Romney pollster: Campaign not ‘dictated by fact checkers’

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 14:27 EDT
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Mitt Romney at a campaign event in Holland, Michigan on June 19, 2012. Photo: Maria Dryfhout / Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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Defending a woefully misleading ad about President Barack Obama’s welfare policies, a pollster for the Romney campaign said Monday that the former Massachusetts governor’s messaging strategies are not “dictated by fact checkers.”

Pollster Neil Newhouse, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, made the comments during an ABC News forum in Tampa, raising his voice in agreement with a fellow Romney aide’s claim that their attack on an imaginary welfare policy is actually the campaign’s most effective thus far.

The statement would seem to indicate the Romney campaign acknowledges that fact checkers in the press have universally panned the welfare attack, but they simply don’t care. Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) said there’s “no evidence” to support it, but the ad continues to air.

The short TV spot, titled “Right Choice,” claims Obama nullified a requirement that recipients of federal welfare benefits also seek new work. That didn’t happen.

In reality, the administration granted a request by Republican governors to let states opt-out of work requirement rules if they have an alternate plan that increases employment even more — a move Romney supported as governor of Massachusetts. He’s since turned his former position into an attack line, saying Obama’s willingness to work with Republican governors on welfare requirements is somehow intended to “shore up his base.”

The campaign’s insistence to continue running the ad also contradicts the standards Romney set forth for his opponent’s messaging. During a radio interview earlier in August, Romney criticized a Democratic super PAC’s ad that links Romney’s decision to shut down a steel factory to a woman’s death from cancer after her health benefits were canceled.

“You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad,” he said. “They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead. You know, the various fact checkers look at some of these charges in the Obama ads and they say that they’re wrong, and inaccurate, and yet he just keeps on running them.”

Photo: Maria Dryfhout / Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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