions for non-partisan fact-checker sites? Let us know!