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AP’s Latest Fact Free ‘Fact Check’ Of Romney

From the always reliable Associated Press:

FACT CHECK: Flunking geography, history

By CALVIN WOODWARD | Tues October 23, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — … A look at some of their statements and how they compare with the facts:

This piece does gently touch on some of Mr. Obama’s misstatements. But we will just concentrate on their ‘fact checking’ of Mitt Romney’s remarks.

ROMNEY: "Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations, and on Arabic TV, you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations."

OBAMA: "Nothing Gov. Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing. This has been probably the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign. And every fact checker and every reporter who’s looked at it, governor, has said this is not true."

THE FACTS: Romney has indeed repeatedly and wrongly accused the president of traveling the world early in his presidency and apologizing for U.S. behavior. Obama didn’t say "sorry" in those travels. But in this debate, Romney at last explained the context of his accusation: not that Obama apologized literally, but that he had been too deferential in his visits to Europe, Latin America and the Muslim world.

Obama said while abroad that the U.S. acted "contrary to our traditions and ideals" in its treatment of terrorist suspects, that "America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy," that the U.S. "certainly shares blame" for international economic turmoil and has sometimes "shown arrogance and been dismissive, even divisive" toward Europe. Yet he also praised America and its ideals…

The Heritage Foundation has a list of Obama’s top ten apologies. And even that is not exhaustive.

Mr. Romney specifically cited Obama telling the French in 2009, that, and we quote: "In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." — It is an indisputable fact that Obama said this and all of the other things Heritage and others have listed.

The AP, as well as the rest of Mr. Obama’s news media apologists basically claim Obama has never technically apologized because he has never used the word ‘sorry.’ Which is simply pathetic.

ROMNEY: "Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea."

THE FACTS: Iran has a large southern coastline with access to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. And it has no land border with Syria.

This is simply childish. Clearly, Mr. Romney was referring to the Mediterranean Sea, as he has in other comments about Syria. And by having access to the Mediterranean, Iran has access to Israel.

ROMNEY: "I said that we would provide guarantees, and that was what was able to allow these (auto) companies to go through bankruptcy, to come out of bankruptcy. Under no circumstance would I do anything other than to help this industry get on its feet. And the idea that has been suggested that I would liquidate the industry. Of course not. That’s the height of silliness. I have never said I would liquidate the industry."

OBAMA: "Gov. Romney, you keep on trying to airbrush history here. You were very clear that you would not provide government assistance to the U.S. auto companies, even if they went through bankruptcy. You said that they could get it in the private marketplace. That wasn’t true. They would have gone through a liquidation."

THE FACTS: It’s true that Romney didn’t preach liquidation of GM and Chrysler and that he saw his approach as a way to save the auto companies. But his was an improbable course. Opposing a government bailout, Romney instead favored private loans to finance the automakers’ restructuring in bankruptcy court.

How is this "improbable"? It’s the way every other company has gone through bankruptcy. Including most US airlines.

His proposed government loan guarantees would only have come after the companies went through bankruptcy. At the time, however, both automakers were nearly out of cash and were bad credit risks. The banking system was in crisis and private money wasn’t available. So without hefty government aid, the assets of both companies probably would have been sold in liquidation auctions.

Note that Obama flat out lied when he said: "You were very clear that you would not provide government assistance to the U.S. auto companies, even if they went through bankruptcy."

In fact, in the very New York Times editorial that the news media so love to cite, Romney specifically called for government assistance: "The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk."

But the AP sidesteps this those inconvenient facts by saying these loans would only come after bankruptcy. And the AP goes on to claim that they would never have been gotten any financing from the banks. Which is preposterous if the US government would have guaranteed the financing. Any bank would have jumped at the chance.

But the AP is not interested in facts here. They are simply making stuff up.

ROMNEY: "We have an enormous trade imbalance with China, and it’s worse this year than last year and it’s worse last year than the year before."

THE FACTS: That’s true as far as it goes but the imbalance is far from unique to the Obama years. The U.S. has run a trade deficit with China since 1985 and the gap has widened nearly every year since. According to Chinese customs data, Beijing reported a $181.3 billion trade surplus with the United States in 2010. That grew to $202.3 billion last year. The surplus for the first nine months of this year was $161.9 billion, well ahead of the level at this point in 2011.

So what Romney said is exactly true. So why is it listed here as if he is being corrected? Because we have had trade deficits with China in other years?

ROMNEY: "In the 2000 debates, there was no mention of terrorism."

THE FACTS: There was passing mention of terrorism in the 2000 debates. In the Oct. 17, 2000, debate between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush, Gore talked about his work in Congress to "deal with the problems of terrorism and these new weapons of mass destruction." And in the vice presidential debate, Democrat Joe Lieberman defended the Clinton administration’s record of preparing the armed forces to "meet the threats of the new generation of tomorrow, of weapons of mass destruction, of ballistic missiles, terrorism, cyber warfare." Romney’s larger point, that the U.S. did not anticipate anything on the scale of terrorist threat that existed, is supported by the light attention paid to the subject in the debates.

So, once again, Romney was correct. During the 2000 debates there was no significant mention of terrorism. It was never an issue during that campaign. The word terrorism only came up as part of standard boilerplate along with ‘weapons of mass destruction.’

But the AP tries to make it sound like he was wrong. And, of course, the AP entirely ignores Romney’s point, which is we do not always know what challenges our military are going to have to face years down the road.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

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