I’ll give Willard Romney a tiny bit of credit this time, because he didn’t lie quite as much in the third debate as he did in the first two. Of course, the lies he told were generally new ones, since he hadn’t been asked much about foreign policy, and he seems to be cowering a bit on Libya and didn’t try to exploit that last night, too much.
And there were some really smelly lies in that debate punch bowl, and they need to be debunked. And I’m just the guy to do it, so here goes...
Romney claimed that he never called Russia our our biggest geopolitical foe, and that he called Iran our biggest threat.
Romney did call Russia that, and he didn't really say Iran was a bigger threat. So, that's kind of two lies for the price of one.
As most of you know, in March President Obama was caught on a hot microphone telling Russian President Medvedev that he'd have more flexibility to negotiate missile defense after his reelection. A few days later, Romney was on CNN, complaining that Obama seemed too willing to negotiate with the Russians, and that he was keeping secrets from the American people. Seriously, the Republican presidential candidate seems to think Russia is still the Soviet Union, and that Putin is Kruschev. Now, I wouldn't exactly trust Putin on everything, but the Russians aren't exactly out to destroy the United States, as in the old days.
As a part of that interview, Romney said:
"This is without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe. They fight for every cause for the world's worst actors. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed." (Source)
Blitzer then asked Romney if he thought Russia was a "bigger foe" than Iran, China or North Korea. Romney responded,
"I'm saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent, the nation that lines up with the world's worst actors. Of course the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran, and a nuclear North Korea is already troubling enough. But when these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the United Nations looking for ways to stop them ... who is it that always stands up with the world's worst actors? It's always Russia, typically with China alongside. And so in terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that's on the Security Council that has the heft of the Security Council, and is of course is a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe."
So, essentially, what Romney actually said was that Russia was out biggest enemy, along with China, but that a hypothetical Iran would be our greatest threat, if it existed
I would also note that, as the President noted in the debate, the Russians were persuaded to go along with sanctions against Iran. You know, because they’re such an “enemy” of the United States.
This holdover Cold War mentality is certainly not needed in our foreign policy.
“[W]hen the students took to the streets in Tehran and the people there protested, the Green Revolution occurred, for the president to be silent I thought was an enormous mistake.”
“Then when there were dissidents in the streets of Tehran, a Green Revolution, holding signs saying, is America with us, the president was silent. I think they noticed that as well.”
I don’t think they noticed that, because the president wasn’t silent after the Green Revolution. He made the following statement on June 20, 2009:
The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness. (Source)
The fact that Romney didn’t bother to pay attention doesn’t mean the President was silent. And I was able to look this up in about 30 seconds. Romney's team apparently hasn't learned to "Google."
“And then the president began what I have called an apology tour, of going to various nations in the Middle East and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness.”
“[T]he 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.”
This “apology tour” talking point has some legs, especially given the number of times it’s been debunked. Hell; Politifact has debunked this one twice, with the first one happening back in 2010, when Romney published his book, “No Apology.” (Source) And Romney was still repeating this garbage in August, when Politifact smacked him again, this time giving him a “Pants on Fire” rating, meaning a really BIG lie. (Source) But Politifact isn’t the only news organization that has outed the claim as a lie. So have CNN, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, although the LA Times waited until the end of their piece to note that the statement was false.
By the way, the RNC loves this lie so much, they’ve already incorporated footage of Romney telling the lie at the debate into a new ad. This is why no one who thinks highly of the truth should vote for a Republican at this point in time. They willingly lie to you, if they think they can get someone to vote based on it.
“While I was governor, I was proud that our fourth graders came out number one of all 50 states in English, and then also in math. And our eighth graders number one in English and also in math. First time one state had been number one in all four measures.
“How did we do that? Well, Republicans and Democrats came together on a bipartisan basis to put in place education principles that focused on having great teachers in the classroom.
“(…) And that was -- that was -- that was what allowed us to become the number one state in the nation.
“The first -- the first -- the first -- and we kept our schools number one in the nation. They're still number one today. … And the principles that we put in place, we also gave kids not just a graduation exam that determined whether they were up to the skills needed to -- to be able compete, but also if they graduated the quarter of their class, they got a four-year tuition- free ride at any Massachusetts public institution of higher learning.”
Well… Let’s just say Willard likes to exaggerate his record in Massachusetts, and the greatest exaggerations seem to be on education.
While those students who scored well got free tuition at state schools, they had to pay fees, which account for 80% of school costs. As a result, more than three-quarters of all students who qualified for those scholarships went to school out of state. And those fees rose significantly while Romney was governor, as well.
Meanwhile, while Romney was governor, the state’s per capita education funding decreased nearly 15%, whichput him at 47th nationally.
Romney should get some credit for holding out for higher testing standards, but the fact of the matter is, Massachusetts schools were already scoring at or near the top long before Romney became governor. And his advocacy against bilingual education actually probably cost the state a few points, as did his constant attacks against the teachers unions. In fact, it is Romney’s advocacy against bilingual education that probably led to the Department of Justice citing the state for “violating federal law by poorly implementing English immersion and not mandating teacher training to help students overcome language barriers.”
The Boston Globe did a brilliant piece back in July, detailing Willard’s actual education record. I encourage everyone to read it.