WASHINGTON -- Over the past month, Mitt Romney touted similarities between the fiscal mess he inherited as Massachusetts governor and the current U.S. budget deficit, arguing that he reached bipartisan solutions to his state's problems and would do so again if elected president. His campaign bills the new theme as Romney's "closing argument" for the 2012 race, and presented it at all three presidential debates, in swing-state television ads and on the stump.

"I was elected as a Republican governor in a state with a legislature that was 85 percent Democrat," Romney said last week outside a construction services company in Ames, Iowa. "We were looking at a multi-billion dollar budget gap. But instead of fighting with one another, we came together to solve our problems."

A detailed Huffington Post review of Romney's budget proposals from his first year in office, however, reveals that he advocated deep cuts to programs serving the state's most vulnerable -- even when those cuts had little effect on the state's fiscal position. Romney's aggressive reductions to social programs did not earn support across the aisle. The state legislature ended up overriding more than 115 Romney vetoes in his first year as governor.

"There was no magic in the Romney approach," recalled former Democratic state Rep. Dan Bosley. It was "cut as many social programs as you can." Bosley added: "If we didn't override every one of his vetoes, we overrode most of his vetoes. … There wasn't a bipartisan effort to run government."

Romney targeted many programs that had been historically supported by both parties. He pushed to eliminate or gut more than 20 state programs serving veterans, disadvantaged children, and adults with severe physical disabilities. He also sought to cut money for breast cancer screenings, suicide prevention and programs that assisted the blind and the deaf.

These cuts would have totaled $26.8 million -- 2.2 percent of the $1.2 billion state budget deficit that Romney inherited upon taking office. None of these cuts were necessary for balancing the state's budget. All were overriden by the Democratic state legislature, and the state still closed its budget gap with room to spare.

Since these cuts were never enacted, Romney can technically tout a bipartisan budget record. The legislature eventually approved a budget that eliminated the deficit by closing tax loopholes for corporations, cutting other spending, and raising tolls and licensing fees. But Romney's unimplemented proposals reflect priorities reminiscent of the GOP federal budget proposed by his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which would slash food stamps, health care for poor children, public housing and other aid to the needy.

Some of Romney's proposals never made it to the veto stage. Massachusetts state Rep. Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset) recounted a 2003 hearing of the Public Health Committee, in which the Romney administration was seeking to impose spending caps on various programs, including one providing ventilators to sick people at home.

"I asked the chairman, 'When you cap this service, do they turn off the ventilators?'" Haddad told HuffPost. "So the chairman asks the question. You had to see the faces on the other side of the table. They didn't have an answer. No one had thought that out."

Haddad said that while she had worked comfortably with previous Republican governors, Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift, Romney's inattention to budgetary detail was reflected in his personal relationship with lawmakers.

"You couldn't use the elevator next to his office," Haddad said. "It just sat there unused all day in case he needed to go up or down, because God forbid he should get stuck in there with one of us. It became a joke. You had to find it amusing, because otherwise it was very insulting."

During his first year in office, the state legislature overrode Romney vetoes that would have imposed cuts of $7.5 million for children and young families, $3.8 million in mental health services, $2.8 million for cervical cancer and breast cancer detection and research, $1.1 million in services for people with physical disabilities and $1 million for veterans.

Proponents of these programs said that while they had little impact on the state's overall budget, they were critical for the populations they served, and in many cases saved the state money on health care expenses and other costs.

Rebecca Haag, CEO of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, said Romney successfully slashed services for people living with AIDS/HIV by 23 percent during his time in office. Her organization, which provided housing assistance and transportation to medical appointments, had to stop taking new clients. "We had people coming in the doors looking for housing, but there were long wait lists," Haag said. "They're living in shelters, [under] highway bridges."

At the time, Haag said there were roughly 1,000 new HIV/AIDS cases in the state per year. Without stable housing or reliable transportation, Haag said, there was the risk that residents might stop taking their medicine. "The key to managing your HIV infection is you have to take your drugs exactly when you are supposed to take them," she said. Otherwise, "They end up in the emergency room."

Romney's cuts meant bigger health care costs, Haag said. "When they entered office, they said they would be data-driven," she remembered of Romney's administration. "I actually think he was more ambitious-driven. The data showed the long-term impact of saving lives and health care costs. They took a very short-term view to cut those services."

Romney had pushed for a 33 percent cut to legal aid lawyers who worked to protect employees from wage theft, tenants from unscrupulous landlords, and ensure that domestic violence victims received support in court. When the legislature fended off the cut, Romney vetoed the entire appropriation. For a moment at least, legal aid had zero funding.

"Mitt Romney was the first and only governor to veto the entire legal services budget," said Stefanie Balandis, senior attorney in the housing unit of Greater Boston Legal Services. "There's always been a bipartisan support for the general concept of legal services to the poor."

Balandis said some of her cases included a severally mentally-ill woman being coerced into her own eviction and a 70-something Italian immigrant bricklayer living in uninhabitable conditions. "The idea of being so cavalier about this kind of essential legal service is stunning to me," she said. "It just shows an insensitivity to the basic needs of people living at the margins."

The legislature eventually overrode Romney's veto. Lonnie Powers, the longtime director of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corp., estimated that the cut would have meant turning down 10,000 cases. Romney's attempted cut showed a lack of understanding on the cost savings legal aid attorneys bring the state. Powers noted that these lawyers often prevent residents from ending up homeless, which could further burden state resources.

Powers also said that a big chunk of legal aid's caseload involves representing people who have been denied federal disability benefits. Legal aid attorneys, he said, win 85 percent to 90 percent of those cases. This brings extra revenue into the state.

Romney wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts for services for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. The cuts included reductions in funds for agencies that link disabled adults with jobs, day programs and transportation. "Everyone has young adults in their district who need these services," explained Leo V. Sarkissian, executive director of The Arc Of Massachusetts, which advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. "It was an important social need that everyone recognized."

If the cuts had gone through, a number of the young adults would have ended up institutionalized.

Romney's cuts, Sarkissian said, would have hit middle-class families hardest. Some parents would have had to quit jobs to become full-time caregivers. On top of the cuts, Romney tried to impose fees on the disabled adults. If they utilized transportation services, it would cost $25 per month. If they went to a day program, that was another $25 per month. For a year, the fees would have added up to one month's social security check, Sarkissian said. The legislature nixed the fees and ultimately overrode most of Romney's cuts.

Other efforts inflicted more lasting pain. Romney's failure to maintain mental health services for poor children in Massachusetts landed him in a historic court battle. For nearly all of his tenure in office, Romney aggressively fought a class-action lawsuit seeking to improve services for more than 30,000 of the state's poor children. Romney lost, with a federal judge ordering the governor to end shortcomings in the state system, which was breaking up families and wasting taxpayer money.

"For someone who says he knows how to manage something, he certainly does not know how to manage services for lower-income people," said Steven Schwartz, lead attorney for those who sued the state.

Massachusetts was institutionalizing huge numbers of poor children on Medicaid for emotional issues -- autism, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, for example -- who may have been treated more effectively through in-house care. Instead of receiving regular therapy, children were sent to an institution during severe breakdowns, a policy that bears similarities to Romney's recent suggestion that the uninsured should rely on hospital emergency rooms. But once these children were stable, psychiatric wards were unable to release them, since the state did not offer other treatment. With these wards charging as much as $800 a day, the state's bills were piling up. The scheme Romney attempted to preserve was wasting $70 million a year on these stuck kids.

"It was about breaking up families and removing kids rather than helping families.," Schwartz said. "Kids shouldn't have to choose between treatment and staying in school, or between treatment and living with their mom."

The lawsuit over children's mental health was filed under Gov. Jane Swift, but all of the major legal action happened under Romney. It was Romney, not Swift, who chose to fight the lawsuit rather than settle and adjust the state's programs. In a blistering decision issued in Romney's final year in office, U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor rebuked the Romney administration for failing "the neediest of the needy."

"This is not a close case," Ponsor wrote. "The absence of these long-term services too often leaves ... children with only one option: expensive, clinically unnecessary and damaging confinement in a long-term residential program or hospital, far from home and family." Ponsor called the state's inadequacy "glaring" and "at times shocking in its consequences."

Romney's Overriden Cuts Include:


Legal aid -- $7,564,132
Mental health legal aid -- $501,085
Cervical/breast cancer -- $2,784,551
Turning 22 -- new clients (helping intellectually and physically disabled young adults live independently) $36,500
Holyoke Soldiers' Home long-term care fees -- $579,000
Nurse's aide scholarships -- $250,000
Regional emergency medical services -- $1,246,896
Newborn hearing screening -- $83,060
Suicide prevention -- $125,000
Prostate cancer prevention: -- $1,000,000
Healthy Families (counseling for young parents) -- $6,677,891
Housing Services Program -- $221,925
Medical assistance eligibilty for the blind -- $100,000
Commission for the Blind -- $213,456
Turning 22 services -- $131,240
Veterans' Outreach Centers -- $165,000
Ferguson Industries for the Blind -- $200,000
Community Services for the Blind -- $250,000
Independent living (aid for people with disabilities) -- $220,000
Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing -- $128,235
Early Intervention Services (for children w/ developmental delays) -- $697,132
Turning 22 community services for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities-- $150,155
Community mental health centers -- $3,000,000
Breast cancer detection and research -- $35,678
Chelsea Soldiers' Home -- $250,000
AIDS prevention and treatment -- $150,000

Total: $26,760,936

Source: Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

Also on HuffPost:

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  • My Name Is...

    At a GOP presidential debate last November, Romney followed CNN host Wolf Blitzer's lead, giving his own attempt at an introduction. "I'm Mitt Romney -- and yes Wolf, that's also my first name," the former governor offered. <em>(Video at 1:22 mark)</em> That is entirely, completely, 100 percent, not true. Romney's first name is Willard. Willard Mitt Romney: Male, 65 years old, married, white, businessman-turned-governor-turned-potential-next president of the United States of America. His father, George Romney, a <a href="http://www.vice.com/vice-news/the-mexican-mormon-war-trailer">Mexican-born</a> governor and onetime presidential candidate, named him after J. Willard Marriott, of Marriott hotel fame. His middle name, "Mitt," was apparently an homage to his father's cousin, Milton "Mitt" Romney. So, what Romney really should have said was, "I'm Mitt Romney -- and yes Wolf, that was the nickname of my first cousin once removed."

  • Obama Made Things Worse -- On Purpose

    In announcing his candidacy back in 2011, Romney gave birth to an untruth that has become a focal point of his campaign. "Barack Obama has failed America. When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse," Romney declared. He's since broadened that claim in a number of ways, the falsest of them perhaps <a href="http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/mitt-romney-obama-slowed-recovery-on-purpose" target="_hplink">his suggestion</a> that Obama "knowingly slowed down our recovery" in order to create a climate that would allow for the passage of health care reform. None of this is true. If the point Romney had tried to make was that the economy is still weak, he would have been correct. Instead, he made a false statement in claiming that Obama had worsened the recession. Key economic indicators in areas such as the <a href="http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=z1ebjpgk2654c1_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=country:US&fdim_y=seasonality:S&dl=en&hl=en&q=unemployment+rate+chart" target="_hplink">unemployment rate</a>, <a href="http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=ny_gdp_mktp_kd_zg&idim=country:USA&dl=en&hl=en&q=gross+domestic+product+growth+rate" target="_hplink">GDP growth</a> and the <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=INDEXDJX:DJI" target="_hplink">stock market</a> suggest that the economy has begun to climb out of recession, though more slowly than anyone could have hoped. In fact, when Romney was pressed on these facts in the days following his announcement, he <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/07/01/259102/romney-flip-flops-obama-economy-worse/" target="_hplink">ran from his earlier statement</a>, saying that he "didn't say things are worse." The second part of Romney's deceit comes from his twisted interpretation of <em>The Escape Artists</em>, a book by Noam Scheiber. The magnitude of Romney's untruth regarding Obama's supposed willful undermining of economic recovery is actually quite vast, but here's how New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/06/romney-just-making-stuff-up-now.html" target="_hplink">condensed the key takeaway</a>: <blockquote>First, and most importantly, at no point did anybody in the Obama administration ever believe that passing the Affordable Care Act would "slow down the recovery." Nothing close to that is ever described. Romney presents the book as revealing that Obama believed health-care reform, through its "big gummint" regulations, would harm the recovery, but cackling that he wanted to pass it out of some belief that Americans wouldn't notice mass economic suffering. This bears no relationship to anything the book says.</blockquote> <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/06/romney-just-making-stuff-up-now.html" target="_hplink">Read the rest from Chait for more on Romney's whopper</a>.

  • Mitt's Tax Plan

    "I indicated as I announced my tax plan that the key principles included the following. First, that high-income people would continue to pay the same share of the tax burden that they do today. And second, that there would be a reduction in taxes paid by middle-income taxpayer," Romney said in an <a href="http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/08/15/mitt-romney-interview/" target="_hplink">interview with Fortune Magazine</a>, responding to a criticism of his plan by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. "We are not going reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income individuals, and we're certainly not going to increase the taxes paid by middle-income taxpayers." Romney and his campaign have since made repeated attempts to reinforce their claim that the tax plan will lower the burden on all Americans and still remain deficit neutral, all by eliminating loopholes -- which they've refuse to specify. Well, that sounds nice, but it isn't true. It can't be, and Romney keeps saying it. The math just isn't on his side. At the bare minimum, Romney has said he'd reduce income tax rates by 20 percent, repeal the estate tax and eliminate the alternative minimum tax. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/23/mitt-romney-tax-deductions_n_1824410.html" target="_hplink">Without the details</a> about which tax loopholes and deductions he'd eliminate to pay for it, the Tax Policy Center and a number of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/romney-tax-plan-middle-class_n_1874113.html">other analysts</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/16/mitt-romney-tax-policy-center_n_1792064.html" target="_hplink">have maintained that Romney's blueprint</a> would actually provide a windfall for the richest Americans, while <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/16/mitt-romney-tax-plan-math_n_1972261.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012">shifting some of the burden</a> onto the middle class. From what Romney is saying, there's no way his tax plan would work. Simply saying that it would, without providing any additional detail to back it up, hasn't changed any expert's mind. But that hasn't stopped Romney from continuing to insist that the math makes sense <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/mitt-romney-liar-obama-campaign_n_1949732.html?utm_hp_ref=politics">depending on which budget baseline</a> and reports you look at. It turns out the "six studies" Romney and Paul Ryan have turned to for support on their plan, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/10/03/fact-check-the-tax-fight/">don't actually</a> back them up, at least <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-12/the-final-word-on-mitt-romney-s-tax-plan.html">not in the way</a> they claim.

  • Obamacare, Romneycare And Mandates

    This has always been one of Romney's most glaring vulnerabilities. He's claimed that he didn't support an individual mandate on health insurance and insisted that he never said his plan for Massachusetts' health care reform should be used as a national model. He's also attempted to portray Obamacare as a law that will rob Americans of choice when it comes to choosing their health insurance, and claimed inaccurately at the second presidential debate that Obamacare has increased insurance premiums by $2,500 a year. This is absolutely false. Romney was once an unapologetic supporter of the individual mandate, and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7PG4j2K0dA" target="_hplink">quite</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKN1RC2j92w" target="_hplink">publicly</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTByvLtYIYA" target="_hplink">in fact</a>, at least until his most recent foray into presidential politics. Romney has also attempted to destroy the notion that he believed the Massachusetts model should be replicated nationally. Of course, this becomes difficult when numerous <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090730/column30_st.art.htm" target="_hplink">op-eds</a> and <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/27/video-romney-and-the-mandate/" target="_hplink">interviews</a> emerge showing a Romney who encouraged health care reformers to adopt the individual mandate, which Obamacare has since done, in order to craft a system that can offer affordable health care to a greater number of Americans. Romney also appears to have repeatedly and deliberately misled about details of Obamacare to portray it as a plan that eliminates health insurance choice by design. The Affordable Care Act, implemented through state-regulated exchanges, is designed to give consumers options about which private plans they want for coverage. As The Huffington Post's Jeffrey Young <a href="http://huff.to/TacVOO">points out</a>, Romney's math on the rising costs of health care insurance is wrong. The total average increase of premiums from 2009 through 2012 has been $2,370 -- not the $2,500 a year stated by Romney. The average hike in the employee's share comes to $801 over that period. Health insurance premiums <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/health-care-costs-at-work_n_1872027.html">almost doubled from 2002 to 2012</a> as the cost of health care continues to rise faster than the economy has grown, but <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/health-care-reform-report_n_1590672.html">has slowed in recent years</a>. Read more from Young's report <a href="http://huff.to/TacVOO">here</a>.

  • 'Binders Full Of Women'

    Defending his credentials on women's issues during the second presidential debate, Romney claimed that he'd sought out female candidates to fill his cabinet as governor of Massachusetts. Romney said that, at his direction, a women's group put together "binders full of women" who were qualified for various positions. Romney then boasted about how many of them he'd gone on to hire. Romney's story is a work of fiction. As The Huffington Post's Laura Bassett <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/romney-binders-full-of-women_n_1972425.html" target="_hplink">reports</a>, the situation played out differently: <blockquote>In fact, Romney did not direct women's groups to bring him female candidates, <a href="http://blog.thephoenix.com/BLOGS/talkingpolitics/archive/2012/10/16/mind-the-binder.aspx" target="_hplink">Boston Pheonix reporter David Bernstein points out</a>. A non-partisan collaboration of women’s groups called <a href="http://www.massgap.org/about.htm" target="_hplink">Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP)</a> was responsible for the effort in 2002, when the group's leaders realized that women held only 30 percent of the top appointed positions in the state.</blockquote> MassGAP had independently prepared the binder before they knew who would win the governorship. Furthermore, according to a <a href="http://scholarworks.umb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=cwppp_pubs&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dromney%2520massachusetts%2520appointments%2520governor%2520women%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D10%26ved%3D0CFMQFjAJ%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fscholarworks.umb.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1001%2526context%253Dcwppp_pubs%26ei%3DNwBAUPL1Fsex0QGr_IGwDA%26usg%3DAFQjCNEnkwbQLEwvsYnEJhf2unkYeIYhYw#search=%22romney%20massachusetts%20appointments%20governor%20women%22" target="_hplink">later MassGAP study</a>, Romney may be truthful in touting his 42 percent female-appointment rate during his first two and a half years as governor, but that figure ignores the fact that the number of women in high-level appointed positions actually declined to 27.6 percent during his full tenure.

  • Raiding Medicare

    "There's only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call 'Obamacare,'" Romney <a href="http://thehill.com/video/campaign/243293-romney-defends-ryan-says-obama-robbed-medicare-to-fund-health-reform" target="_hplink">said during an interview</a> on CBS' "60 Minutes." There's not a shred of truth to this. The figure Romney points to is actually a $716 billion cost cut out of Medicare over the next decade. According to a <a href="http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43471-hr6079.pdf" target="_hplink">report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office</a>, Obamacare will effectively save $716 billion, while maintaining the same operations and fulfilling promises to Medicare recipients. Under Obama's plan, these savings would then be reallocated to implement other parts of the Affordable Care Act. Notably, the same savings appear in Rep. Paul Ryan's budget.

  • Dog On A Roof

    Romney once strapped his Irish Setter Seamus and its crate to the roof of the family station wagon during trip to Canada in 1983. The whole bizarre incident has been a huge nuisance for the GOP presidential candidate. Seriously, it even has it's own <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney_dog_incident">Wikipedia page</a>. In his many efforts to explain what happened on that voyage, Romney has told people both that his dog liked "fresh air," and that the crate was, in fact, air tight. It isn't possible for both statements to be accurate. Seamus either liked "fresh air," or was sealed into an air-tight transportation chamber. It was more likely neither, but it certainly can't be both.

  • Welfare Reform

    Romney and his campaign went all in on an all-out falsehood this summer, claiming in interviews and ads that Obama ended a requirement that people on welfare must meet certain work requirements. Despite being called baseless and factually incorrect -- which they are -- Romney has defended the attacks and furthered their use in campaign speeches and anti-Obama attack ads. The Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/romney-obama-welfare-ads_n_1823462.html">breaks down</a> the distinction between fact and fiction: <blockquote>Here is what actually happened: At the request of several states -- including two with Republican governors -- the Obama administration <a href="http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/policy/im-ofa/2012/im201203/im201203.html" target="_hplink">announced in July</a> that it would consider waiving certain federal welfare rules if states have ideas for "demonstration projects" they promise can increase welfare employment outcomes by 20 percent (states are required to maintain certain percentages of welfare beneficiaries in work activities or else face penalties). The administration has not announced that it has issued any waivers. But instead of saying something to the effect that the administration has potentially removed welfare work requirements, or perhaps opened the door for their eventual removal -- even those phrasings would be a big stretch -- the Romney campaign <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/romney-obama-welfare_n_1772151.html" target="_hplink">has been saying</a>, "Obama quietly ended work requirements for welfare."</blockquote>

  • 'You Didn't Build That'

    When Obama uttered the four words, "You didn't build that" at a campaign event over the summer, Republicans worked themselves into a frenzy trying to paint it as proof that Obama is an anti-business president who demonizes entrepreneurship and believes the government is solely responsible for economic success. They even dedicated an entire day to the phrase at the Republican National Convention. Weeks later, DNC planners were no doubt wishing Romney's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/17/mitt-romney-video_n_1829455.html">"47 percent" video</a> had leaked earlier. But unlike that video, the "you didn't build that" campaign was built on an absolute mischaracterization and false premise. Besides the fact that this small segment <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/obama-build-business_n_1699480.html?utm_hp_ref=politics">was cherry-picked out of larger speech</a> to make an argument that Obama wasn't actually trying to make, the numbers don't back up the GOP's assertion. Over the course of his first term, Obama has <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/24/smallbusiness/obama-tax-cuts/">enacted a series</a> of small business tax cuts, incentives and loan programs. Monthly data for small businesses has also shown modest gains in some key areas. <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-26/small-business-job-creation-is-stronger-than-we-think">Bloomberg Businessweek relayed one of those points</a> earlier this year: <blockquote>Job creation at small companies has also been pretty robust when compared with the previous recovery. In the 33 months since the current recovery began, small employers added 2.6 million jobs, a 2.9 percent increase in employment, ADP figures show. By contrast, in the first 33 months of the recovery from the 2001 recession, small employers added 1.8 million jobs, a 2.1 percent increase.</blockquote>

  • Bain Capital Timeline

    Romney says he played no part in executive decision-making related to Bain Capital after 1999, as he left the company to organize the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Romney has steadfastly clung to this unmitigated untruth. There is a wealth of evidence, most of it provided by Romney himself, that would suggest he remained at least somewhat actively involved in Bain's decision-making processes until well after the 1999 date he provided. Reports by the <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2012/07/11/government-documents-indicate-mitt-romney-continued-bain-after-date-when-says-left/IpfKYWjnrsel4pvCFbsUTI/story.html?s_campaign=sm_tw" target="_hplink">Boston Globe</a>, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/romney-bain-abortion-stericycle-sec" target="_hplink">Mother Jones</a> and <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/07/no_romney_didnt_leave_bain_in_1999.php" target="_hplink">Talking Points Memo</a> all pointed to Romney's own filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which listed him as the "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" of Bain, an "executive" who drew a six-figure salary in 2001 and 2002. According to a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/mitt-romney-bain-departure_n_1669006.html" target="_hplink">report</a> from The Huffington Post's Jason Cherkis and Ryan Grim, subsequent testimony from Romney in front of the SEC appeared to corroborate the dates listed on those documents. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/mitt-romney-bain-departure_n_1669006.html" target="_hplink">Read their entire piece for a more in-depth account of Romney's Bain departure.</a>

  • Hands On Our Hearts

    At a campaign stop in February, Romney made his best effort to promote American exceptionalism with a rousing, and entirely false, claim. "We are the only people on the earth that put our hand over our heart during the playing of the national anthem," he said. There is zero truth to this unusual claim. The United States isn't the only country to do this. Not even close. The Washington Post provided an <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/mitt-romneys-misfire-on-the-national-anthem/2012/02/05/gIQA5NLKsQ_blog.html" target="_hplink">anecdotal smattering</a> of additional examples in a subsequent fact check, but Romney is just plain wrong on this one.

  • Auto Bailout

    Romney has claimed he deserves credit for the turnaround of the American auto industry because Obama took his ideas in helping to foster its eventual recovery. "I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet," Romney <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/mitt-romney-auto-industry_n_1498520.html">said in an interview</a> earlier this year. "So, I'll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back." He <a href="http://huff.to/P8EkQk">also tried to walk a similar line</a>, repeating this relentless falsehood at the second presidential debate. Weeks after the 2008 election, Romney penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled "<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html?_r=3">Let Detroit Go Bankrupt</a>." In it, he argued that the proposed bailout for the American automobile industry would prevent it from making the changes it would need to achieve longterm success. The eventual assistance offered to American car companies, first by President George W. Bush and then under Obama, didn't prevent all of them from going bankrupt. Chrysler and GM both filed for bankruptcy in mid-2009, and Romney has used this point to attempt to draw parallels to his stated plan, as well as argue that Obama wasted billions of dollars by not forcing them into bankruptcy earlier. But David Shepardson of the Detroit News <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120909/POLITICS01/209090347#ixzz291nC4mey">points out</a> that there are clear differences between how Obama acted and what Romney had planned: <blockquote>Obama's auto task force used a section under the bankruptcy code to use government money to buy the "good assets" of GM and Chrysler in bankruptcy by outbidding anyone else, allowing the companies to exit in just 40 days. If Romney's course had been adopted, GM and Chrysler could have been in bankruptcy for months or years before exiting -- and would have had much more debt on their balance sheets.</blockquote> Following Obama's action, the auto industry rebounded, and thousands of jobs were saved or created. Economists Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/07/obama-dnc-auto-bailout_n_1865584.html">wrote</a> that this success could not have been achieved without the financial help Romney opposed.

  • Iran Nuclear Policy

    In March, Romney <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/05/romney-to-11-year-old-iran-will-get-nuke-if-obama-re-elected/">crafted an attack on Obama</a> that he's since echoed when criticizing the president on foreign policy: “This is a president who has failed to put in place crippling sanctions against Iran. He’s also failed to communicate that military options are on the table and in fact in our hand, and that it’s unacceptable to America for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” This claim holds no connection to the truth. The Obama administration, together with Congress, has <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/world/middleeast/10sanctions.html">passed measures</a> that impose <a href="http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=279752">tough new sanctions</a> on Iran's energy sector and financial system. Together with key western allies, the U.S. has also passed sanctions through the UN Security Council that target the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the Iranian nuclear program. The U.S. also pressed European Union countries to agree to an oil embargo on Iran that took effect this past summer. Obama has also repeatedly said that it is unacceptable for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. He <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/obama-to-iran-and-israel-as-president-of-the-united-states-i-dont-bluff/253875/">told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic</a>: <blockquote>“I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say."</blockquote>

  • Disenfranchising Veterans

    The Obama administration <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121009/us-early-voting-dispute/">tried to take away</a> early voting rights for veterans in Ohio, Romney has claimed. This is 100 percent false. When Ohio Republicans eliminated early voting on weekends for all except veterans this year, the Obama administration sued to keep the Saturday and Sunday window open for all voters. The Romney camp attempted to spin this as a move to strip veterans of voting privileges, when in fact it was a move by the administration to expand voting opportunities for everyone.

  • AAA Credit Rating

    <a href="http://www.mittromney.com/news/press/2012/08/president-obamas-downgrade-day">Obama is to blame</a> for the nation's AAA credit rating being downgraded, Romney has suggested on a number of instances. But the actual truth tells a much different story here. According to an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thom-hartmann/mainstream-media-ignores-_b_920145.html">analysis from Standard & Poor's</a>, the rating agency that downgraded America's credit rating from AAA to AA+ in the summer of 2011, the decision to downgrade was partially because "the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues." As <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/22/obama-debt-ceiling-talks-boehner_n_907502.html">has been reported</a>, Obama struck a deal to avoid the growing threat of default but was undermined by Tea Party Republicans who backed out of the compromise at the last minute, continuing their game of political brinksmanship. As S&P put it, "The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy." Republican obstructionism played a significant part in the downgrade.

  • Obama's Jobs Plan

    Romney has frequently attempted to claim that Obama has not put forth a jobs plan. At the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Romney said, "And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs." Another unrestrained, truth-free statement. Obama's jobs plan, the <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/08/fact-sheet-american-jobs-act" target="_hplink">American Jobs Act (2011)</a>, was shot down by Congress after he promised that his plan wouldn't add to the deficit. While Obama's legislation hasn't passed, it does, in fact, exist. As for Romney's plan to create "12 million new jobs," Moody Analytics projects that the untouched economy <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/08/30/factchecker-romneys-12-million-job-promise/">would produce something close to that</a> over the next 4 years, regardless of who is in the White House.

  • Obama Apologizes For America

    Over the course of his campaign, Romney has frequently suggested that Obama is guilty of "apologizing for America" instead of standing up for the nation's interests. This is one of Romney's favorite criticisms, and entirely untrue. Fact-checkers and other people with eyes and ears have consistently debunked Romney's claims each time they're made, pointing out that the word "apology" simply doesn't apply to the actions and words Obama has used. PolitiFact <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2012/sep/12/romney-says-us-embassy-statement-was-apology-was-i/">perhaps put it best</a> in the wake of Romney's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/mitt-romney-obama-libya_n_1877406.html?utm_hp_ref=politics&utm_hp_ref=politics">highly criticized decision</a> to use the terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya as an opportunity to criticize the president: <blockquote>This is a theme for Romney: He has long accused Obama of apologizing for America, starting in 2010, when Romney published No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. Since then, he has repeatedly criticized what he has called an "apology tour" by Obama shortly after he took office. PolitiFact has examined those speeches, consulted experts on speechmaking and apologies, and rated Romney's claim Pants on Fire.</blockquote> Obama might have some things he thinks America needs to apologize for, but sorry, he's not saying so.

  • Trade Deals

    On numerous occasions, Romney has claimed that Obama "has not signed one new free-trade agreement" since entering office. That's inarguably false. The president has signed multiple free-trade deals, with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/15/obama-us-colombia-free-trade-agreement_n_1427144.html">Colombia</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/12/panama-trade-deal_n_1007999.html">Panama</a> and <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/obama-gets-win-as-congress-passes-free-trade-agreements/2011/10/12/gIQAGHeFgL_story.html">South Korea</a>. They've all been approved by Congress and signed by Obama. The agreements didn't go over without a hitch. Organized labor forces opposed some of the specifics, but ironically, many of the pro-business, GOP-aligned forces that Romney represents <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/romneys-obama-trade-record-republican-allies_n_1601092.html">hailed their passage</a> as a strong step in the right direction. Romney, on the other hand, has chosen to pretend they don't exist. His campaign claims the statement is strictly true, arguing that the deals are not "new" because they were first negotiated under the Bush administration, and only completed under this administration.