WASHINGTON -- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that Paul Ryan's convention speech was about as accurate as Mitt Romney's campaign has been all along.
During his daily briefing, Carney was asked about some of the misleading assertions Ryan made about Obama's policies in his Wednesday night speech at the Republican National Convention. He responded by quoting Romney pollster Neil Newhouse, who said this week that he isn't "going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”
"I think it's a relevant moment," Carney told reporters. The Romney campaign has released ads and lobbed criticisms at Obama "that have been identified by you uniformly as false. I think that's an important point. I think it's been noted widely."
He added, "Perhaps when the facts aren't on your side, you ignore the facts."
Pressed on the subject later, Carney walked through some of Ryan's specific assertions and said why each one was false.
With regard to Ryan's claims that the $787 billion stimulus package was a waste of spending, Carney said the emergency measure helped to reverse "cataclysmic economic decline" and pointed out that Ryan was among many congressional Republicans who drove up the deficit under the Bush administration.
The White House spokesman also rejected Ryan's claim that it was Obama's fault that the nation's credit rating was downgraded last year.
"We were all here," Carney said of last summer's bipartisan debt negotiations. "The only group of people in Washington who were cheering on the prospect of default, who were gleefully embracing a strategy of holding the full faith and credit of the United States government hostage to a political agenda, were House Republicans."
As for Ryan's criticisms of Obamacare, Carney ran through a list of benefits that people would lose immediately if it were repealed. For starters, he said, prescription drug costs would go up for seniors, young people would be kicked off their parents' insurance plans, and people would lose access to free screenings like mammograms.
"We welcome a debate about what we ought to do to strengthen Medicare and we welcome hard truths about what turning Medicare into a voucher system means for today's seniors and for tomorrow's seniors," he said, referring to Ryan's controversial proposal to partially privatize the government program.
Carney wouldn't say whether he thought Ryan flat-out lied during his speech. He also wouldn't say whether he endorsed a term used by the Associated Press -- "factual shortcuts" -- to describe the way Ryan talked about Obama's policies. Instead, he punted to the wisdom of journalists to decipher truth from lies.
"We agree with assessments by reporters and independent fact-checkers that many of the assertions being made by the Romney campaign are inaccurate about the president's policies," Carney said. "Our focus is on the facts."
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