Important question from Obama "Truth Team": Which of our misleading attacks against Mitt Romney do you like best?

I received an e-mail yesterday from Stephanie Cutter of the Obama 2012 campaign, looking for some input regarding their “Truth Team”. Here’s what it said:

As part of the Truth Team, you’re on the front lines of this campaign — protecting President Obama’s record and keeping the GOP honest.

Will you take a minute to make the Truth Team even stronger?

Take this short survey and share your thoughts on what works best.

It’s clear that Mitt Romney is going to say and spend anything to tear down the President. He is remarkably indifferent to the truth.

We can expect the attacks on President Obama and this movement to get much worse — and much more frequent. That means our role is becoming ever more important.

Share your feedback and help shape the future of the Truth Team:

Thanks for everything you do for this campaign.

– Stephanie

If the link in Stephanie’s email still works you can see the survey for yourself. It asks for some personal information typical for something like this: name, age, gender, etc. But then perhaps to accentuate just how much of a unifier their boss is, the survey asks respondents to self-identify whether they belong to one or more demographic groups targeted by the campaign. These consist of a diverse, but limited number of categories based on age, race, religion, gender, sexual preference, and occupational focus. Apparently the Obama campaign is not much interested in respondents who are middle-aged, white, straight, male, non-Jewish, haven’t served in the military, or who don’t particularly care about environmental issues.

But the question which really caught my attention was this one:

Mitt Romney has indicated that he would do the following five things as president. Which are you opposed to the most:

These are the choices they offer:

Now I started this post intending to flay these truth-tellers for propagating misleading claims about the presumed GOP nominee. But like with most such propaganda, there is at least a grain of truth in some of this. Take ObamaCare: of course Romney wants to repeal it! And it just so happen that the majority of Americans are behind him in this. It’s also pretty much true to say that Romney supports ending Medicare as we currently know it. And this is also a good thing since on it’s current path it won’t be long before it consumes the entire federal budget.

The other claims are misleading at best. Has Romney ever suggested he would leave troops in Afghanistan indefinitely? I know President Obama just signed a deal which will ensure our troops remain in Afghanistan until 2024, and he hasn’t committed to a complete withdrawal at that point either. What Romney has consistently said is that he would base this decision on advice from his generals, and that he would be opposed to setting an arbitrary withdrawal date based on political concerns.

Romney has also never talked about cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires. He generally supports Paul Ryan’s budget framework which would lower marginal tax rates for everyone (including the wealthy), but which would also eliminate a lot of existing tax credits and deductions in order to simplify the tax code and achieve something close to revenue neutrality. That said, Romney is going to be subject to this sort of attack until he provides more clarity on the types of credits and deductions he supports eliminating, and how they will apply across various income levels.

On Planned Parenthood, Romney has no intention of eliminating them, nor would he even have the power to do so. What he has expressed support for is eliminating the funding they receive from the federal government. And why not: even ObamaCare banned federal funding for abortion. Speaking of abortion, the claim that Romney is seeking a “ban” of the practice is patently false. Romney’s position on this issue has evolved, yes, but at most it can be said that he would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and this decision left up to the individual states.

For a group focused on telling the truth, they’ve taken an awful lot of liberty in ignoring any facts which serve to undermine their case. But this isn’t exactly a surprise. I doubt even the President’s most ardent supporters regard this “Truth Team” as anything more or less than the propaganda factory it is.

So I’ll save the outrage and ask a related question instead. Rather than lamenting this sort of nonsense, which is only beginning, should our side be more focused on framing similar attacks against President Obama? More defensible, nothing dishonest, but perhaps a little edgier than usual for the GOP? Personally I’m partial to attacks focused on the President’s reckless spending, and his irresponsibility in burdening future generations with trillions of dollars of debt. Nothing untrue (or all that edgy) with these. Any better ideas?

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