Guy Benson

If you're new to this story, read these three posts -- preferably in order -- to get caught up.  Team Obama turned up the heat on the entire controversy yesterday afternoon when Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter told reporters that Mitt Romney is either a liar or a felon, wielding the Boston Globe's non-scoop as "new" evidence on Romney's tenure at Bain:
 

Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony. Or," she said, "he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments,” including layoffs and the outsourcing of jobs.


"Felony" is a very serious word to raise in the context of a presidential campaign.  Romney's campaign manager Matt Rhoades promptly unloaded on Cutter:
 

"President Obama's campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign," Rhoades said. "President Obama ought to apologize for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds. Campaigns are supposed to be hard fought, but statements like those made by Stephanie Cutter belittle the process and the candidate on whose behalf she works." 


On what grounds did Rhoades assert that Cutter's accusation was "reckless and unsubstantiated"?  On the grounds of every single shred of evidence on the issue, according to every independent fact-checker that has analyzed the matter.  The Obama campaign is manufacturing new slanderous fictions to try to justify the lies presently airing nationwide in their barrage of negative attack ads.  As I wrote yesterday, the Washington Post and CNN Money both published meticulous refutations of Chicago's latest mendacity.  FactCheck.org has circled back and issued yet another memo, entitled "new evidence, same conclusion," debunking and scolding the Obama campaign on this point:
 
New reporting cites strong evidence that Mitt Romney wasn’t actively managing Bain Capital while he was running the Olympics, despite what the Obama campaign (and some news reports) would have voters believe...we see little new in any of these SEC filings, and a University of Pennsylvania Law School professor we spoke to sees no basis for the Obama campaign’s claim that Romney committed a felony. None of the SEC filings show that Romney was anything but a passive, absentee owner during that time, as both Romney and Bain have long said. It should not surprise anyone that Romney retained certain titles while he was working out the final disposition of his ownership, for example. We see nothing to contradict the statement that a Bain spokesman issued in response to the Globe article. We would reassess our judgment should somebody come up with evidence that Romney took part in specific management decisions or had any active role (not just a title) at Bain after he left to head the Olympics. But nothing we’ve seen directly contradicts Romney’s statements — which he has certified as true under pain of federal prosecution — that he “has not had any active role” with Bain or “been involved in the operations” of Bain since then.

FactCheck.org even takes the unusual step of citing other fact-checking entities that concur with its numerous rulings in Romney's favors:
 

Fortune’s Dan Primack — who covers Wall Street “deals and dealmakers” — addressed the Mother Jones reporting in a July 2 article that came to the same conclusion we do. Primack’s more recent reporting we’ve already noted.

The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, rebutted the Boston Globe story in a July 12 piece. “Just because you are listed as an owner of shares does not mean you have a managerial role,” Kessler writes. We agree.

Before the Globe story broke, the Columbia Journalism Review’s Brendan Nyhan stated: “[T]he specific cases cited by the Obama campaign largely concern actions taken by those companies during a period in which Romney was not making operational decisions at the firm. Journalists must be clear about this distinction.” After the Globe story, CJR’s Greg Marx wrote “there’s less new in the Globe article than the attention it has drawn suggests.”

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reported July 12, after the Globe‘s story appeared: “Team Obama does not provide any specific evidence to back up claims that Romney was actively managing Bain between 1999 and 2002.”


And yet Team Obama is refusing to back down, piling lie upon lie as it continues a scorched-earth character assassination campaign against Mitt Romney.  Eleven months ago, Democrats telegraphed their "kill Romney" strategy.  They're executing it right now.  The truth is that they don't care how many independent, non-partisan organizations demonstrate their accusations and smears to be totally false -- they're going to repeat them endlessly until they stick.  Our "post-partisan" healer is presiding over the  epitome of a dishonorable, ends-justify-the-means campaign.  While the media has engaged in a little bit of tut-tutting, most outlets are glossing over the story.  Politico's take is particularly egregious.  Note the bolded portion:
 

On the facts, nothing terribly new was added to the Bain equation by the Boston Globe story charging that Mitt Romney controlled the company for three years longer than he previously claimed. Several fact-checking organizations said the charges aren’t exactly breaking news and Romney’s denials have some validity. The problem for the Romney campaign, when it comes to the Bain issue, is that things are reaching the point where the facts don’t really matter. The bigger problem is that the Bain cloud now hanging over the former Massachusetts governor is growing daily, and the Romney campaign still hasn’t found a compelling way to respond to what’s becoming the driving narrative, fairly or unfairly, of the 2012 campaign.


See how this works?  First, the Obama campaign invents a total lie about Romney.  Next, they repeat it on a loop, plugging the claims into millions of dollars' worth of ads.  Later, when they're called out with the facts, they plow ahead and double down, invoking the ominous "felony" word for good measure.  Finally, when they're again rebuked with the facts, Politico decides that the facts themselves no longer "really matter" because of the "cloud" hanging over Romney.  Interestingly, the cloud isn't hanging over the people pushing the lies, but rather their target.  Mitt's problem, you see, is that he hasn't found a "compelling way" to respond to the "driving narrative" of the campaign.  Would Politico recommend that Romney start making wild, damaging, untrue accusations against Obama?  Hell, he could even make ads about them, provide no compelling substantiation, then double down when challenged.  I'm sure the media would be writing thumb-sucking pieces on the irrelevance of hard facts, right?  I'm equally sure that suggesting that Obama is a "felon" with zero basis wouldn't raise any hackles or furious cries of racism from the press -- right?  For what it's worth, here's Team Mitt's latest pushback ad, juxtaposing Obama's disingenuous anti-negativity rhetoric from 2008 with his vicious 2012 approach.  Hey, when you cannot run on your pathetic record of failure, some lofty phony "principles" just have to get the heave-ho:



 

It's like he's explicitly denouncing himself four years in advance.  'Hope and Change' was a total fraud.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography