As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made the Sunday talk show rounds, “This Week’s” George Stephanopoulos confronted him with a portion of President Obama’s recent two-minute-long ad, being that they don’t have time to run the Aeneid on TV:
“Gov. Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall St., all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place.”
If Christie were on stage at Wednesday night’s debate, how would he respond, Stephanopoulos asked. “Stop lying, Mr. President.”
“Lying?!” an incredulous Stephanopoulos gasped. “What’s the lie there?”
Christie defends Romney’s tax plan by explaining, as Romney has, that tax rates would go down while deductions would be removed. Stephanopoulos may want to check the Washington Post, which awarded Obama’s declaration on “trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place,” Three Pinnocchios, concluding “[i]t’s time for Obama to retire this talking point.”
Don’t hold your breath. More, from the Post, which also notes Romney’s plan would eliminate deductions to remain revenue neutral:
Just to be sure, we checked with [Ezra] Klein—[whose column was used to justify Obama’s claim in the ad]— and here is how he responded: “I am absolutely not saying the Bush tax cuts led to the financial crisis. To my knowledge, there’s no evidence of that.”
Klein is right. While some on the left have speculated about some kind of Rube Goldberg phenomenon — that the tax cuts put so much money in the pockets of the rich that they had nothing to spend it on but risky and exotic financial instruments — we are unaware of any respected academic study making this link. The Bush tax cuts have been amply criticized for costing too much and generating too little economic growth, but that’s entirely different from causing the Great Recession.
Indeed, the official government inquiry, the 631-page final report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis in the United States, makes no mention of the Bush tax cuts. The report, endorsed by every Democrat on the panel, does cite deregulation, but 30 years of deregulation across multiple administrations — not just deregulation in the Bush years.
His claim that Bush’s policies led to 90 percent of the current deficit? Four Pinnocchios, so look out for both of those Wednesday.
Hugh Hewitt does audience debate prep today with a column on Obama’s most frequent verbal ticks:
If either does, we will be treated to “tell No. 4,” the president’s feigned outrage that anyone would interrupt or question him. When this happens, his countenance displays a disapproving sneer and his voice clouds with displeasure. It is practiced. It is also profoundly anti-democratic and arrogant, and if he plays this card on this stage, it will backfire.
Watch as well for nonresponsive self-pity, verbal essays on how difficult it was when he took over and how hard he has been working. Self-pity and self-regard are not designed to endear him to the unemployed or even the economically fragile, so he will be coached to try to avoid displaying his sense of outrage at being thought a failure or “in over his head,” but the president’s sense of his own immensity is so great as to blow past such base political calculations.
And, James Antle says watch for the zingers.
As for Christie, Stephanopoulos may be squeamish about using the word “lying”— would he use it for the administration’s last two weeks’ response on Benghazi, I wonder?— but the state of New Jersey is just fine with its governor’s confrontational style.
Christie boasts an impressive 55 percent approval rating with registered voters in a new Monmouth University poll, up two points since the July. But fully 63 percent of New Jerseyans are unfazed by Christie-style zingers:
The governor continues to make headlines for what have become known as his “YouTube moments” – which some critics have likened to the behavior of a bully. New Jerseyans, though, are not particularly concerned by his conduct. Fully 63% say they are not bothered personally by the governor’s style of speaking to or about people who disagree with him. Only 1-in-3 Garden State residents are bothered – either a lot (23%) or a little (11%) – by the way Gov. Christie deals with his detractors.
“Critics and media pundits might object to Gov. Christie’s confrontational style, but the vast majority of his constituents simply shrug their shoulders. It’s not a big deal to them,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Memo to Mitt. Take Christie as a role model Wednesday over hand-wringing Stephanopoulos.