Friday, August 31, 2012

9 Things Romney Didn’t Say Last Night #p2 #tcot

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9 Things Romney Didn't Say Last Night

Aug 31, 2012 | By ThinkProgress

Some Serious Omissions

If you were hoping to hear more about Mitt Romney's plan for America, his big acceptance speech last night was a huge disappointment. While Romney had plenty of time to crack jokes about the president and recite several of his well-worn whoppers about the president's record, Romney spent precious few — if any — words discussing some of the country's most pressing problems and even less time explaining how a Romney-Ryan administration would solve them. Here's NINE serious omission from Romney's speech:
– 0 mentions of Financial Reform: Even as millions of Americans struggle with the effects of the Great Recession caused by Wall Street malfeasance and scores of others continue to deal with the fallout of the foreclosure fraud scandal, Romney has said that he will repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, but has yet to detail what, if anything, he would put in its place. — 0 mentions of Climate Change: "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet," Romney said to loud laughter. It's too bad that he and most of the GOP delegates don't believe in the very real threat of global warming.

– 0 mentions of Immigration: "We are a nation of immigrants," Romney said, without explaining how he would help the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Romney has not said if he would rescind Obama's temporary directive permitting young undocumented immigrants to work in the country, though his advisers have suggested that he would.

– 0 mentions of Romneycare: The convention speakers didn't tackle Romney's greatest accomplishment as governor, the enactment of universal health care coverage in Massachusetts. Romney promised to repeal Obamacare, but did not say what he would replace it with.

– 0 mentions of Afghanistan or Syria: Romney did not mention how he planned to address the nation's largest ongoing wars or one of the most important ongoing humanitarian crises on Earth. This may be because the Romney campaign has been unable to meaningfully distinguish its policies from those of the Obama administration on either of these crucial issues.

– 0 mentions of Social Security: Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, has proposed Social Security privatization schemes that would have cost retirees dearly if they had been in place during the financial crisis.

– 0 mentions of Veterans: Unfortunately, this isn't the first time Romney has ignored veterans issues. After he spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last month, veteran advocates said they were "still waiting for Romney to spell out how he would do better than his opponent." "We haven't … heard any specific plans yet from Governor Romney or his campaign," said Bob Wallace, executive director at the Washington office of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, echoing the sentiment of many advocates."

– 1 mention of Medicare: Romney criticized Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare — reductions that are also included in Paul Ryan's budget. But he did not explain his own controversial reforms or mention that the "premium support" plan would force seniors to spend significantly more for health care.

– 1 mention of Housing: Romney did say, "when the realtor told you that to sell your house you'd have to take a big loss" — but that's all. The Federal Reserve bank of New York anticipates that millions of Americans will face foreclosure this year and next, but Romney has yet to release a housing plan, beyond telling homeowners in foreclosure-battered Las Vegas "don't try and stop the foreclosure process," just "let it run its course and hit the bottom."
So much for the campaign of ideas Romney promised when picked Paul Ryan as his vice president.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed

The highlights of last night's Clint Eastwood meltdown at the Republican convention.

Romney staffers are throwing each other under the bus after the Clint Eastwood fiasco.

Ann Romney: "We're used to" passing up multi-million dollar jobs.

What Karl Rove says inside his secret fundraisers.

Even David Koch says the government needs to consider tax increases.

Mitt Romney refers to the United States as a "company."

Chart: Republican presidents' depressing record on wage growth.

RNC delegate offended by "Mexican" at Epcot Center.

Eastwooding is now a thing.

THINKPROGRESS | Center for American Progress Action Fund
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor | Washington, DC 20005

idiots: @gop RNC Delegate Mark Harris Outraged Over a Mexican Working at Epcot #p2 #tcot feel free to let them know at

So as conservatives, they get angry that a Mexican from Mexico is working at Epcot. Because, you know, they're not Amer-i-Kun. And God dammit only true blooded Americans should work at the American part of Epcot. But shouldn't they laud Disney? Because the relentless drive for profit means that Disney, as a good corporate citizen , should seek to drive costs down and, naturally, Mexicans tend to work for minimum wage jobs. Maybe good old American boys and girls would rather work at other parts of the park, or maybe they'd rather work at Universal nearby where I hear the pay is a little better and the management isn't as Draconian as at Disney. They point is, these folks are are idiots. They are closeted bigots , with a small minded world view. Maybe they should boycott Disney and raise awareness as to this heinous act. I am sure like minded idiots like them will all agree, pat each other on the back, call us wetbacks, and continue to live their self absorbed lives while this bullshit political system continues to pit the have's against have nots and we all march towards an end since this same system cannot sustain itself. Please huddle up and congratulate each other for making it to the convention while dopes like Romney continue to push for a system that ravages lives in the name of profit while at the same time double speaks as to how he sympathizes with us as to how hard it is to make it as an American when he benefited from the very system that made him extremely rich. 

You are idiots. Let me say it again. You are idiotas. That is idiots in Spanish.

"While visiting the state of Florida for the RNC in Tampa, Pennsylvania GOP delegate Mark Harris and his wife Irene took a side trip to Disney's Epcot Center, where they were shocked to find a Mexican working in the 'America' section of Epcot, reports

Irene Harris wrote on the couple's blog 'Rock Star GOP – Grassroots Activism Awareness' a post entitled'Offended at Epcot':

Prior to National Republican Convention we visited Disney for three days.  During our time at Epcot we visited the different countries.  It was neat seeing each country and the employees were from that individual country.  Then we visited America . . . one would think you would find American employees.  We were offended to find a person from Mexico working in America.  Mark spoke up and told them he was highly offended after visiting the other countries and seeing employees from that country and then come to America and find a Mexican.  He was very civil but his point was well made.

Snyder County Commissioner Joe Derk told The Daily Item: "The statements made by Mark and Irene Harris are uninformed and highly offensive," said Snyder County Commissioner Joe Derk. "The Harrises' comments show their ignorance as they cast judgment on someone they do not know. They do not speak for our county or party.""

Video: Jon Stewart Fact Checks Errors in Paul Ryan's VP Acceptance Speech


Video: Teacher John Rosi Joins Students in Bullying 13 Year Old

A 13-year-old boy at Kopachuk Middle School in Gig Harbor, Washington was allegedly bullied by his teacher John Rosi and eighth-grade classmates (video below).

The students swung the boy by his arms and legs, wrote on his feet, stuck a traffic cone on his head, gagged him with a sock and taunted him, reports theDaily Mail.

The boy's parents became aware of the bullying, after their son refused to go to school and became withdrawn and suicidal.

They complained to the school administrators and demanded to see the video footage from student cell phones.

The boy's father Randall Kinney told "I was shocked. My wife broke down crying. It was tough to see. Rosi is completely ignorant of the fact that he's got a whole classroom hazing one kid. They classified it as roughhousing. But it's not 14 kids wrestling each other. It's a dozen kids using my son to demonstrate their dominance over him."

Rosi was suspended for 10 days without pay, given training and moved to another school, reports theTacoma News Tribune.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paul Krugman Blasts Paul Ryan Budget Plan: It's 'Flimflam' (VIDEO) #p2 #tcot


thanks for the advice: Gina Rinehart, World's Richest Woman: 'Spend Less Time Drinking And Smoking' And You'll Be Rich #BornIntoMoney

The richest woman in the world has a message for all you normals out there: Becoming rich is as easy as putting down that beer and getting off your ass.

Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart wrotethat there is "no monopoly on becoming a millionaire," in a column in Australian Resources Magazine, according to the AFP.

"If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain," Rinehart wrote. "Do something to make more money yourself -- spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working."

Rinehart has a point, working hard is one way to make a lot of money. Another way is to inherit a boatload of it and turn that wealth into more wealth. Rinehart may be more familiar with the second route. When her father died in 1992, he left the mining mogul $75 million and, yes, she multiplied that sum by 386 over the past 20 years, according to AOL Daily Finance.

It's true that probably happened because Rinehart worked hard. But in the race to become super-rich, it always helps to have a head start. Nearly 70 percent of the sons of top-earning men have worked at their dad's employer, compared to just 40 percent of sons overall, a recent study found.

Rinehart's comments set off a firestorm in Australia, where she holds the title of richest person. The country's Treasurer slammed her column, saying it was "an insult to the millions of Australian workers who go to work and slog it out to feed the kids and pay the bills," according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

But this isn't the first time the billionaire has made known her views on the poor. Shewaxed poetic on the subject in a poem published earlier this year that included the lines "The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife/ And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life/ Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth/ And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth."

The poem, titled "Our Future" was dubbed "the universe's worst poem" by one critic, according to the Guardian.

.@mittromnay we all built that: Mitt Romney Benefited From Government Bailout: Report #p2 #tcot

If you happen to see Mitt Romney talking about his time at Bain Capital, keep this in mind: The government helped him build that.

The question of who built this or that particular business is one of the tentpoles of the entire Republican National Convention, at which Romney will be speaking Thursday night, accepting his party's nomination to run for president.

It's a riff on a mangling of some words President Obama once spoke, which, if edited in a certain way, seem to suggest that Obama thinks people who built businesses didn't really build them -- that Big Government did instead.

The funny thing about this meme is that many of the people saying they did build their businesses in fact got a bit of government help along the way.

And one person who has gotten quite a lot of government help with his business over the years has been Mitt Romney.

The latest example comes from Rolling Stone, which in its Sept. 13 issue tells how the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. ended up footing a bill of at least $10 million in bailing out Bain & Co., the consulting firm that spawned the private-equity firm Bain Capital. The story is based partly on documents the magazine received under the Freedom of Information Act. It will probably get a lot less attention than Matt Taibbi's cover opus on Romney in the same issue, but is no less interesting.

Bain & Co. got into deep financial trouble in the late 1980s, partly because the founding partners of Bain Capital had stripped it of cash and saddled it with debt. But since the personal reputation of Romney was so tied to the fate of the Bain & Co, he jumped back into the company in 1990, after six years as CEO of Bain Capital.

In that time, he refused to let the company simply slip into bankruptcy,RS claims, reportedly inspiring a frustrated Goldman Sachs banker to tell Romney to "go fuck" himself.

Ultimately, Romney managed to convince Bain's creditors to take a steep discount on Bain debt, using a threat to pay Bain executives big bonuses that would have stripped it of the cash it had left, leaving creditors with next to nothing, according toRolling Stone.

One of those creditors was the FDIC, which had taken over a bank that loaned money to Bain. The FDIC ended up collecting about $14 million of the $30 million Bain owed it, according to the magazine. Taxpayers didn't foot the bill for this, FDIC banks did, but RS points out that those costs were in turn probably absorbed by bank customers in the form of higher fees.

If this reed feels a little too thin to beat Romney very aggressively with, then there areplenty of other examples of companies owned by Bain Capital benefiting from government tax credits and subsidies. Bloomberg news detailed several of these back in June, writing:

The public-private agreements, which began in the first decade of Romney's tenure as CEO, show that government played a supporting role in establishing Bain as among the nation's most successful private equity firms and enabling him to accumulate a fortune his campaign says could reach $250 million.

.@RepPaulRyan @gop Paul Ryan stands on a foundation of lies #p2 #tcot may be the "most dishonest convention speech" ever delivered

At a basic level, what bothers me about politicians who lie, especially at a national level, is that the deceptions are insulting. A candidate who knows the truth, but makes a deliberate decision to deceive, is working from the assumption that Americans are suckers.

And last night, Paul Ryan made painfully clear that he thinks we're all profound idiots who'll believe an endless string of lies, so long as they're packaged well and presented with conviction. Jonathan Cohn suggested last night's address may have been the "most dishonest convention speech" ever delivered, and I can't think of a close second.

It was a truly breathtaking display of brazen dishonesty. Paul Ryan looked America in the eye and without a hint a shame, lied to our face.

Ryan lied about President Obama's auto-industry rescue, blaming the administration for a plant closing orchestrated by President Bush. Ryan lied about Medicare, falsely accusing Obama of undermining the system. Ryan lied about the debt downgrade, falsely blaming the president for a downgrade caused by Ryan and congressional Republicans.

Ryan lied about the Simpson-Bowles commission, falsely accusing Obama of walking away from debt reduction, and ignoring the fact that Ryan himself fought to ensure the Simpson-Bowles commission never even released a report. Ryan lied about his plans for the safety net, saying he intends to "protect the weak" when he budget plan intends to gut public investments that benefit the poor.

Ryan lied about the debt, saying Obama "has added more debt than any other president before him," when the truth is, that was George W. Bush -- who added over $5 trillion to the debt thanks in large part to congressional votes cast by Paul Ryan.

Ryan lied about the Recovery Act, calling the stimulus "a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst," when reality shows the exact opposite. Ryan lied about small businesses, accusing Obama of raising their taxes, when he actually cut their taxes.

Paul Ryan, the man the media and Republicans celebrate as a bold truth-teller, told one lie after another, demonstrating a near-pathological disdain for honesty. His speech presented no substantive ideas, no policy solutions, and no bold positions on any key issue, but it included enough falsehoods to choke a fact-checker -- all because he assumes you're a fool and journalists are too incompetent to separate fact from fiction.

Is he right?

.@RepPaulRyan @gop Paul Ryan is a granny-starving liar whose convention speech was filled with lies #p2 #tcot

Paul Ryan's big speech Wednesday night was so filled with lies that there'sdisagreement on which were the five biggest. Definitely his lies about Medicare made the top five. Definitely his claim that President Obama failed to save a Janesville, Wisconsin, GM plant that had actually closed before Obama was inaugurated. But there's so much more to choose from.

On Medicare, Ryan repeated his claims that President Obama raided Medicare to pay for Obamacare, that "An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn't even ask for." In reality, of course, Obama's cuts did not affect Medicare benefits, and Ryan's budget, the cornerstone of his reputation as a serious policy thinker, has the exact same cutsAnd then some. Ryan would weaken Medicare for everyone, even the people whose benefits he says he wouldn't touch, and basically kill it off for people under 55 now.

But there's so much more. Ryan claimed that Obama "created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report.  He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing." In fact, the Simpson-Bowles debt commission never issued an official report—in part because Paul Ryan, who sat on the commission, voted against it because he and his fellow Republicans opposed raising taxes on the rich to increase revenue and reduce the debt.

Chart showing debt contributors
Ryan blamed Obama for "more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined." But seriously? Here's where that deficit came from: Bush tax cuts and Bush wars. Which Paul Ryan voted for.

You could argue that Ryan only lied about the credit rating downgrade by implication, not directly, saying Obama's presidency "began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America." The only way this statement can cling to truth is by parsing the sentence so fine we see that he's not directly saying in so many words that Obama was responsible for this state of affairs, just that it happened during his presidency. But we know that's not what Ryan was saying. He was blaming it on Obama, loud and clear, and that's a lie. The truth—that congressional Republicans brought the United States close to a default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, leading Standard & Poors to downgrade the U.S.—has to do with Obama only in that Republicans brought on that crisis because they hoped it would help them defeat Obama this year. It was a set-up for Paul Ryan to say the words he said last night, and they risked the country's economy for it.

Perhaps the biggest lie Paul Ryan told, though, was about his own intentions and those of Mitt Romney.

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.

@gop Republican Delegates Chant ‘U.S.A.’ At Puerto Rican Party Chairwoman

The Republican reliance on 'identity politics' has come home to roost this week on the floor of their national convention. The first full day of activities has already seen an African-American CNN camerawoman verbally abused and pelted with nuts; now we can add to that this video of delegates chanting 'U.S.A." as the Puerto Rican born chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization took the stage.

Zoraida Fonalledas has been a delegate at every Republican National Convention for 20 years, with an extensive list of achievements and credentials that any true conservative should find admirable. Fonalledas' story would be a best-selling book in Republican circles, if not for its cover; a woman with an accent.

Harper's reporter Jack Hitt gives an eyewitness account:

The RonPaulites, whose furious devotion to a single idea have made them the Ellen Jamesians of the right, were protesting a decision by RNC officials not to seat members of the Maine delegation, which was split between Paul and Romney supporters following rule changes made just prior to the convention. There were energetic shouts of "Aye!" and "Nay!" as a Puerto Rican party functionary—Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization—took her turn at the main-stage lectern. As she began speaking in her accented English, some in the crowd started shouting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"

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@foxnews @RepPaulRyan Fox News' Sally Kohn: Paul Ryan's RNC Speech 'Was Attempt To Set World Record For Blatant Lies' #p2 #tcot

According to Fox News columnist Sally Kohn, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday "was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech."

"On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold," Kohn wrote.

In a surprising move, Fox News joined CNNThe Huffington Postthe Washington Post's Wonkblog, and ThinkProgress in publishing a fact-check of the Republican vice presidential nominee's speech, finding that the speech was full of lies and misleading assertions.

Kohn, who describes herself as a "progressive voice on Fox News," wrote in her Thursday column that though Ryan came off as likable during his speech, his misrepresentations and omissions "caused a much larger problem for himself and his running mate."

In contrast, several Fox News commentators praised Ryan's speech on air after the event, without mentioning his misleading claims, according to Media Matters.

In her column, Kohn called out four lies in Ryan's speech. She critcized Ryan forblaming President Obama for the shutdown of a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wis., that actually was closed during the Bush administration. She also knocked Ryan for pinning the blame for S&P's downgrade of U.S. debt on Obama, when Republicans in Congress helped precipitate the downgrade by threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

"The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan's mouth," Kohn wrote.

FACTS MATTER: The Ultimate Guide To Mitt Romney’s Convention Speech

Politicians from both parties twist facts or spin policy, but Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has had a particularly strained relationship with the truth, repeating false claims with impunity — even after fact checkers, mainstream media organizations, and blogs have all debunked their assertions.

From claiming that "Obama gutted the welfare work requirement" to insisting that his own policies won't deregulate Wall Street, Romney has led a post-truth campaign. A top adviser even admitted earlier this week, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

ThinkProgress has compiled a Viewer's Guide comparing what Romney says with the facts:

Romney On His Tax Plan || Romney On Wall Street || Romney On The Budget
Romney On Bain Capital || Romney On Obamacare || Romney On Medicare
Romney On Women's Health || Romney On Energy || Romney On Global Warming
Romney On The Auto Bailout || Romney On Welfare Reform || Romney On Food Stamps
Romney On Security || Romney On LGBT rights

Romney on His Tax Plan

"The highest income people will continue to pay the largest share of the tax burden and middle-income taxpayers, under my plan… So, we're not going to reduce taxes for high-income people." [CBS, 8/12/2012]

REALITY: Under Romney's plan, someone in the richest 1 percent of Americans would receive a $60,000 tax cut, while someone in the richest 0.1 percent would receive a $264,000 tax cut. Even under the most generous assumptions about the elimination of tax deductions — so assuming Romney eliminates loopholes and deductions in the most progressive way possible — millionaires still receive an $87,000 tax cut, while the middle-class sees their taxes go up. [Tax Policy Center, 2/23/2012; Tax Policy Center, 8/1/2012]

"The people in the middle, the hard-working Americans, are the people who need a break, and that is why I focused my tax cut right there." [GOP debate, 10/11/2011]

REALITY: A Tax Policy Center analysis of Romney plan showed that — even under the most generous assumptions — Romney's plan raises taxes on everyone making less than $200,000. Middle-class families would see their taxes go up by $2,000 per year. [Tax Policy Center, 8/1/2012]

"The U.S. economy's 35 percent corporate tax rate is among the highest in the industrial world, reducing the ability of our nation's businesses to compete in the global economy and to invest and create jobs at home," Romney's website reads. [, 8/16/2012]

REALITY: While America has the second-highest corporate tax rate on paper, once all of the loopholes, credits, and deductions are accounted for, its corporate tax rate is the second-lowest in the developed world. The U.S. raises far less in corporate taxes as a percentage of its economy than other nations, including the UK and Canada. Many of America's most profitable corporations pay literally no taxes. [Citizens for Tax Justice, 6/30/20114/9/2012; Center for American Progress, 6/10/2011

Romney on Wall Street

"Look, no one is talking about deregulating Wall Street." [ThinkProgress, 8/15/2012]

REALITY: Romney has called for the full repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, the first major overhaul of the nation's financial regulatory system since the Great Depression, and while he has supported a "streamlined regulatory framework," the only specific regulations he mentions in his plan are already in Dodd-Frank. His own running mate is certainly talking about deregulating Wall Street: the House GOP budget authored by Ryan dismantles key parts of the law. [ThinkProgress, 8/25/20118/13/20128/15/2012]

"The rate of regulatory burden has increased four-fold since Obama has become president. Four times the amount of regulation coming out per year as in the past. And so businesses say, 'gosh, I'm not sure I want to invest in America.'" [ThinkProgress, 12/12/2011]

REALITY: Obama approved 613 new rules during his first 33 months, 4.7 percent fewer than Bush did in the same timespan. The campaign initially claimed that "the governor misspoke" in levying the charge, but Romney keeps using it. [NPR, 9/9/2011, Bloomberg, 10/25/2011]

.@RepPaulRyan @mittromney @gop Paul Ryan: just a fresh face on a Taliban creed - antediluvian, anti woman, anti immigrant anti gay - Maureen Dowd #p2 #tcot

Note to Paul Ryan: Don't Piss Off Maureen Dowd.

.@RepPaulRyan Paul Ryan’s brazen lies His Republican National Convention speech was stunning for its dishonesty #p2 #tcot @gop

Paul Ryan's brazen liesRepublican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan accepts the nomination as he addresses delegates during the third session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 29, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar)

Paul Ryan gave a feisty anti-Obama speech that will have fact-checkers working for days. His most brazen lie accused President Obama of "raiding" Medicare by taking the exact same $716 billion that Ryan and the House GOP notoriously voted to slash. It was stunning.

But that's not all. He attacked Obama for failing to keep open a Janesville GM plant that closed under Bush in 2008. He hit him for a credit-rating downgrade that S&P essentially blamed on GOP intransigence. He claimed that all taxpayers got from the 2009 stimulus was "more debt," when most got a tax cut (and the stimulus is known to have saved between 1.4 and 3.3 million jobs). He derided the president for walking away from the Simpson Bowles commission deficit-cutting recommendations when Ryan himself, a commission member, voted against those recommendations.

He blamed Obama for a deficit mostly created by programs he himself voted for – from two wars, tax cuts, new Medicare benefits and TARP.

And of course, he riffed on the tired central lie of the GOP convention: that the president said "government gets the credit" for small businesses, not the business owners themselves.

Other than that, it was a great speech.

Interestingly, for all his lies, Ryan didn't repeat the Romney camp's false claim that Obama did away with the welfare system's work requirements. Maybe he ran out of time.

Ryan got off a few good zingers: "College grads shouldn't have to live out their 20s in childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters." He didn't mention that he opposed legislation to keep student loan rates from doubling. His remarks about his childhood were slightly moving. He talked about losing his father at 16, and he called his mother, who went back to school and to work after that, his role model. But he never mentioned the Social Security death benefits that let him go to an out-of-state school. Occasionally he seemed to be going after swing voters, rather than his hard-right base, taking a more in sorrow than anger tone about Obama's failings. Then he'd mix things up with nastiness and lies.

Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz Confront Scott Walker Over Obama Auto Bailout (VIDEO)


Rachel Maddow confronted Wisconsin governor Scott Walker over disputed claims made by Paul Ryan in his speech at the Republican national convention on Wednesday night.

The vice-presidential candidate gave the major speech of the night, and referenced a General Motors plant that he said closed down under President Obama. He has made the claim before, and the plant actually closed down in December 2008 under President Bush.

Maddow asked Walker to address the claim after Ryan's speech. The governor said that there were two rounds of layoffs at the plant, and said that the bailout had not helped the auto industry in Wisconsin.

Maddow was skeptical. "It is surprising to hear you run down the American auto industry at a moment that it really has come back and to see such a bright spot in the economy, you talked as if things haven't worked out in the auto industry since the bailout," she said. "It's a surprise."

Schultz broke in, hitting back at Walker's claims. "It was not Barack Obama's economic policies that closed that GM plant," he insisted. "That plant was closed in December 2008. That's in the Washington Post right now Governor. It has nothing to do with Barack Obama's econimic policy whatsoever. You can't get away from that fact."

Walker said that managed bankruptcy would have been more effective for the plant. Schultz said that Walker could not guarantee the plant would still be operating under that strategy.

Al Sharpton tried to cut in and ask Walker another question. Walker retorted, "If you want to talk over and not let me talk that's fine. Apparently that's what you do a lot of."

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.@RepPaulRyan The Most Dishonest Convention Speech ... Ever? #p2 #tcot @foxnews

You're going to read and hear a lot about Paul Ryan's speech on Wednesday night. And I imagine most of it will be about how Ryan's speech played—with the party loyalists in Tampa, with the television viewers across the country, and eventually with the swing voters who will decide the election.

I'd like to talk, instead, about what Ryan actually said—not because I find Ryan's ideas objectionable, although I do, but because I thought he was so brazenly willing to twist the truth.

At least five times, Ryan misrepresented the facts. And while none of the statements were new, the context was. It's one thing to hear them on a thirty-second television spot or even in a stump speech before a small crowd. It's something else entirely to hear them in prime time address, as a vice presidential nominee is accepting his party's nomination and speaking to the entire country.

Here are the five statements that deserve serious scrutiny:

1) About the GM plant in Janesville.

Ryan's home district includes a shuttered General Motors plant. Here's what happened, according to Ryan:

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: "I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years." That's what he said in 2008.
Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that's how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

It's true: The plant shut down. But it shut down in 2008—before Obama became president. 

By the way, nobody questions that, if not for the Obama Administration's decision to rescue Chrysler and GM, the domestic auto industry would have crumbled. Credible estimates suggested that the rescue saved more than a million jobs. Unemployment inMichigan and Ohio, the two states with the most auto jobs, have declined precipitously.

2) About Medicare.

Ryan attacked Obama for "raiding" Medicare. Again, Ryan has no standing whatsoever to make this attack, because his own budget called for taking the same amount of money from Medicare. Twice. The only difference is that Ryan's budget used those savings to finance Ryan's priorities, which include a massive tax cut that benefits the wealthy disproportionately.

It's true that Romney has pledged to put that money back into Medicare and Ryan now says he would do the same. But the claim is totally implausible given Romney's promise to cap non-defense spending at 16 percent of gross domestic product.

By the way, Obamacare's cut to Medicare was a reduction in what the plan pays hospitals and insurance companies. And the hospitals said they could live with those cuts, because Obamacare was simultaneously giving more people health insurance, alleviating the financial burden of charity care.

What Obamacare did not do is take away benefits. On the contrary, it added benefits, by offering free preventative care and new prescription drug coverage. By repealing Obamacare, Romney and Ryan would take away those benefits—and, by the way, add to Medicare's financial troubles because the program would be back to paying hospitals and insurers the higher rates.

3) About the credit rating downgrade.

Ryan blamed the downgrading of American debt on Obama. But it was the possibility that America would default on its debts that led to the downgrade. And why did that possibility exist? Because Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling, playing chicken not just with the nations' credit rating but the whole economy, unless Obama would cave into their budget demands.

4) About the deficit.

Ryan said "President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him" and proclaimed "We need to stop spending money we don't have." In fact, this decade's big deficits are primarily a product of Bush-era tax cuts and wars. (See graph.) And you know who voted for them? Paul Ryan. 

5) About protecting the weak.

Here's Ryan on the obligations to help those who can't help themselves:

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves. … We can make the safety net safe again.

The rhetoric is stirring—and positively galling. Analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that 62 percent of the cuts in Ryan budget would come from programs that serve low-income people. And that's assuming he keeps the Obamacare Medicare cuts. If he's serious about putting that money back into Medicare, the cuts to these programs would have to be even bigger.

Among the cuts Ryan specified was a massive reduction in Medicaid spending. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Urban Institute, between 14 and 27 million people would lose health insurance from these cuts. That's above and beyond the 15 million or so who are supposed to get Medicaid coverage from the Affordable Care Act but wouldn't because Romney and Ryan have pledged to repeal the law.

I realize conservatives think that transforming Medicaid into a block grant, so that states have more control over how to spend the money, can make the program more efficient. But Medicaid already costs far less than any other insurance program in America. And even to the extent states can find some new efficiencies, the idea that they can find enough to offset such a draconian funding cut is just not credible.

Update: I clarified the passage on Medicare.

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