Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Context Is Everything

Mitt “Flip-flop” Romney’s campaign has a new advertisement out, quoting President Barack Obama as saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” The problem is, Obama didn’t make that statement. Ever. As a White House candidate back in the fall of 2008, however, he did talk with voters about his Republican rival, John McCain, saying at one point, “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’”

In other words, Romney has attributed McCain’s words to Obama.

When confronted with this misrepresentation of facts, Romney’s people actually tried to defend their actions, telling CBS News: “He did say the words. That’s his voice.”

“This is a truly remarkable response,” writes Greg Sargent in The Washington Post. “The Romney camp is explicitly saying it’s totally fair game to take an opponent’s words out of context in a way that completely changes their meaning, simply because the actual words in question did come out of the speaker’s mouth. As many have noted today, the Romney ad’s decontextualizing of Obama’s words is so egregious that it amounts to a lie. Yet here a Romney adviser is claiming that this is fair game, because he said those words.”

Well, turnabout is fair play in the political arena. So Think Progress today unveiled a new ad of its own, using various Romney statements against the GOP presidential contender. After all, “He did say the words. That’s his voice.” Click on the video below:

Think Progress’ comeback to Flip-flop Mitt’s acknowledged deception is comical. But it’s sad that Romney has already resorted to such crap. It ought to make voters think: If you can’t even trust Mitt as a candidate, how could you ever trust him as president?

READ MORE:‘That’s His Voice,’” by Steve Benen (The Washington Monthly); “Campaign in 100 Seconds: Romney’s Contextual Harassment,” by Michael Lester (TPM); “Gingrich vs. Romney: One’s Too Safe, the Other’s Too Dangerous,” by John Dickerson (Slate); “Why It’s Going to Be a Long Year,” by Steve Benen (The Washington Monthly).

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