Gingrich: Gee, maybe my super-PAC should get its facts straight; Update: Super-PAC standing behind 4-Pinocchio effort

posted at 12:29 pm on January 13, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Well, no kidding.  After two weeks of blasting Mitt Romney as a corporate raider based on a film bought by a super-PAC supporting Newt Gingrich — which got the same four Pinocchios that Gingrich used to blast Romney over his super-PAC spot — the former Speaker had his campaign send out an e-mail earlier today suggesting that perhaps they should have gotten their facts straight.  But even that came with a caveat:

Newt Gingrich released the following statement calling for truth and accuracy from campaigns and so-called “Super-PACs” supporting candidates.

“The American people have a right to know the facts about the records of the men and women who are asking them for their vote.

“Governor Romney is running as someone who knows how to create jobs. In fact, he has claimed to have created 100,000 jobs while at Bain Capital. However, numerous analyses have said that figure is as inaccurate as President Obama’s claim to have “saved or created” millions of jobs.

“Furthermore, Governor Romney’s experience as a portfolio manager did not help him create an environment in Massachusetts that was friendly to job creation. As Governor, Mitt Romney raised $700 million in taxes and fees, despite a campaign pledge not to, and Massachusetts ranked 4th worst in job creation under his leadership.

“These are just some of the facts which President Obama would use to undercut Governor Romney’s claims to be a job creator if he is the Republican nominee. Given these facts, it is entirely appropriate for Republican Primary voters to ask questions to determine whether Governor Romney is presenting himself in an accurate light.

“This call for accuracy, however, is a two way street. Just as candidates must be certain to accurately present their own records, they also have a responsibility to describe the records of their fellow candidates accurately. And they have a responsibility to make sure that their supporters are doing the same.

“This week, fact check organizations like The Washington Post and Politifact have ranked advertisements produced by Super-PACs supporting Governor Romney and myself as containing enormous inaccuracies.

“I am calling for the Winning Our Future Super-PAC supporting me to either edit its “King of Bain” advertisement and movie to remove its inaccuracies, or to pull it off the air and off the internet entirely.

“Furthermore, I am once again calling on Governor Romney to issue a similar call for the Super-PAC supporting him to edit or remove its ads which have been shown to contain gross inaccuracies, something the Governor has thus far refused to do.

“The American people deserve a robust debate and full comparison of the plans and records of the people who are asking for their vote. They also deserve assurances that the information they are hearing is accurate. I am committed to holding my campaign and my supporters to this high standard of accuracy and I hope Governor Romney will do the same.”

The problem here, of course, is that calling for the removal of the ads or film and a subsequent removal of such could constitute illegal coordination between the candidates and the super-PACs. Romney already stated in the last debate that any ads using misleading or inaccurate allegations should not air, but Romney has no (legal) ability to curtail that advertising, and neither does Gingrich. What Romney can do — and apparently has done — is not repeat the same attacks himself. Gingrich, on the other hand, has made the Bain attacks a key part of his campaign over the last couple of weeks, and is only now belatedly discovering that it’s backfiring, thanks in part to its gross inaccuracies, but also in part to its attack on an important process in free-market capitalism.

Michael Ramirez, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for Investors Business Daily, offers his view on the sudden urge among trailing Republican candidates to attack creative destruction:

Also at Investors, John Merline reminds us what the jobs debate should really be about:

In the 30 months since the recession officially ended, nearly 1 million people have dropped out of the labor force — they aren’t working, and they aren’t looking — according to data from Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the past two months, the labor force shrank by 170,000.

This is virtually unprecedented in past economic recoveries, at least since the BLS has kept detailed records. In the past nine recoveries, the labor force had climbed an average 3.5 million by this point, according to an IBD analysis of the BLS data.

“Given weak job prospects, many would-be workers dropped out of (or never entered) the labor force,” noted Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute in her analysis of the BLS jobs report issued last Friday. “That reduces the measured unemployment rate but does not represent real improvement.”

According to the BLS, the “labor force participation rate” — the ratio of the number of people either working or looking for work compared with the entire working-age population — is now 64%, down from 65.7% when the recession ended in June 2009. That’s the lowest level since women began entering the workforce in far greater numbers several decades ago.

If you adjust for this drop, the unemployment rate would be close to 11%, instead of the official 8.5%.

Perhaps the Republican candidates would like to address this issue?  After all, it’s what most Americans have on their minds, not the relative merits of creative destruction and the net loss or gain of a few thousand jobs.

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.

Update: Do you think that Newt will be fundamentally unhappy about this?  Frankly, I think not:

Winning Our Future, he says, will spend $3.4 million in South Carolina in coming days, promoting snippets from King of Bain on statewide television, on radio, and on heavy Internet advertising.

And about the report that Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and funder of the group, is unhappy with King of Bain and the tone of the attacks? “I haven’t heard that,” Tyler says. “We’re not backing off.”

Tyler is also indifferent about growing media scrutiny of the film’s accuracy, and he shrugs off Glenn Kessler’s fact-checking in the Washington Post. “It’s kind of interesting that the press, who failed to do its job on Bain, is mad at me because we did our job on Bain,” he says. “[Reporters] missed the story… Most voters do not know anything about Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital, other than what he tells us.”

Kessler, he adds, in grading the film’s content, makes too much of one woman’s off-hand comment that Romney owns 15 homes. “This is a real person, not an actor, who had lost her home, and she was angry,” Tyler says. “Kessler called that a ‘Pinocchio,’ but that’s just hyperbole, and it’s ridiculous that they would hold her to account on an inaccuracy, like she’s some politician. She is someone who lost her house.”

Read Kessler’s article and see whether Kessler “makes too much” of that remark, as opposed to, say, the fact that Romney didn’t have anything to do with two of the cases presented, had a minimal involvement in one and not much more in the fourth, and that the film takes at least some of the testimony completely out of context.  Hint: Kessler doesn’t bother to write more than one sentence about the “15 homes” remark, and didn’t claim to assign a Pinocchio specific to it at any rate.

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No need to apologize Newt. You do what you have to in order to win.

they lie on January 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Including lie? So YOU lie…not they lie. Right ms. Lie?

Jailbreak on January 13, 2012 at 2:04 PM

No need to apologize Newt. You do what you have to in order to win.

they lie on January 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM

It would seem, they lie, that you are merely taking what many here think is a legitimate business philosophy and applying it to politics…

You can’t do that! No fair!

avgjo on January 13, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Why doesn’t Newt primary Obama?

crash72 on January 13, 2012 at 1:36 PM

lol :-) nice angle, didn’t think about it :-)…but now that you mentioned, maybe Newt’s (imploding)campaign takes your advice :-)…

jimver on January 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

“Newt-Pelosi 2012 – bringing the Beltway couch into your home, you capitalist swine!”

whatcat on January 13, 2012 at 1:43 PM

priceless :-)…

jimver on January 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

if you critize Bain, then you are a TARP supporter, a GM bailout supporter, and a socialist

burserker on January 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

burserker on January 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I bet the vast majority of people think TARP was necessary. I’ve always felt lonely in my disapproval.

Cindy Munford on January 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM

“Seems word from on high. . . has come down and our betters have had just about enough nonsense from the unruly urchins who inhabit the less respectable neighborhoods of the online right…”

workingclass artist on January 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

It is no small feat that Glenn Kessler is as liberal as they come, yet even he sees the lies that are “King of Bain”.

Winning Our Future Super-PAC just inoculated Mitt Romney’s connection to Bain for the general election and put consevatives into Romney’s camp to help defeat Obama. If the ads had help Newt Gingrich, then he would have had a flaming sword against Obama. Did we just see a real life Xanatos Gambit take place?

BigGator5 on January 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

It would seem, they lie, that you are merely taking what many here think is a legitimate business philosophy and applying it to politics…

You can’t do that! No fair!

avgjo on January 13, 2012 at 2:07 PM

It’s not fair or unfair, it’s just stupid. When Richard Trumka agrees with you, then you are on the wrong side of conservatism. How is this smart for a Republican candidate?

Gelsomina on January 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I guess turn about it fair play.

Cindy Munford on January 13, 2012 at 2:07 PM

For me, the problem is not that Gingrich attacked Romney, but that he attacked capitalism in order to attack Romney. It’s like blowing up your house in order to kill the mouse in the basement.

Gelsomina on January 13, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Here is what we need to know about Newt:

aloysiusmiller on January 13, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Gingrich: Gee, maybe my super-PAC should get its facts straigh

Gee, maybe your headline should get its facts straight.

Unless you’re accusing Gingrich of breaking campaign rules and controlling the Super PAC.

Y-not on January 13, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Okay, Newt did something pretty good here, pretty great if you ask me. Anyone care not to be blind to it?

lynncgb on January 13, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Perhaps Newt and Obama can sit together on a couch and denounce Capitalism and mean companies that must sometimes lay off workers to stay in business

Natebo on January 13, 2012 at 6:50 PM


you missed or ignored the point.

It is just as all romney defenders say about Bain other companies of same sort. As long as it’s legal, it’s fine,right? Because people have a right to further their interests as long as they don’t break the law,right? Apparently, you don’t get that dogmatic, blind support of all businesses and their practice is more dangerous to free enterprise than anything Newt or PErry say. It discredits the system, in addition to winding up just like every other godless system of government, from fascism communism. Think it’s smart to use the letter of the law to determine legitimacy of an action? Well hell’s bells, all the bad guys have to do is bribe, cheat and threaten those in government to pass a law and hot dog, the dogmatists say ‘cool’.

The Founders,far smarter than Rush, Hannity, Levin, any conservative blogger or message board poster, knew that our system of government would only work if people were MORAL. They knew the law could be abused. They also knew that there was a higher law,and that if laws of men were not in accord with that higher law, they had no legitimacy. Ever read Hooker? The Founders did. ‘Laws they are not therefore which public approbation hath not made so.’

Think about that a while. Free yourself from chains of clownish dogma.

avgjo on January 13, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Ramirez is a genius. Reality is, those are flea-infested jackals and swine who are lighting up GOP elephant.

AshleyTKing on January 13, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Who’s a better liar: Pro-Romney “Super PAC” or Pro-Gingrich “Super PAC” ?

apocalypse on January 13, 2012 at 1:02 PM

We all know that the Romney PAC is more squishy than the Newtron PAC.

Gunlock Bill on January 13, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s the right answer! There’s hope for you yet Gunlock Bill.

apocalypse on January 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM