Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- It should be clear by now that Barack Obama is running his shaky presidential campaign in 3-D: dishonesty, deception and distraction.

It is an age-old re-election strategy that tries to get the voters focused on tangential matters that are irrelevant to the larger issues that still plague our country -- like severe unemployment that has turned the lives of tens of millions of Americans into a desperate struggle for survival; weak economic growth that has shrunk middle class and small business incomes; and four straight years of trillion dollar budget deficits that now threaten America's solvency and future prosperity.

Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool some of the people all the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

President Obama is hoping that he can fool just enough of the people into giving him another four-year term, even though he's failed to fulfill his 2008 campaign promises to put the country back to work, boost middle class incomes and cut the deficit in half in his first term.

Instead, he is running a duplicitous, negative campaign against Mitt Romney, while ignoring all of the problems he has failed to fix and that still plague our country.

Let's start with dishonesty and deception. Obama is running vicious ads attacking Romney, charging that his investment firm, Bain Capital, made business deals that went sour and outsourced jobs around the world. Several respected fact checking groups and newspaper journalists have found these allegations to be false.

"The Obama campaign failed to make its case. On just about every level, this ad is misleading, unfair and untrue, from the use of 'corporate raider' to its examples of alleged outsourcing. Simply repeating the same debunked claims won't make them any more correct," said Washington Post "Fact Checker" Glenn Kessler. He awarded the Obama ad "Four Pinocchios," the worst score he can give to a false ad or claim.

Kessler returned to the Obama attack ad on Sunday in response to a warmed-over Boston Globe story that used documents he and other papers examined months ago. "[W]e did not see much new in the Globe article," he said.

His conclusion: "We are standing with our assessment that Romney essentially left Bain in 1999, as did our colleagues at FactCheck.org," a separate truth-finding web site also known for its integrity.

The year 1999 is quite important because that's when Romney left his company to rescue and run the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The alleged outsourcing business investments by Bain occurred after Romney had stepped down from his company's day-to-day operations.

When fact checking showed that Romney was across the country devoting fulltime to lifting the Olympic Games out of impending bankruptcy, Obama's attack squad came up with a new charge. He was still listed on Securities and Exchange Commission filings as chief executive officer and president of Bain.

In a further sign of the president's desperate attempts to smear Romney's clean reputation, an Obama campaign official charged that giving false information to the SEC was a felony, suggesting he may face criminal charges.

But Glenn Kessler checked with securities-law experts who told him "that the titles are basically meaningless, that someone can be listed as a chief executive and have no responsibilities whatsoever."

Romney had merely taken a leave of absence from his firm to help his country run the Olympic games, refusing any salary for his work that consumed all of his time.

Another desperate attack ad has been running in half a dozen critical battleground states that attacks Romney's jobs record while he was governor of Massachusetts in the years 2003 to 2007. But the Obama ad selectively deals with "job growth" at a time when the nation's economy was still climbing out of the tech bubble recession that had hit the state hard.

What the demagogic Obama ad doesn't mention is that when Romney finished his four-year term as governor, the Massachusetts unemployment rate was a low 4.6 percent.

But the core of Obama's campaign strategy is based on distraction pure and simple. Drum up bogus charges on borderline issues that the national news media will trumpet -- without questioning their veracity -- in order distract the voters' attention away from Obama's failed policies on the economy.

In a speech at the Cincinnati Music Hall on Monday, the president cited a new study that said Romney's position against taxing overseas company profits (since they pay taxes to the host country) would create 800,000 jobs abroad.

It turns out the study in Tax Notes, which bills itself as non- partisan, was written by a professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon., whose campaign contributions went exclusively to Obama and Democrats.

Are Obama's tactics working? Not according to all of the independent election polls which show the two candidates are in a virtual dead heat.

Still, the Romney campaign is coming under growing criticism from Republican leaders for not responding more quickly and aggressively to the campaign attacks. And it has begun to do that in the past week or so.

Certainly, there is a rich field of issues on which Obama is vulnerable to legitimate criticism. Does he really want to talk about job creation? Romney has a proven record of a successful career investing capital in start-up businesses that became major employers, creating tens of thousands of jobs across the country. This guy knows how to do that.

Obama, on the other has sunk at least $40 billion into green technology firms, many of whom had connections to his biggest campaign contributors. A growing number, like the California-based Solyndra solar panel company, have declared bankruptcy, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for billions in bad loans.

Obama went around the country touting these deals as job creators, but with relatively little to show for it. "Some of these firms don't employ as many people as you might hope," said administration economist Jared Bernstein who helped implement the program.

Maybe the SEC ought to look into these questionable deals, too.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.