Romney misleads voters 27 times in 38 minutes at the first debate – Think Progress lays them out.
Daily Kos is setting out Romney’s many misrepresentations too.
Steve Benen has it right. We can’t decide who won a debate without considering the extent to which the candidates told the truth:
President Obama, meanwhile, was listless and timid. He stumbled on his words. At times he seemed distracted and unfocused. There were key opportunities for the president to go on the offensive, but for whatever reason, he chose not to engage. For pundits checking boxes — who gave the appearance of being “in control”? — Romney excelled.
But all of this overlooks an element I like to think it sometimes important: substance. The men on the stage last night aren’t actors; they’re candidates for the nation’s highest office. Delivering lines well is a nice quality, but as the dust settles, it’s worth pausing to reflect on whether those lines were true and reflect reality in any meaningful way.
Indeed, it seems to me Romney thrived in large part because he abandoned the pretense of honesty. And as it turns out, winning a debate is surprisingly easy when a candidate decides he can say anything and expect to get away with it.
A key relevant term: Gish Gallop
The Gish Gallop, named after creationist Duane Gish, is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood in real time. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. The formal debating jargon term for this is spreading. You can hear some mindboggling examples here. It arose as a way to throw as much rubbish into five minutes as possible. In response, some debate judges now limit number of arguments as well as time. However, in places where debating judges aren’t there to call bullshit on the practice, like the internet, such techniques are remarkably common.