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The Only Big Idea Coming Out Of The Romney-Ryan Camp Is the Big Lie

By Michael Tomasky

The addition of Paul Ryan was supposed to infuse the Romney campaign with big ideas that would be argued in big debates with the Democrats, but so far, Michael Tomasky writes, all the GOP campaign has done is grossly distort the truth.
When Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate, we were told we were going to get the Big Debate on the Big Questions we’ve all been waiting for. Well, so far, it isn’t quite working out that way. The distinguishing fact of the Romney-Ryan campaign thus far is the extent to which it is built on outright lies in a desperate attempt to avoid honest debate at all costs. The Romney-Ryan strategy is the farthest thing in the world from a Big Debate. Instead, they muddy the waters as much as possible and lie as much as possible, and hope the press doesn’t call them on it and hope voters buy it.
The most blatant lie about Obama concerns the welfare rule change, which the Romney campaign is still pushing in a new ad. The Romney ad campaign says exactly the opposite of what the new rule stipulates. PolitiFact called the first Romney ad “Pants on Fire,” and Glenn Kessler gave it four Pinocchios. But now here they come with a second ad saying that Obama “ended the work requirement.” Plainly and provably not true.
This is not normal. Normal is to stretch the truth. The Obama campaign stretches the truth in trying to connect Romney more directly than it should to Bain-related layoffs that happened after 2002. That’s your basic reach, and the campaign has been called on it. But it’s not a total lie. There is some little grain of truth there, that “Mitt Romney’s company” oversaw such-and-such layoffs, as there usually is in attack ads, even the most vicious ones. The Willie Horton ads were, after all, true. Racist, but true. But the Romney welfare ads have no grain of truth at all.
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Newsweek/Daily Beast special correspondent Michael Tomasky is also editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Follow Michael Tomasky on Twitter at @mtomasky.

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