If one candidate can lie for a half-hour and then be declared the winner? That’s the question we should all ask ourselves one day after the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado. The consensus among pundits is that Mitt Romney won the debate – and strictly in terms of style – he did win – taking the fight all night to a lethargic President Obama.
But as the Center for American Progress points out this morning – Romney told 27 lies or half-truths in a matter of just 38 minutes on stage last night. Romney lied about his own tax plan – saying that it’s not a $5 trillion tax cut, despite independent analysis of his plan saying it is. He lied about Obamacare – repeating the same debunked myth that the President cut over $700 billion from Medicare. He lied about the President’s Wall Street reform law – saying it designates five banks as too big to fail and deserving of blank check bailouts. There’s no such provision in the law. And he even flirted with the idea of death panels in Obamacare!
Rather than acting like sportscasters this morning and declaring Mitt Romney the winner – the media needs to be doing its job and fact-checking. But ultimately – President Obama did fail last night. He failed at calling out Mitt Romney as an agent of the oligarchs. The President didn’t mention the “47%” comments – he didn’t mention Romney’s ultra-low tax rate and offshore tax havens – he didn’t mention Romney’s career harvesting businesses at Bain.
If the President can’t make the argument that Romney is only looking out for the 1% - then he’s going to lose.