-By Warner Todd Huston
In a piece on “lies” in campaign advertising, on the July 30 episode, CBS Evening News correspondent Nancy Cordes gave Mitt Romney a slap for “taking the President out of context” in his ad about Obama’s July 13 “you didn’t build that” screed. What “proof” did CBS present that Romney lied? Nothing really. Cordes simply stated her opinion and presented it as fact.
The piece started off well enough pointing out that an Obama ad simply lies outright about Romney’s position on exemptions for abortions. The Obama ad claims that Romney would back an abortion law that would ban abortions even for women who were victims of rape and incest and even if the woman’s life were in danger.
CBS News points out that truth detector site Politifact rates this a “pants on fire” claim noting that Romney has repeatedly said that he agrees with exemptions and would not back a 100% ban on abortions in all cases.
Then CBS went on to tell us about a Romney campaign ad that is a lie and, wouldn’t you know it, Cordes picks Romney’s ad highlighting Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line. Cordes says Romney took the President “out of context” when he said Obama attacked the successful and the business sector that day.
It’s far from the first presidential campaign ad to stretch the truth this cycle. Just last week the Romney campaign took president Obama’s comments about government’s role in building infrastructure out of context. Implying he belittled the private sector.
Of course, this is just an opinion, not a fact. One has to bend oneself into a pretzel to construe Obama’s July 13 speech in Roanoke, Virginia as anything other than an attack on the business sector, a slam on the successful, and a speech extolling the virtues of an all-powerful, big government that is the well-spring of all success.
In its first example of campaign ad lies, CBS uses Politifact as its proof that Obama was lying about Romney. So, what proof does CBS point to in order to show that Romney was taking Obama out of context with his “you didn’t build that” speech? Actually Cordes presents no proof at all. She just makes a statement of opinion that Romney took Obama out of context and lets that stand is if it were a fact.
Then she plays a selectively edited segment of Obama’s speech, the “roads and bridges” part, and let’s that stand as if that settles the question.
I think Obama has made the gaffe of the year when he said if you created a business, you didn’t build it. That phrase, “you didn’t build it” should be hung around Obama until the end of his presidency.
I read the totality of the statement and it’s worse if you read it all. Essentially, he has a view that is antithetical to view that the majority of the Americans have, which is that enterprise, initiative, the markets are what drive American wealth and excellence and achievements. Government is parasitic on that and lives off the excess wealth in the form of taxation.
Obama has the view that at the heart of American excellence and achievement is government and not enterprise. And I think what Romney ought to do is take the headline in today’s lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal, “Solyndra versus Staples.” And he has to have a simple slogan, Romney, which is, “Obama and his administration gave you Solyndra, using your money incidentally. I and my colleagues in the free enterprise system gave you Staples with all the jobs and all the wealth and all the accrued wealth it gave to the foundations, the pension and the universities that invested with us in those enterprises.”
The clear context of Obama’s speech was that hard work and success can only be gotten from government. But even if you don’t believe Obama said that it is your opinion that he meant something else.
CBS did the right thing to note that the Obama campaign ad that lied about Romney’s view of abortion was, indeed, a lie. There is clear evidence that says it was a lie. Too bad CBS didn’t have the benefit of any proof that Romney lied about Obama’s “you didn’t build that” attack on Americans successful.