How The Mainstream Media Helped Romney Hide His Extreme Positions

››› ››› MIKE BURNS

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, major media outlets whitewashed many of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's extreme positions, including on abortion, health care, and the situation in the Middle East. In doing so, these outlets aided Romney's efforts to remake himself as a moderate politician.


Boston Globe Whitewashed Romney's Opposition To 2014 U.S. Troop Drawdown From Afghanistan 

Boston Globe Reported That Romney Expressed Support For 2014 Afghanistan Deadline, Without Noting Opposition. In its report on the final presidential debate, The Boston Globe reported that both President Obama and Romney agreed on the 2014 deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, but did not note that Romney had previously been against it: 

On Afghanistan, both candidates agreed that US troops should withdraw, as planned, by the end of 2014. 

"There's no reason why Americans should die when Afghans are perfectly capable of defending their country," Obama said. "After a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building at home." [The Boston Globe, 10/22/12

Romney On October 22: "When I'm President, We'll Make Sure We Bring Our Troops Out By The End Of 2014." During the October 22 presidential debate, Romney spoke about the 2014 Afghanistan deadline as a firm commitment, saying, "When I'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014": 

MR. ROMNEY: Well, we're going to be finished by 2014. And when I'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. The commanders and the generals there are on track to do so. We've seen progress over the past several years. The surge has been successful, and the training program is proceeding at pace. There are now a large number of Afghan security forces, 350,000, that are -- are ready to step in to provide security. And -- and we're going to be able to make that transition by the end of -- of 2014. So our troops'll come home at that point. [The New York Times, 10/22/12] 

In Fact, Romney Was Against 2014 Afghanistan Drawdown Before He Was For It Romney's Position On Afghanistan "A Change." A review of the October 22 debate noted that Romney's comments on Afghanistan were "a change": 

In the past, Romney had said that announcing a specific date for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops was among Obama's "biggest mistakes." He later told ABC News that he also would adhere to "the same time frame the president is speaking of" for turning over responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014, but qualified that by saying withdrawal depended on what military commanders tell him and on circumstances "on the ground." 

This time there were no such qualifiers. Romney said flatly: "[W]e're going to be able to make that transition by the end of -- of 2014. So our troops'll come home at that point." And for the record, both Obama and Romney have left the door open for leaving a residual force of support troops behind, if the Afghans agree. [, 10/23/12

CNN Suggested "Romney's Change Of Heart" Had Something To Do With The Fact That Less Than A Quarter Of Americans Back Afghan War. In noting Romney's new position on Afghanistan, CNN wondered whether it was related to polls that found less than a quarter of Americans support staying in Afghanistan: 

Just two weeks ago in a keynote foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney said of the Afghanistan drawdown, "I'll evaluate conditions on the ground and weigh the best advice of our military commanders. And I will affirm that my duty is not to my political prospects, but to the security of the nation." 

This seemed to leave on the table the prospect of U.S. combat troops remaining in Afghanistan after the scheduled drawdown date at the end of 2014 were Romney to be elected and was one of the few tangible significant differences on national security between the two candidates. 

But during Monday's debate, Romney echoed the Obama position: "When I'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. The commanders and the generals there are on track to do so." 

Romney's change of heart may have something to do with the fact that according to a poll in March, less than a quarter of Americans continued to back the Afghan War. Another poll in the same month found that half of Americans actually favored speeding up the planned 2014 withdrawal. [CNN News, 10/23/12


NY Times Helped Shield Romney From Extreme Position On Abortion 

NY Times Helped Romney Soft-Pedal His Stance On Abortion. A New York Times article reported that Romney "said he had no plans to pursue new laws limiting abortion." The Times was referring to Romney's statement in an interview with The Des Moines Register in which he stated that there's "no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." The Times later updated the article with a statement from his campaign saying that Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life," but also noted: 

Mr. Romney's statement on abortion seemed to conflict with some Republicans in Congress who have sought to further restrict federal financing for abortions, including bills supported by his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan. [The New York Times, 10/9/12

Romney On October 9: "There's No Legislation With Regards To Abortion That I'm Familiar With That Would Become Part Of My Agenda." In an October 9 interview with The Des Moines Register's editorial board, Romney said, "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." [The Des Moines Register, 10/9/12

In Fact, Romney Has Maintained His Vow To Ban All Abortions 

Romney Campaign Website: Romney "Believes That The Right Next Step Is For The Supreme Court To Overturn Roe V. Wade." Romney's campaign website outlines his support for overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a legal right to abortion: 

Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade -- a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges. With Roe overturned, states will be empowered through the democratic process to determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate. [, accessed 10/23/12

Romney: "It Would Be My Preference" To Appoint Supreme Court Justices That Would Reverse Roe V. Wade. In a September interview with NBC's Meet the Press, Romney stated that if elected, his preference would be to appoint Supreme Court justices that would reverse Roe v. Wade

MR. ROMNEY: Well, I don't actually make the decision the Supreme Court makes and so they'll have to make their own decision. But, I will, for instance, I'll reverse the president's decision on using U.S. funds to pay for abortion outside this country. I don't think also the taxpayers here should have to pay for abortion in this country. Those things I think are consistent with my pro-life position. And I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution. And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe v. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue. [NBC, Meet the Press, 9/9/12

Romney: "Do I Believe The Supreme Court Should Overturn Roe V. Wade? Yes, I Do." During a Republican primary debate in January, Romney reiterated his view that "Roe v. Wade was improperly decided," and stated: "Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes, I do." From the debate, moderated by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: 

ROMNEY: I don't believe they decided that correctly. In my view, Roe v. Wade was improperly decided. It was based upon that same principle. And in my view, if we had justices like Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia, and more justices like that, they might well decide to return this issue to states as opposed to saying it's in the federal Constitution. 

And by the way, if the people say it should be in the federal Constitution, then instead of having unelected judges stuff it in there when it's not there, we should allow the people to express their own views through amendment and add it to the Constitution. But this idea that justice... 


STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you believe that the Supreme Court should overturn it or not? 

ROMNEY: Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn -- do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes, I do. [2012 ABC/Yahoo!/WMUR New Hampshire GOP primary debate, 1/7/12, via The Washington Post]

In 2007, Romney Said He Supported A Constitutional Amendment And Legislation Outlawing Abortion In All Cases. In an August 2007 interview with Stephanopoulos, Romney said he supported the 2004 Republican platform on abortion, which called for a constitutional amendment and legislation outlawing abortion with no exception for rape or incest. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: That quarrel over abortion continued in the spin room after the debate. Senator Brownback's campaign says you're still being evasive on the abortion issue, and they look at the 2004 platform on abortion which says, "We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment's protections apply to unborn children." Do you support that part of the Republican platform? 

ROMNEY: You know, I do support the Republican platform, and I support that being part of the Republican platform, and I'm pro-life. [ABC, Good Morning America, 8/6/07

Romney Said He Supports A Constitutional Amendment Establishing "Definition Of Life As Conception." In an October 2011 interview with Fox News' Mike Huckabee, Romney said he "absolutely" supports "a constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life as conception." From PolitiFact: 

In an interview with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Fox television, Huckabee asked Romney about a Massachusetts law that helped cover the costs of abortion. Romney said it would take a state constitutional amendment to change that, so Huckabee asked, "Would you have supported a constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life as conception?" 

Romney replied, "Absolutely." [PolitiFact, 10/19/12

Auto Rescue 

Columbus Dispatch Hid Romney's Opposition To Auto Rescue 

In Endorsement, Columbus Dispatch Ignored Romney's Opposition To Auto Rescue While Touting Business Experience. In its October 21 endorsement of Romney, The Columbus Dispatch championed Romney's business experience but made no mention of the auto rescue he opposed: 

Obama has failed. That is why Mitt Romney is the preferred choice for president. Romney's adult life has been spent turning around troubled private and public institutions. These turnarounds include scores of companies acquired and restructured by Bain Capital, the investment firm he founded in 1984. Not all were successes, but that is because to a significant degree, many of the companies Bain took on were high-risk. In 1999, he was asked to take over the scandal-plagued and fiscally mismanaged 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He quickly streamlined its management, fixed its finances and guaranteed its security, turning it into a success. As governor of Massachusetts, he made tough decisions to lead the state out of a budget deficit, and he did so in a state dominated by Democrats. 

As a career businessman and former governor, Romney brings a wealth of executive experience in the private sector and the public sector that dwarfs that of Obama. From working both sides of the government/private-sector equation, he understands how that relationship can aid or impede prosperity. His election would be an immediate signal to the private sector that someone who knows what he is doing is managing the nation's economic policy. The effect on business confidence would be dramatic and immediate, and business confidence is the vital ingredient needed to spur investment and hiring, the two things that the United States so desperately needs. [The Columbus Dispatch, 10/21/12

In Fact, Romney Called For Letting Auto Companies Go Bankrupt 

Romney: Obama "Said That I Said We Should Take Detroit Bankrupt, And That's Right." During the second presidential debate on October 16, Romney admitted that his plan for the auto companies was to let them go bankrupt: 

ROMNEY: And one thing that the -- the president said which I want to make sure that we understand -- he -- he said that I said we should take Detroit bankrupt, and -- and that's right. My plan was to have the company go through bankruptcy like 7-Eleven did and Macy's and -- and -- and Continental Airlines and come out stronger. [Transcript of second presidential debate, 10/16/12, via The New York Times

Romney Admitted That He Wanted To "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." In a June 2011 interview on CBS, Romney stated: That's exactly what I said. The headline you read in which you said 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt' points out that those companies needed to go through bankruptcy to shed those costs. And the federal government put in, I think, $17 billion into those companies before they finally recognized, yeah, they need to go bankrupt, to go through that process so they're able to shed their costs." [CBS News, Early Show, 6/3/11, via Media Matters

In NY Times Op-Ed, Romney Advocated For "Managed Bankruptcy" For Auto Companies. In a November 2008 New York Times op-ed, while Romney advocated for a "managed bankruptcy" in which the federal government would "provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing," he maintained his stance against a government bailout: 

The American auto industry is vital to our national interest as an employer and as a hub for manufacturing. A managed bankruptcy may be the only path to the fundamental restructuring the industry needs. It would permit the companies to shed excess labor, pension and real estate costs. The federal government should provide guarantees for post-bankruptcy financing and assure car buyers that their warranties are not at risk. 

In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check. [The New York Times, 11/18/08

Romney's Managed Bankruptcy Plan Involved "A Private Sector Bailout." Asked about his Times op-ed during a November 2011 Republican primary debate, Romney replied that the managed bankruptcy he called for should have been facilitated by the private sector: 

ROMNEY: My view with regards to the bailout was that whether it was by President Bush or by President Obama, it was the wrong way to go. I said from the very beginning they should go through a managed bankruptcy process, a private bankruptcy process. 

We have capital markets and bankruptcy, it works in the U.S. The idea of billions of dollars being wasted initially then finally they adopted the managed bankruptcy, I was among others that said we ought to do that. 

My plan, we would have had a private sector bailout with the private sector restructuring and bankruptcy with the private sector guiding the direction as opposed to what we had with government playing its heavy hand. [Media Matters, 10/24/12

Romney's Private Bankruptcy Plan Was Deemed Impossible During Financial Crisis 

AP: Romney's Plan For A Private Bankruptcy "Was An Improbable Course." An Associated Press fact check examining Romney's statements on the auto rescue concluded that his plan to have private loans finance the auto companies' restructuring in bankruptcy "was an improbable course": 

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. 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. [Associated Press, 10/23/12]   

Wash. Post: "Credit Markets Were So Frozen That A Bankruptcy Was Not A Viable Option At The Time." The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, discussing Romney's managed bankruptcy claim, reported that "many independent analysts have concluded that taking the approach recommended by Romney would not have worked in 2008, simply because the credit markets were so frozen that a bankruptcy was not a viable option at the time." Kessler added that a Congressional Oversight Panel report concluded the same thing, that the "circumstances in the global credit markets in November and December 2008 were unlike any the financial markets had seen in decades. U.S. domestic credit markets were frozen in the wake of the Lehman bankruptcy, and international sources of funding were extremely limited." [The Washington Post, 10/23/12

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne: Romney Must Have Been "Smoking Illegal Material" To Call For Private Bankruptcy Deal. The Boston Globe reported that Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Romney must have been "smoking illegal material" when he said the auto industry could be rescued without federal financial assistance: 

The head of Fiat-Chrysler said today that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney must have been "smoking illegal material" when he argued in 2008 that the US auto industry could be resurrected without federal financial assistance. 

During an interview with CNN, Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat and Chrysler, said government support was pivotal. 

The comment contrasted with a 2008 op-ed column in which Romney urged the federal government not to provide an industry bailout but instead force automakers into a "managed bankruptcy." 

Marchionne told CNN: "Whoever told you that is smoking illegal material. That market had become absolutely dysfunctional in 2008 and 2009. There were attempts made by a variety of people to find strategic alliances with other car makers on a global scale and the government stepped in, as the actor of last resort. It had to do it because the consequences would have been just too large to deal with." [The Boston Globe, 6/3/11

Health Care

NY Times Ignored Romney's Promise To Repeal Affordable Care Act 

Romney Touted Massachusetts Health Care Reform: "I Got Everybody In My State Insured." In a September 26 interview with NBC's Ron Allen, Romney spoke about the health care reform he passed in Massachusetts, saying, "Don't forget -- I got everybody in my state insured." He added: "One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record." [NBC News, 9/26/12

NY Times Quoted Romney Praising MA Health Reform, But Ignored His Promise To Repeal Affordable Care Act. A New York Times article reported that Romney "talked about the health care law he championed as governor of Massachusetts" and quoted Romney saying: "I got everybody in my state insured. ... One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance." [The New York Times, 9/26/12

In Fact, Romney Has Promised To Repeal Health Care Reform Law 

Romney Has Promised To Repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Romney has proposed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires that all Americans have health insurance, and has pledged to gut the act on his first day in office by granting waivers from the law to all 50 states. [, accessed 9/27/12; USA Today, 5/11/11

Middle East Conflict 

Wall Street Journal, USA Today Whitewashed Dishonesty From Romney's Foreign Policy Speech 

In Foreign Policy Speech, Romney Expressed Hope For "A Democratic, Prosperous Palestinian State Living Side By Side In Peace And Security With" Israel. In a foreign policy speech, Romney spoke hopefully of a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians: 

ROMNEY: Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel. On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew. [Mitt Romney, 10/8/12, via ABC News] 

WSJ: Romney's Speech "Focused Mainly On The Caliber Of Leadership" Romney "Said He Would Offer." Following the speech, The Wall Street Journal described Romney's speech as being focused on "the caliber of leadership" Romney would offer as president: 

Monday's speech at the Virginia Military Institute focused mainly on the caliber of leadership Mr. Romney said he would offer, while casting Mr. Obama as a timid commander in chief. Mr. Romney also offered specifics of plans for handling Israeli-Palestinian relations and of how he would work with governments that have emerged from the Arab Spring. [The Wall Street Journal, 10/8/12

USA Today: Romney "Cast Obama As Weak And Responsible For Lowering America's Standing Around The Globe." USA Today claimed "Romney cast Obama as weak and responsible for lowering America's standing across the globe." From USA Today

Mitt Romney today stepped up his criticism of President Obama's foreign policy and his handling of hot spots in the Middle East, as he aimed to show a contrast with his rival on Iran, Libya and Syria. 

In a speech at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney cast Obama as weak and responsible for lowering America's standing around the globe. Romney charged that "hope is not a strategy." [USA Today, 10/8/12

In Fact, Romney Trashed Two-State Solution In Mideast Before Expressing Hope For It 

Romney In May: The Idea Of Pressuring Palestinians And Israelis To Act Is "Just Wishful Thinking." Speaking to donors in May, Romney scoffed at the idea of enforcing a Middle East peace process, saying that the idea of pushing the Israelis "to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world." He went on to call it "wishful thinking": 

On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state -- and I won't mention which one it was -- but this individual said to me, "You know, I think there's a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections." I said, "Really?" And his answer was, "Yes, I think there's some prospect." And I didn't delve into it but you know, I always keep open the idea of, I have to tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis? -- to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. 

So, the only answer is show your strength. Again, American strength, American resolve, as the Palestinians someday reach the point where they want peace more than we're trying to push peace on them -- and then it's worth having the discussion. Until then, it's just wishful thinking. [Mitt Romney's May 17 address to donors, 9/19/12, via Mother Jones


Time, McClatchy Concealed Romney's Attacks On Diplomacy With Iran 

Romney On October 22: U.S. Should "Dissuade Iran From Having A Nuclear Weapon Through Peaceful And Diplomatic Means." During the October 22 presidential debate, Romney claimed he wanted to use "peaceful and diplomatic means" to "dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon," despite his previous insistence on military action: 

ROMNEY: It's also essential for us to understand what our mission is in Iran, and that is to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means. And crippling sanctions are something I'd called for five years ago when I was in Israel speaking at the Herzliya Conference. I laid out seven steps. [National Public Radio, 10/22/12

Time Highlighted Romney's Call For Diplomacy With Iran Without Noting Previous Dismissals. On October 23, Time senior editor Tony Karon wrote that both Obama and Romney will consider direct talks with Iran without noting that Romney's "peaceful and diplomatic means" stands in stark contrast to his previous positions: 

The reason that the winner on Nov. 6 may face little alternative but to try direct talks with Iran for the first time since 1979, is quite simply that both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have made clear their desire to avoid taking the U.S. into a third elective war in a Muslim country in the space of a decade. 

"It is essential for us to understand what our mission is in Iran," Romney said in Monday's foreign policy debate, "and that is to dissuade Iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means." His leverage of choice: "crippling sanctions" with the threat of military action as a last resort should Iran cross a red line toward developing "nuclear-weapons capability." That's broadly the same policy the Obama Administration has followed. Asked to differentiate himself, in the debate, Romney didn't even raise the ambiguous question of where to draw the red line. (Obama sets his red line for action at Iran moving to acquire a nuclear weapon; Romney uses the phrase nuclear-weapons capability - although it's not exactly clear whether this means the capability to build nuclear weapons, which Iran perhaps already has in latent form, or the capability to rapidly assemble and deploy nuclear warheads atop missiles.) Instead Romney simply insisted he'd have imposed tighter sanctions sooner. 

According to Politico, just last month Romney told reporters on his campaign plane that he does "not believe that in the final analysis we will have to use military action" against Iran. "I can't take that option off the table -- it must be something which is known by the Iranians as a possible tool to be employed to prevent them from becoming nuclear. But I certainly hope that we can prevent any military action from having to be taken," he said. [Time, 10/23/12

McClatchy Ignored Romney's Attacks On Iran Diplomacy. In a report on the October 22 presidential debate, a McClatchy Newspapers article reported that Romney "largely supported the tough economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the Obama administration" but did not note that Romney previously dismissed attempts at diplomacy with Iran: 

Romney largely supported the tough economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the Obama administration but said he would have imposed them earlier. The Bush administration considered tougher sanctions but concluded they could push Iran to play its oil card, doing something to spike the price of oil, hurting U.S. consumers in a down economy. 

In what appeared to be a significant geographical gaffe, Romney called Syria Iran's "route to the sea." Iran has 1,491 miles of coastline on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, across which its oil travels to reach global markets. It has another 460 miles of northern coastline on the Caspian Sea. Syria has just 119 miles of coastline, most on the Mediterranean Sea, according to the CIA Factbook. [McClatchy Newspapers, 10/22/12

In Fact, Romney Has Stressed Military Action Against Iran 

Romney In June: "The Iranians Will Have No Question But That I Would Be Willing To Take Military Action." During a Face the Nation interview in June, Romney stated that there was "no question" that he would be willing "to take military action" against Iran: 

ROMNEY: I can assure you if I'm President, the Iranians will have no question but that I would be willing to take military action, if necessary, to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I-- I don't believe at this stage, therefore, if I'm President, that we need to have war powers approval or a special authorization for military force. The President has that capacity now. [CBS News, Face the Nation, 6/17/12

NY Times: Romney's Remarks On Iran "A Striking Departure" From Previous Positions. In a fact check of his remarks, the New York Times noted that Romney's remarks on Iran were "a striking departure from the more hawkish tone he has used throughout the campaign": 

Mr. Romney's remark that he wants to use "peaceful and diplomatic means" to persuade Iran not to pursue its nuclear program was a striking departure from the more hawkish tone he has used throughout the campaign. 


And it was only a few weeks ago that Mr. Romney called for more muscle-flexing aimed at Iran -- saying that he would "restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region" -- in a speech on Oct. 8 at the Virginia Military Institute. 

"For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions -- not just words -- that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated,'' he said.

And Mr. Romney has long been dismissive of Mr. Obama's attempts to use diplomacy to persuade Iran to abandon its weapons programs. 

"In his first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran,'' Mr. Romney said in his speech at the Republican National Convention. "We're still talking, and Iran's centrifuges are still spinning." [The New York Times, 10/23/12


Seattle Times Whitewashed Romney's Criticism Of Obama's Handling Of Mubarak 

Seattle Times Ignored Romney's Previous Statements That Obama Was Wrong About Mubarak. The Seattle Times reported that during the last presidential debate, Romney agreed with Obama's decision to oust Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, but ignored Romney's previous statement that Mubarak could have been persuaded to reform: 

At several points, he said he'd agreed with Obama on foreign-policy decisions, including Obama's urging that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leave power last year. He said Obama should have done more to help Mubarak adapt to growing pressure for democracy. But, Romney said, "Once (Egypt) exploded, I felt the same as the president did." [The Seattle Times, 10/22/12

On October 22, Romney Claimed He Agreed With Obama's Decision To Oust Hosni Mubarak. During the October 22 presidential debate, Romney stated that he supported Obama's decision to oust Mubarak: 

ROMNEY: I believe, as the president indicated and said at the time, that I supported his -- his action there. I felt that -- I wish we'd have had a better vision of the future. I wish that, looking back at the beginning of the president's term and even further back than that, that we'd have recognized that there was a growing energy and passion for freedom in that part of the world and that we would have worked more aggressively with our -- our friend and with other friends in the region to have them make the transition towards a more representative form of government such that it didn't explode in the way it did. 

But once it exploded, I felt the same as the president did, which is these -- these freedom voices in the -- the streets of Egypt where the people who were speaking of our principles and the -- the -- President Mubarak had done things which were unimaginable, and the idea of him crushing his people was not something that we could possibly support. [National Public Radio, 10/22/12

In Fact, Romney Has Slammed Obama Over Mubarak For Abandoning "Freedom Agenda" 

Foreign Policy: Romney Previously "Suggested That Mubarak Could Have Been Persuaded To Reform." The Romney campaign has made contradictory statements regarding Mubarak, as Foreign Policy detailed, including his suggestion that "Mubarak could have been persuaded to reform": 

In an interview with Israel Hayom, the GOP presidential candidate declared that the Arab Spring "is not appropriately named" because of Islamist victories in the region and suggested that Mubarak could have been persuaded to reform, had President Obama not bungled the effort: 

President [George W.] Bush urged [deposed Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak to move toward a more democratic posture, but President Obama abandoned the freedom agenda and we are seeing today a whirlwind of tumult in the Middle East in part because these nations did not embrace the reforms that could have changed the course of their history, in a more peaceful manner. [Foreign Policy, 10/12/12

Romney: "President Obama Abandoned The Freedom Agenda" That Could Have Pushed Mubarak Toward A More Democratic Posture. In an interview with an Israeli newspaper in July, Romney suggested that President Bush's "freedom agenda" could have urged Mubarak toward a more democratic agenda if only it hadn't been halted by Obama. From the interview: 

"The Arab Spring is not appropriately named. It has become a development of more concern and it occurred in part because of the reluctance on the part of various dictators to provide more freedom to their citizens. President [George W.] Bush urged [deposed Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak to move toward a more democratic posture, but President Obama abandoned the freedom agenda and we are seeing today a whirlwind of tumult in the Middle East in part because these nations did not embrace the reforms that could have changed the course of their history, in a more peaceful manner." [Israel Hayom, 7/27/12


Bloomberg Looked Past Romney's Comment That More Teachers Are Unnecessary 

Romney: "I Reject The Idea That I Don't Believe In Great Teachers Or More Teachers." During the October 3 presidential debate, Romney suggested that he favors hiring more teachers: 

ROMNEY: Well, first, I love great schools. Massachusetts, our schools are ranked number one of all 50 states. And the key to great schools: great teachers. So I reject the idea that I don't believe in great teachers or more teachers. Every school district, every state should make that decision on their own. [Transcript of presidential debate, 10/3/12, via The New York Times

Bloomberg Businessweek Reported Romney Values "Great Teachers," Without Noting His Stance Against Hiring More Teachers. Bloomberg Businessweek reported on October 4 that Romney says he values "great schools, great teachers" without noting that Romney previously said we don't need more teachers: 

Obama and Romney were both working to appeal to a small yet crucial group of persuadable voters who either haven't yet decided on their presidential choice or could still be moved to change their minds. 

Obama twice mentioned his plan to hire an additional 100,000 math and science teachers, and Romney said he too values "great schools, great teachers." [Bloomberg Businessweek, 10/4/12

Romney Has Taken A Stance Against Hiring More Teachers 

Romney In June: We Don't Need More Teachers. During a June press conference, Romney said we have no need for more teachers, cops, or firefighters: 

The Republican presidential candidate criticized his 2012 competitor for "pushing aside the private sector" and instead wants to add more government jobs. He cited the recent gubernatorial recall vote in Wisconsin as a sign voters want the opposite. 

Romney said of Obama, "he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people." [CNN, 6/8/12

Huff. Post: "Months Before The Debate, Romney Mocked The President For Proposing Funding To Keep Teachers On The Job." In an October 10 article, the Huffington Post reported that during a campaign stop, Romney "mocked the president for proposing funding to keep teachers on the job": 

Days after he declared that he wants to put "more teachers" in schools, Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama's plan to do just that. 

The Republican presidential nominee didn't technically contradict his comments, made during the first presidential debate last week, in his interview with The Des Moines Register. But he did cast a proposal to hire more teachers as a waste of taxpayer money. 


Romney's belief that state and local governments should decide whether or not to hire teachers has remained consistent. During both the debate and his interview with the Register, he voiced his opposition toward the Obama administration's proposal to send $30 billion in federal dollars to states for the explicit purpose of teacher retention and hiring. In fact, months before the debate, Romney mocked the president for proposing funding to keep teachers on the job. [Huffington Post, 10/10/12

Media Matters intern Brian Rabitz contributed to this report.  

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