More Evidence That Republicans Wrong In Playing Politics With Libya

The echo chamber of the right wing noise machine has invented a myth that it took Barack Obama fourteen days to call the attack in Libya an act of terrorism. Many right wing blogs are attacking Candy Crowley for confirming the fact that Obama did refer to this as an act of terrorism on September 12. For the sake of discussion, let’s ignore his statement of the 12th as, certainly if the right wingers are wrong, there should be further statements referring to this as terrorism before two weeks had passed. We have to go all the way to the next day to find documentation that Obama was referring to the attack as an act of terrorism. From a speech in Colorado on September 13:

Let me say at the outset that obviously our hearts are heavy this week — we had a tough day a couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya.  Yesterday I had a chance to go over to the State Department to talk to friends and colleagues of those who were killed.  And these were Americans who, like so many others, both in uniform and civilians, who serve in difficult and dangerous places all around the world to advance the interests and the values that we hold dear as Americans.

And a lot of times their work goes unheralded, doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it is vitally important.  We enjoy our security and our liberty because of the sacrifices that they make.  And they do an outstanding job every single day without a lot of fanfare.  (Applause.)

So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice.  (Applause.)  I want people around the world to hear me:  To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.  No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And I’ve directed my administration to do whatever is necessary to protect all Americans who are serving abroad.  It’s one of my highest priorities as President.  And we’re also in contact with other governments to underscore that they’ve got an obligation to cooperate with us to protect our citizens.  That’s part of their job.

In any situation such as this, the fog of war is going to make it difficult to say with certainty what exactly happened in the initial hours after such an event. The Obama administration reacted appropriately in keeping their minds open over details such as whether demonstrations over the anti-Muslim video played a part. In contrast, Mitt Romney acted irresponsibly in jumping to conclusions and playing politics with the deaths of Americans before all the facts were in.

It is an example of the degree to which conservatives, including Mitt Romney, accept the false information of the right wing noise machine that they continue to believe Libya is an issue which can be used to their benefit. Besides being totally wrong in their claim that Obama didn’t refer to this as an act of terrorism for two weeks, testimony before Congress showed that increased security would not have prevented the killings. Further damaging to the Republican position is the fact that it was the Republicans who had cut funding for security below levels requested by the Obama administration. I wonder if Mitt Romney, who has never let a fact stand in his way of an attack, will bring this up again in the next debate, or if he learned his lesson after walking into this trap.

Shorter Mitt Romney: A Woman’s Place Is In Her Binder

Binders full of women has become the most quoted line from last night’s debate, now with its own web site and Facebook page. Maybe this is actually some sort of Mormon euphemism, because it is just outright false that Romney has ever shown any concern for hiring more women. Here’s the story behind this latest Romney  lie and where the binder really came from:

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct — and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.

I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.

Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)

Third, note that in Romney’s story as he tells it, this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?

Well, one reason Romney did not know where to find qualified women is that Bain and the private equity field were male-dominated.His record in Massachusetts was not very good, with  “a  University of Massachusetts study showing that by November of 2006, the level of women as a percentage of senior level positions had dropped to lower than it was when Romney took office.”

Barack Obama made reference to the line while campaigning:

Obama made a passing reference Wednesday to the remark still buzzing with memes and snarky comments in the Twitterverse after last night’s match-up.

“We don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women ready to learn and teach in these fields right now,” Obama said to supporters in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

He continued: “When young women graduate, they should get equal pay for equal work. That should be a simple question to answer.”

We can’t get a straight answer from Mitt Romney on this, and many other, issues. He has been opposed to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act from the start, even if unwilling to answer the question last night.

More Romney distortions from the debate can be found here, his obfuscations on birth control and abortion here,  and still more on why Romney’s policies are bad for womenhere.

Obama Gets Needed Victory In Second Presidential Debate

Barack Obama showed up for tonight’s debate and achieved a decisive, and necessary, victory after his poor showing two weeks ago. Romney was often incoherent as he avoided answering questions. He set a new record for flip-flopping as he contradicted himself on jobs in the same debate. Romney argued both that the government doesn’t create jobs and claimed he would create jobs. His stock answer to many questions was “I know how to do that” without ever saying how. He later gave a variation, claiming he has done things for the economy in Massachusetts. If that is the case, why was he a one-term governor, and why is he trailing Obama by over twenty points in Massachusetts?

Romney outright avoided answering questions such as whether he supported equal pay for equal work (in the past opposing this). He hid from his past positions opposing reproductive rights. Candy Crowley chastised Romney for failing to answer the question about assault weapons. Romney thought he was going in for the kill, repeating the right wing spin on Libya. Unfortunately for Romney, Crowley was in the Rose Garden when Obama did mention terrorism the day after the attack. Obama demonstrated that Romney has adopted views far to the right of George Bush, and Romney even gave him the opening to challenge Romney on his 47 percent comment.

My Facebook comments and tweets from during the debate follow. From very early, it was clear that this would be a totally different debate from the first:

Yes, Obama is fighting back this time, exposing Romney lies.

How many are so gullible as to fail to realize that Romney’s cuts on capital gains and dividends is a break for people like him?

All the details on the tax plan which Romney is leaving out tonight:

Romney is debating like Joe Biden, except without the facts.

Romney ran Olympics thanks to federal aide–hardly an example of balancing a budget. (In addition, he left Massachusetts with a deficit.)

Question on women’s pay goes to an Obama strength. To be fair the next question should be a multi-millionaire asking how each candidate how they would help the rich get richer.

Why wasn’t this Obama around two weeks ago?

Finally got a chance to remind everyone that Osama bin Laden is dead.

Ask anything and Romney will reply with “I know how to do that” without a single detail.

Romney will increase jobs. Romney is creating a need for many new fact checkers in this debate alone.

Shocking. Romney got his numbers wrong. Fact check: A closer look at Romney’s claims on Obama jobs record.

If this was a sit-com, Obama would be doing so well that he would be ending all his responses with Bazinga or Legendary.

“That’s not how a Commander-in-Chief operates…” (An exchange which was devastating to Romney)

Can’t wait to see how Fox spins this as a Romney win, or even claims that Romney had any sensible answers tonight.

Good to see Candy Crowley point out that Obama was right and Romney was lying re Libya. Wish there was more fact checking

Two arguments which are not winners for Republicans: Libya and Fast & Furious. Only the right wing echo chamber follows these arguments.

Candy pointing out that Romney not answering questions re assault weapons ban, and pointing out how he changed is position.

A candidate is really desperate when his reply to a debate question is “I believe in God.”

If Romney has really done these things, how come Mass. voters don’t want him?

Romney’s new math on jobs doesn’t add up.

John Kerry doing a great job of tearing apart all of Romney’s arguments on CNN right now.

The big question is the degree to which this turns things around. Obama appeared to have a sure victory going into the first debate. The combination of a poor debate style and repeated news reports of his loss gave considerable momentum to Romney over the past two weeks. I fear that the poor impression from the first debate will still cost Obama some votes, but the second debate should shore up Obama’s lead in key states such as Ohio. The Democratic candidates have now won two out of three debates, with one left to go.

Update: Shorter Mitt Romney: A Woman’s Place Is In Her Binder