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Fact check: Mitt Romney's acceptance speech

  • August 31, 2012 - 8:20 PM
In his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney focused more on his biography than his policy positions. But there were moments when his facts went awry or were missing key context.

12 MILLION JOBS

The claim: "Unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs."

The facts: This sounds like a pretty bold statement, especially considering that only two presidents -- Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who both served two terms -- created more than 12 million jobs. Romney says he could reach this same goal in just four years, although the policy paper his campaign issued contains few details. It is mostly a collection of policy assertions, such as reducing debt, overhauling the tax code, fostering free trade and so forth.

But the number is even less ambitious than it sounds. His pledge amounts to an average of 250,000 new jobs per month, a far cry from the 500,000 positions a month that Romney claimed would be part of a "normal recovery." In recent months, the economy has averaged about 150,000 jobs per month.

The Congressional Budget Office is required to consider the effects of the "fiscal cliff" if a year-end budget deal is not reached, which many experts think would push the country into a recession. But even with that caveat, the nonpartisan agency assumes that 9.6 million jobs will be created in the next four years. Moody's Analytics, in an August forecast, predicts 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, no matter who is president. And Macroeconomic Advisors in April predicted a gain of 12.3 million jobs. In other words, this is a fairly safe bet by Romney.

APOLOGY TOUR

The claim: "I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour."

The facts: This is one of Romney's signature lines, but we tracked down every statement President Obama uttered that partisans said was an apology, and concluded that each one had been misquoted or taken out of context. His comments were not much different from those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Indeed, on several occasions Bush apologized to foreign governments for the actions of errant U.S. troops, such as the shooting of a Qur'an or the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. "I told him I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families," Bush said at a 2004 news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah.

TAXING THE MIDDLE CLASS

The claim: "Unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class."

The facts: Romney appears to be referring to mandates in the health-care law, but overall, Obama has cut taxes broadly for the middle class. He has extended Bush tax cuts, included a "Making Work Pay" credit in the stimulus bill, and reduced payroll taxes by two percentage points in the past two years. Obama has called for raising the taxes of people making more than $250,000 a year.

SECURITY

The claim: "His trillion-dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk."

The facts: Romney attributes planned military cuts entirely to Obama, but they are the result of a 2011 budget deal between Obama and congressional Republicans that avoided a default on the national debt. Leaders agreed to include additional automatic cuts to the military as an incentive to reach a broader deal, but a congressional "supercommittee" was unable to reach an agreement. Obama has proposed raising taxes on the wealthy to end the impasse, but congressional Republicans have rejected that proposal.

WASHINGTON POST

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