Romney misleads voters 27 times in 38 minutes at the first debate

October 4, 2012 | By | 6 Replies More

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.


Category: Corporatocracy, Corruption, Orwellian, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (6)

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  1. Edgar Montrose says:

    I have this fantasy that, in a debate as important as this, every time a candidate lies, a big red “X” appears on the TV screen, accompanied by the “nasty” buzzer sound … just like on Family Feud. In this day of instant access to information, it wouldn’t be difficult to do.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Or how about empowering the moderator to cut the microphone of any candidate who either A) doesn’t answer the question, or B) disobeys the ground rules of the debate?

    • Edgar Montrose says:

      Yes, I thought of that, too. Rush Limbaugh does it; why not Jim Lehrer?

  2. Jay says:

    Out right lying has become a political tool this election. How requiring an oath with perjury the penalty of willingly doing this? Evidently the standard of moral integrity is not enough.

  3. Tim Hogan says:

    Of course Romney lied, and he’ll keep on lying all the way to the White House. But, facts don’t matter in Republican World!

    What matters is to keep telling the same lies about the same thing with an authoritative tone of voice while on TV. Afterwards, your staff “walks you back” from the lies but, 60 million people don’t see or hear the retraction or clarification. Your lame/tame media is appeased by the retraction and doesn’t call any Republican out on any of the lies so the lies become the dominant themes of the Presidential race not the truth.

    “It’s Republican World, where the Earth’s three moons shine all day and all the poor people are dead. It’s Republican World, where ideology rules the day and facts don’t cloud your head.” (c) 2012, Tim Hogan

    PS Erich, there’s a tune to Republican World, if you want to hear it!

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