The “L” Word

Soledad O’Brien (who apparently didn’t get the CNN memo that stated, “Effective immediately, CNN staffers should emulate their Fox News counterparts at all times because we’re getting our asses kicked in the ratings, for Pete’s sake!”) had a question today for Romney surrogate Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia:

In case you can’t get off the boat, here’s a summary: O’Brien asked if advocating one set of policies on the campaign trail in front of herds of ravening wingnuts and then trotting out an entirely different set of policies before a national audience might not expose the candidate to charges of, well, LYING. Gingrey replies that “lying” and “campaigning” are basically interchangeable terms since of course you must tell each audience what it wants to hear to get elected.

He goes on to say that even though he, Gingrey, is a wingnut extremist of the first order, he was “perfectly comfortable” with Romney’s weathercock act because he knows it’s necessary to tell whopping lies to get elected, so what’s the big whoop? We knew this, of course — we haven’t been calling this the “post-truth” campaign for nothing. Still, it’s somewhat startling to see it stated so baldly.

H/T: The Raw Story

[X-posted at Rumproast]

94 replies
  1. 1
    ruemara says:

    Does he know this is taped and on tv?

  2. 2
    Professor says:

    Don’t you know? When a Republican says it; it’s NOT a lie.It’s the whiter pale of the Truth!

  3. 3
    jacy says:


    Modern technology is a liberal conspiracy.

    Glad to see the snake didn’t get you in your sleep, Betty!

  4. 4
    Cassidy says:

    Is she trying to get fired? She’s been doing a lot of that “questioning” and “journalism” thing lately.

  5. 5
    David Hunt says:

    Can’t get off the boat here are work, but I find it hard to believe that they’d say it quite that baldly. I’m afraid it says bad things if they think they can admit to blatant lying without fear of consequence. For my own peace of mind I’m going to assume that this guy uses language to soften/hide the essential truth that bald-faced lying is an essential element of the GOP campaign strategy.

  6. 6
    Enhanced Mooching Techniques says:

    Seriously, how in the fuck do they think they can govern after that? Romney and company really think being president is just like being a CEO.

  7. 7
    AnonPhenom says:

    Romney a tax cheat? No. What would make anyone think that?

  8. 8
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Democrats lie about things like global warming, evolution, job numbers, and birth certificates, so it’s ok if Republicans lie about how well they are going to govern the country.

  9. 9
    nemesis says:

    Its not a lie is the CEO does it.

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    Today’s GOP: Aging white liars who want to transfer wealth upwards with extreme prejudice.

    Also, too, dicks.

  11. 11
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @AnonPhenom: I saw where someone had posted that on another thread. Why in the hell isn’t that getting more play? I don’t know how much it had (or could have) on the outcome of the debate, but nobody – nobody – likes a cheater. Why aren’t the Obama people pushing the hell out of this?

  12. 12
    the Conster says:

    Someone’s going to get their countertops checked.

  13. 13
    eric says:

    @BGinCHI: lily white liars

  14. 14
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    The problem is they’ve been telling the Wingnuts that they were running on a moderate platform but would govern as conservatives for years. The old wink and nod. This works when the wingnuts trust the candidate (witness Bush, George W.) but when they don’t, as is the case this year, the candidate has to keep telling them he’ll implement conservative policies. Those policies just don’t sell well with the general public, so they have to invent a whole new set of policies to sell to them. Hence the lying. It’s never been done so brazenly before but they’re used to lying to the American people with a wink and a nod to their base. This is just the next step.

  15. 15
    Ash Can says:

    I don’t understand why he came out and said this aloud either. Does he think no one’s paying attention and/or will care? People make a big enough deal out of the original Etch-a-Sketch comment, after all, and this is almost word-for-word the exact same point. Maybe Romney stiffed him on a kickback check, so now he’s lobbing grenades at him.

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    youtube is not these folks friend

  17. 17
    Culture of Truth says:

    It’s not a lie… if you believe you have to say it

  18. 18
    Anonymous37 says:

    The follow-up question I’d love to hear someone ask the Romney campaign: “Mitt Romney has now fully repudiated his claims about 47% of this country’s adult population. When did he return the money his campaign got from the fundraiser — the fundraiser where he made those statements in order to appeal to a crowd of wealthy donors?”

  19. 19
    28 Percent says:

    How long before the phrase “Bain and Switch” hits the headlines…?

  20. 20
    c u n d gulag says:

    I sure hope Soledad will get a nice pair of new boots out of the skin that snake left behind after the interview.

  21. 21
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Just win, babay.

    Good bye, Jemmy Madison, hello Al Davis.

  22. 22
    Quincy says:

    I’m not sure if anyone’s circulated this Onion story yet, but it’s close to a perfect encapsulation of what’s wrong with our political media (excluding Soledad, who does a pretty good job).

  23. 23
    Ash Can says:

    @Evolving Deep Southerner: If they pushed it and it somehow did turn out to be nothing — it hasn’t been proven that it wasn’t a handkerchief or something else innocuous — it would make the Obama campaign look awful. And I don’t think it ever can be proven definitively, so they’re not going to take that kind of risk. Romney would certainly deny it, so at best it’s a he-said/she-said argument, with a suspicious but inconclusive video as support. At worst, it makes the Obama campaign look uncharacteristically petty, and that’s the kind of thing that will move poll numbers, and not in a good way.

  24. 24
    Tone In DC says:


    LULz. Soledad is en fuego lately.

  25. 25
    catclub says:

    @Anonymous37: Yes. I would ask how many in his audience were disgusted by his referring to 47% of the lower orders that way. How many walked out?

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    @eric: I will accept lily-livered white liars (whose lies are anything but white ones).

  27. 27
    Comrade Mary says:

    @AnonPhenom: An opinion piece by a Democratic strategist? Oh yeah, that line of thought will be treated with a great deal of respect.

    I don’t know: I’ve watched the slowed down video and while the “paper” did bounce upon being thrown on the lectern, Mitt has enough money to blow his schnozz on nothing but the most elegant, heavyweight fabric.

    Romney’s people are doing him no favours by justifying lying and promoting jobberism, and Obama’s supporters are doing him no favours by focusing on the hard to prove allegation of cheating (or adjusting to altitude, thank you very much Al Gore). Obama was off his game that night and has been read as “truculent” etc., so harping on the exact events of the night just gives people a chance to make accusations of sore loserdom.

    Obama should continue pointing out Mitt’s flip-floppy Etch a Sketch with a picture of a weathervane in it, and his team should cut some more brutal ads, and supporters can keep playing up the Big Bird issue because that happened right where everyone could see it, no forensic analysis needed.

  28. 28
    PeakVT says:

    @Evolving Deep Southerner: Because it would look whiny. Complaining about the wire Bush had on (supposedly) during a debate in 2004 didn’t put Kerry over the top, now, did it?

    Besides, if Rmoney really did cheat, the media will be all over it like the proverbial flies on shit.

  29. 29
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Anonymous37: Willard doubled down on the 47% remarks on Fox after the video went public. He’s only refuting them now because they’re hurting him politically.

    I’d love for someone to ask him if he’s made the 47% remarks at other fundraisers. It wasn’t a slip of the tongue nor misstatement, as Willard suggested. He was repeating the same talking point the wingnuts have been pushing for the past two years.

  30. 30
    Quincy says:

    Also, digby yesterday passed along a great quote that Michael Moore dug up, revealing that lying has been a deliberate Republican debate strategy for years:

    “‘You can say anything you want during a debate and 80 million people hear it,’observed Peter Teeley, press secretary to Vice President Bush. If reporters then document that a candidate spoke untruthfully, ‘so what? Maybe 200 people read it or 2,000 or 20,000.'”

    – New York Times, November 1, 1984

  31. 31
    Jay in Oregon says:

    This has happened before, with the “Etch-A-Sketch” comment.

    I’ve heard before from wingnuts that “All politicians lie about what they’re going to do” so they think it’s no big deal.

    Oddly enough, “So then why vote for the guy who says he’s going to do what you want if he gets elected if you believe he’s lying about it?” never gets a real answer.

  32. 32
    Brachiator says:

    @28 Percent:

    How long before the phrase “Bain and Switch” hits the headlines…?


    @Tone In DC:

    LULz. Soledad is en fuego lately.

    Yeah, must be the Irish temper.

  33. 33
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @Ash Can: The Obama campaign has people to push it without doing so directly. Let an arms-length surrogate push it and let Mitt deny it with a straight face.

    If he’d have just done a Palin and wrote it on his hand …

  34. 34
    catclub says:

    @Hill Dweller: after he doubled down on Fox. “Why did you not find anything with wrong with those 47% remarks when they were revealed and you were asked about them on FOX, but NOW you have finally realized? What changed your mind? The Polls?

  35. 35
    Cassidy says:

    @Tone In DC: So looked up “en fuego”…not exactly sure which definition you were going for, but both work.

  36. 36
    jibeaux says:

    Seems easy enough to me. A few months ago, when he thought he was with friends behind closed doors, he said one thing. Now, he holds a press conference to say that he was wrong. He was either being truthful and candid then or truthful and candid now.

  37. 37
    David in NY says:

    “Who can you trust?” ought to be a theme from here on.

  38. 38
    Anonymous37 says:

    @ Hill Dweller: Willard doubled down on the 47% remarks on Fox after the video went public. He’s only refuting them now because they’re hurting him politically.

    Oh, of course. And that’s why I’m hoping someone tosses him an anvil before he can drag himself out of the deep waters he eagerly jumped into. And I agree: he should be asked on what other occasions he disparaged half the working-age population of this country.

  39. 39
    WaterGirl says:

    Wow, just saw the youtube slow motion video that shows romney cheating at the debate.

    And I just got my I Ride Inside bumper magnet for my car in the mail today. Very nice!

  40. 40
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ash Can: to say nothing of the fact that for the campaign’s purposes, the speculation is better than anything else. If they ask about it, regardless of whether or not it turns out to be something, it appears whiny because most people are judging that Obama lost the debate. But if they leave it alone and it simmers for a couple of days, it will start getting a couple of short blurbs on cable here and there, and it only plays into the well seated meme that Rmoney is a liar. People will believe it simply because nobody trusts him to tell the truth about pretty much anything. Since the Obama campaign can’t really move the needle except negatively by getting involved, let it play out on its own.

  41. 41
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @jibeaux: Not quite that easy. He stood by the remarks as recently as two weeks ago — when he wasn’t talking to a small group of “friends” behind closed doors.

  42. 42

    This video from CPAC 2007 seems particularly relevant given Mitt’s newest etch-a-sketch transformation:

    Flip Romney has a nice ring to it…

  43. 43
    catclub says:

    @jibeaux: Or neither, or both,
    or some quantum superposition. This is the kind of thing that the Obama campaign focus on ‘He is a conservative plutocrat who cares nothing for the middle class’, misses. He just lies and flip flops all the time. There were some hints that that is changing.

  44. 44
    jibeaux says:

    Can I also just say how enormously creepy it is that right wingers all get the same talking points which they then go dutifully spew into the world in a really creepy robotic army way? I made the mistake of looking at George Takei’s facebook comment feed yesterday and today, which I haven’t done before. Takei himself is marvelous and posts hilarious pictures. Yesterday’s marching orders vis a vis sesame street were apparently to humorlessly point out that Romney wasn’t against Big Bird, just public funding of Big Bird. So when the sesame street picture came out today, it has Hillary Clinton in it, the winger commentary runs about half that, half Libya. The orders have apparently come down from on high: Hillary is popular, so blame her for deaths in Libya, and if you have to use the comment thread for a texts-from-Hillary mockup with Big Bird in it on George Takei’s facebook feed to get that word out, then do it. Go, little chickadees, and multiply.

  45. 45
    Sparrowgal says:

    @Ash Can: The Romney campaign has already gone full bore on the hankie defense. Forensic video analysts have been engaged!!

    Teh Evidence

  46. 46
    billiecat says:

    Soledad has always been good at the pushback in the interveiws. It used to be I thought the victims didn’t believe her purty little head was for more than just show, but she’s been doing this long enough now that you’d think they’d know what d-bags she makes them look like when they tap dance and lie to her.

  47. 47
    catclub says:

    @WaterGirl: Cute Golden Retriever bumper sticker.

  48. 48
    MikeJ says:

    @Afferent Input:

    Flip Romney has a nice ring to it


  49. 49
    jibeaux says:

    @Smiling Mortician: I know. Anywhere where a normal person would step on their dicks once (oh, shit, I gotta walk that back), Mitt does it twice (I ain’t walking back shit, oh wait, yes I am.)

    But I like the cleanness of the phrasing, which reminds me of “were you lying then, or are you lying now?

  50. 50
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Ash Can:
    @Comrade Mary:
    … and that’s why the video should be made to go viral on the intertubes. Let everyone who watches it make their own judgement. Personally I’m not looking at the item he pulled from his pocket, I’m looking at his hand motions and body language.

  51. 51
    Yutsano says:

    @jibeaux: Willard must have slept through his litigation class. “So were you lying then or are you lying now?”

  52. 52
    Comrade Mary says:

    @AnonPhenom: Stop trying to make viral happen, Gretchen :-)

    It goes viral or it doesn’t, but the Obama campaign and surrogates, arms length or not, should stay the hell away from it.

  53. 53
    catclub says:

    @jibeaux: I think there is so much more crazy in the right wing, that the people ‘in charge’ there know that without talking points, they would be far, far farther off message than the democrats can be.
    Without those talking points, there would be fluoride, and
    Obama internment camps, and Agenda 21, and ACORN, and Sharia law, ALL THE TIME. After a little thought, I am almost thankful for the talking points.

  54. 54
    Ash Can says:

    @Soonergrunt: Yep…

    @Sparrowgal: And there we go. We now have the situation of, instead of the Obama campaign accusing it, the Romney campaign denying it. Somewhere, LBJ is grinning.

  55. 55
    David in NY says:

    @AnonPhenom: “body language”

    He sure looks like a con-man pulling a fast one.

  56. 56
    catclub says:

    @MikeJ: The _devil_ made him do it.

  57. 57
    quannlace says:

    Because it would look whiny. Complaining about the wire Bush had on (supposedly) during a debate in 2004 didn’t put Kerry over the top, now, did it?

    So I assume what they’re each busily scribbling on when the other’s opining is paper supplied for them? Didn’t figure they were writing all over the desktop.

  58. 58
    LD50 says:

    it was deliberate. they’re playing the long game: to train Americans to quit thinking lying is a bad thing.

    If they can train poor whites to vote for policies that will only harm them and never benefit them in any way, this shouldn’t be particularly hard.

  59. 59
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Evolving Deep Southerner:

    Why aren’t the Obama people pushing the hell out of this?

    Because complaining that the other side cheated is something that only losers do. Winners don’t complain about cheating, they celebrate victory. If you won, it doesn’t matter what the other guy did. Cheating-talk and loser-stink are like smoke and fire.

  60. 60
    Yutsano says:

    @catclub: Schroedinger’s Candidate!!

  61. 61
    WaterGirl says:

    @catclub: Yeah, the magnets seem to come about every dog breed I could think of; I just picked the one that looked most like my dog.

    You never know with an impulse purchase, but it was really nicely done, less than 10 bucks including shipping, and it arrived in less than a week.

  62. 62
    Tone In DC says:

    She’s on fire, dude.

    Like the Redskins offense was (in 1991).

  63. 63
    Comrade Mary says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: OK, that’s the perfect short answer. Thanks!

  64. 64
    jibeaux says:


  65. 65
    AnonPhenom says:

    @David in NY:
    Yeah, might be a NY thing. Sometimes you can spot the 3 card monti & speed chess grifters before they even break out their kits. Sometimes from a half a block away. God, I miss The Deuce.

  66. 66
    catclub says:

    @jibeaux: Good grief! I forgot birtherism in my list of wacky rightwing obsessions.

    And also, gay marriage, IRS(? maybe dept of education) ammo supply, Solyndra, Ameros, and the NAFTA Highway.

  67. 67
    Sparrowgal says:

    @Ash Can: Totally agree…high road for the win!!

    @WaterGirl: Very nice bumper sticker…I may have to buy a “Cats Against Romney” sticker out of cross-species solidarity, but I still love the “Cone of Seamus” line best of all on this site.

  68. 68
    kindness says:

    They are proud of their lying now.

    How strange this Republican Party has become.

  69. 69
    Rex Everything says:

    Soledad O’Brien is pretty cool; she doesn’t seem to be afraid of anybody. I like her.

  70. 70
    divF says:

    @kindness: They’ve always been proud of their lying – “we create our own reality”.

  71. 71
    David in NY says:

    @AnonPhenom: I’ve got clients, actually.

    In this case, the way Romney looks away from what he’s doing does look like the diversion in a street con. I was never much into the Bush-wearing-a-wire story, but the faux casualness and looking-away thing has got me going.

    And if he really put down a handkerchief in the other hand, I’d be sold, but you need a better resolution of the picture than I’ve got to tell that.

    Anyway, it would be wrong not to speculate.

  72. 72
    Rekster says:

    The only thing worse that all the lawyers in congress is the number of physicians. Phil Gingrey is a tool of the lowest order!

  73. 73
    sacrablue says:

    @Cassidy: Nah, she’s just auditioning for a job at MSNBC.

  74. 74
    Hal says:

    Soledad has been an ass kicker to rightwingers. I’m shocked so many of them still actually go on her show.

  75. 75
    sherifffruitfly says:

    “…which some could define as lying”

    We’re a stupid, stupid country.

  76. 76
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Evolving Deep Southerner: Because they don’t know for sure and no one likes a whiner either.

  77. 77
    Yutsano says:

    @catclub: That one makes me giggle, mostly because there are armed IRS agents. TIGTA is pretty cool, I’ve met a couple of the agents.

  78. 78
    Roger Moore says:


    Wow, just saw the youtube slow motion video that shows romney cheating at the debate.

    So apparently that “debate” practice was about sleight of hand, not speech practice.

    ETA: Also, too, more proof that the Republican meme about Obama and teleprompters is projection, just like everything else.

  79. 79
    Jay in Oregon says:


    “…which some could define as lying”
    We’re a stupid, stupid country.

    What makes this even more tragic/comic is that these are the guys who claim that liberals, Democrats, atheists, homosexuals, etc. have no sense of morality.

    Apparently, their idea of morality is “If I can talk my way out of it, it’s OK.”

    Banging dudes in a bathroom on the down-low? Check.
    Ripping off the poor and old people? Check.
    Bald-faced lying, followed by lying about the lying, and wrapped up with lying about the lying about the lying? Check, check, check.

  80. 80
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Roger Moore:

    ETA: Also, too, more proof that the Republican meme about Obama and teleprompters is projection, just like everything else.

    The teleprompter thing has several angles to it. You’ve got the projection thing and you’ve got the “Obama is a stupid, lazy niCLANG” thing.

    I have to say that I was surprised at some of my wife’s relations on Facebook during the debate. Her family are conservative Christians but one of her cousins got REALLY nasty, accusing Obama of being lazy and stupid. I’ve met that cousin and she seems really nice, so I was taken aback. And unfriended her.

  81. 81
    JoyfulA says:

    @sacrablue: I remember when Soledad had an hour-long weekday show on MSNBC, all about computers, and costarring an animated character.

  82. 82
    priscianusjr says:

    Hey, cut Soledad a little slack. She got some pretty quotable quotes out of that shmuck.

  83. 83
    Suffern ACE says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Thank you. I wish they’d drop that. It doesn’t really matter. It’s like “Why didn’t Obama complain to the moderator about Romney.” Because it would have looked whiny. Let commentators comment on it.

  84. 84
    sacrablue says:

    @JoyfulA: Yeah, I have a vague memory of Soledad on MSNBC, but I wasn’t sure because I don’t think I had MSNBC on my cheapskate level cable at the time.

  85. 85
    Rekster says:

    Rep. Phil Gingrey, charter member of the Louie Gohmert Cuckoo’s Nest Caucus!

  86. 86
    jon says:

    What would Romney have on a cheat sheet? He just makes things up as he goes, and the test is much more heavily graded on how you look rather than on actual answers.

    I worry about him cheating on the final, not this silly oral exam.

  87. 87
    trollhattan says:

    @Rex Everything:
    She does a good job whenever I see her, which isn’t often, but still.

    Am amazed Shep Smith still lives among us and hasn’t had an Ailes-directed unfortunate accident (while bathing/crossing street/flying/eating pretzels…).

  88. 88
    bemused says:

    Mike Papantonio was filling in for Ed Schultz today and he asked a Republican caller if Mitt’s lies about the 47% or Mitt hiding his money overseas, etc bothered him and the caller said no. Of course, the caller had to try to counter with ‘what about the Democrat doing this or that’ before Mike got him to admit he didn’t care if the Republican lied.

    That’s how it works with Republican voters. They have no problem whatsoever with lying if their guy or gal wins.

  89. 89
    Triassic Sands says:

    I don’t watch cable news, so I don’t know what Soledad O’Brien is doing in the 99+% of the air time I don’t see in these video clips, but in the brief snippets I’ve seen this year, she seems to one of the few media personalities out there who are actually engaged in serious questioning.

    Apparently, the CNN honchos don’t watch her either, including the clips I’ve seen — especially those clips — otherwise she’d have been fired long ago.

  90. 90
    bemused says:

    @Ash Can:

    They know their voters don’t care if they lie.

  91. 91
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Here’s a quote from that Raw Story link:

    “I’ve been watching and involved in presidential politics since 1960, when I first voted,” Gingrey said.

    Okay, here’s the thing. This piece of crap Phil Gingrey lies about stuff that it doesn’t even make any political sense to lie about.

    Gingrey was born in July 1942.

    On election day 1960, Gingrey was 18 years old.

    The minimum voting age in 1960 was 21 fucking years old. It wasn’t lowered to 18 until 1971.

    Stupid piece of crap asshat.

  92. 92
    jon says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Different states could have had different voting ages. The Constitutional Amendment only sets a limit for when the right must be there. Wyoming let women vote before it was legal everywhere, so it’s possible Georgia (or wherever he lived) let teenagers vote at 18 then. There’s nothing unconstitutional about a state deciding to let 16-year-olds vote if that’s wanted. Or 14. Or five.

  93. 93
    jon says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Interesting. Didn’t know this. Part of me wants to give props, while another part knows that giving Georgia props for expanding voting rights is like congratulating dictators for their public transportation systems.

  94. 94
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I stand corrected. Because the voting age was lowered nationally in 1971 by Amendment XXVi, I made an erroneous assumption that it had always been set nationally (for federal elections, anyhow). Thanks for setting me straight, and my apologies to Representative Gingrey, who is of course a man of unparalleled truthfulness and integrity in all things.

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