In yet another televised GOP debate last night, January 23, 2012, the main contenders for the Republican crown appeared to be Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. However as these two began to throw accusations at each other perhaps Ron Paul and Rick Santorum felt that "given enough rope the other two would hang themselves".
As it was Mitt Romney seemed to step up to the mark and become more impassioned and articulate than he has to date. Newt Gingrich who had soared in popularity last, week with obvious fire in his bell,y seemed to flounder more than once. In the end it will all depend on how the voters view the debate and what was said. It will not come down to what any of the men stand for but more likely who can come up trumps in the eyes of the electorate.
Mitt and Newt both seemed to have decided that mud slinging was their best option. Perhaps someone should have warned them that attack is the worst form of defence. In an attempt to discredit each other both looked shaky as far as trust goes.
Mitt Romney's extreme wealth and business affairs may have looked dodgy but what of Newt's dealings with troubled Freddie Mac? In the end Newt seemed to come off the worse for wear with some allegations left unanswered.
Today CBS has reported on some of the inaccuracies used by both men such as:
"GINGRICH: "When I was speaker, we had four consecutive balanced budgets."
THE FACTS: Actually, two.
The four straight years of budget surpluses were 1998 through 2001. Gingrich left Congress in 1999, so he only had a hand in surpluses for his last two years. The budget ran deficits for his first two years as speaker. The highest surplus of that four-year string came in budget year 2000, after Gingrich was out of office.Overall, the national debt went up during the four years Gingrich was speaker. In January 1995, when he assumed the leadership position, the gross national debt was $4.8 trillion. When he left four years later, it was $5.6 trillion, an increase of $800 billion.
ROMNEY: "I don't think we can possibly retake the White House if the person who's leading our party is the person who was working for the chief lobbyist of Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac was paying Speaker Gingrich $1.6 million at the same time Freddie Mac was costing the people of Florida millions upon millions of dollars."
THE FACTS: While going after Gingrich forcefully on the issue, Romney did not mention his own earnings from the government-backed lender and its sister entity, Fannie Mae, which came to light in his most recent financial disclosure report. The report shows he has as much as $500,000 invested in the two lenders. GOP presidential hopefuls almost across the board have blamed the two institutions for contributing to the housing crisis that helped to drag the nation into recession. Among Romney's ties: a mutual fund worth up to $500,000 that includes assets from both lenders among other government income, and separate investments in each of the lenders in Romney's individual retirement account, each worth between $100,000 and $250,000. Romney campaign officials said Monday the investments were handled by a trustee with no direction by the candidate.GINGRICH: "I left the speakership after the 1998 election because I took responsibility for the fact that our results weren't as good as they should be. I think that's what a leader should do. I took responsibility. And I didn't want to stay around, as Nancy Pelosi has. I wanted to get out and do other things."
ROMNEY: "He had to resign in disgrace."
RON PAUL: "I think the reason he didn't...run for speaker, you know, two years later -- he didn't have the votes. That was what the problem was. So this idea that he voluntarily reneged and he was going to punish himself because we didn't do well in the election, that's just not the way it was."
THE FACTS: Gingrich didn't exactly resign in disgrace after he became the first speaker reprimanded and fined for ethics violations, slapped with a $300,000 penalty, in January 1997. He limped to re-election as speaker after that. But his number was soon up.Within months, he was fending off a revolt from fellow Republicans weary of his antics and mercurial ways. As Paul suggested in the debate, unexpected GOP losses in the 1998 elections were the last straw for Gingrich in the eyes of House Republicans. Three days later Gingrich announced he was stepping down as speaker and giving up his seat in Congress. Paul's recollection now is supported by some of Gingrich's words back then. He told Republicans, "I'm willing to lead but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals," sounding less like a man interested in a career change than one intent on escaping a boiling pot.
RICK SANTORUM: "One of (my proposals) would be to be able to deduct losses from the sale of your home. Right now you can't do that. You have to pay gains, depending on the amount, but you can't deduct the losses, as other capital losses can be."
THE FACTS: For a brief description, it was accurate. What Santorum did not explain, in appealing to Floridians who have one of the worst housing markets in the country, is that the tax code is already stacked in favor of home ownership. Homeowners get many tax breaks from the government, most notably mortgage interest and property tax deductions. Under federal law, when you sell your private residence, you can make up to $250,000 in profit -- $500,000 if you are married -- and not owe any capital gains taxes. That's a large tax break. There's no such break if you have such a profit in selling stocks or works of art. But there is a trade-off: You can't claim a loss when you sell your private residence.
Conclusion: There is more at the CBS linked article, but you get the idea. You have to wonder just who these nominees think they are fooling when they blatantly lie or should I say are selective with the truth. Of course those tuning in may believe what they hear as fact. If they do not then check out what was said via another source the TV debate will have done the campaigner's job for them. Is it spin or is it lies? At times I guess it can be both. All the candidates right now are focused on winning. With this as their prime concern the difference between facts and fairy tales seems to have escaped them..