If nothing else, Mitt Romney seems dedicated to proving that repetition of a lie will make it true. On no point is Romney's tilting against the windmill of truth more comically pathetic than his long-ago debunked claim that President Obama "did not cause this recession, but he made it worse." After a tidal wave of fact-checkers demolished his mythology last summer, Romney on June 30 pretended, "I didn't say that things are worse" before reinstating the falsehood in his stump speech just days later. Now, Mitt has a new twist on his "Obama made it worse" fraud, declaring in light of the improving economic outlook that "It's getting better not because of him, it's in spite of him and what he's done."
Sadly for the myth-maker from Massachusetts, the numbers and the overwhelming consensus of economists - including John McCain's 2008 brain trust - demand Mitt Romney give credit where credit is due.
"I'm sure the president will want to take credit for it, for any improvement. Guess what? He doesn't deserve it."
Two days later during a GOP debate, Romney repackaged his con job this way:
"The president is going to try and take responsibility for things getting better. You know, it's like the rooster taking responsibility for the sunrise. He didn't do it," Romney said. "In fact, what he did was make things harder for America to get going again."
But back on planet Earth where the force of gravity still applies and the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Romney's slander shuold receive the ridicule it rightly deserves.
This summer, Time blasted Romney's accusation that "the recession is deeper because of our President," concluding "that Romney's claim has no credible basis" because "there's no credible economic data showing that Obama has inflamed our economic problems." As Greg Sargent noted on June 27, both the AP and the Washington Post's own fact-checker demolished Romney's talking point on the recession which the NBER declared over in June 2009. Confronted three days later by NBC producer Sue Kroll about the growing economy, modest job gains and surging stock market, Romney simply denied he ever made the charge:
"I didn't say that things are worse...What I said was that economy hasn't turned around."
Nevertheless, just four days later Romney marked Independence Day by returning to his lie. As the New York Times reported:
Speaking at the annual July Fourth parade here on Monday, Mr. Romney told a crowd of supporters and passersby, "the recession is deeper because of our president," adding, "it's seen an anemic recovery because of our president."
Mr. Romney made a similar assertion earlier when reporters had pressed him on the point near the parade staging grounds, after initially seeming to limit his commentary to the president's handling of the recovery, which he said, "has been slower and more painful,'' But then he went ahead and said it, that the president "made the recession worse."
As it turns out, it's not just the tidal wave of reporters and fact-checkers that washed away the mud Mitt Romney hurled at President Obama on the economy. A bevy of economists, including ones who worked for Romney endorser John McCain, long ago concluded that Barack Obama saved the U.S. economy from calamity.