Vote 2012

Romney ad twists Obama’s words and it’s working

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is adding another ad to the great canon of American political advertising that is based on a lie.

This spot running in New Hampshire takes a 2008 clip of Barack Obama as he first ran for the White House and said: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” Sounds like damning stuff in these dire times, doesn’t it?

And if you saw it as a voter you might buy into the Republican narrative and what Romney is selling to New Hampshire voters, which is the idea that Obama is trying to distract people from what really counts: the economy. He’s arguing, in what is his first paid for ad as he tries to build his position as the presumptive republican candidate, that Obama has failed the American people and linking it to this ad that suggests Obama wants to hide his failure away.

Except that when Obama said it he was quoting then Republican candidate John McCain. McCain said it as his candidacy ran into trouble in the last days of the race and he wanted to change the story.

The full Obama quote from that 2008 rally reads differently: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.'”

It is not only a distortion of what Obama said it is an outright falsehood attributing to him words from another man and Romney’s team is getting away with it, according to Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker.

He writes that the mainstream media is not reporting Romney’s ad as a lie, but as a clever political tactic. Misinformation in political advertising is just another weapon in the political kitbag and nothing to shy away from showing low and dirty this 2012 presidential election fight will be:

This is one of those cases where a candidate has put out something that is demonstrably false. If a journalist or writer quoted someone in such an intellectually dishonest way, you would never trust the person’s writing again. And yet this episode is being reported by some as a clever tactic by the Romney camp to spark a debate about the ad’s accuracy that will serve to highlight its overall message that Obama has been a failure. (See, it worked!),” Lizza writes.

Someone has responded with an ad poking fun at Romney using his own words against him.

This is a definite one for the ‘Attack Watch’ site, which the Obama campaign launched a little while back to help supporters ‘Fight Back’.