Mitt was more truthful than Santorum and Gingrich!

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The standard take on politicians is that they lie. As the old joke goes, “How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving!”

I started this post a couple of days ago with that lede after seeing Gingrich and Santorum supporters repeating the Mitt is a liar!” accusations on Twitter. Then yesterday I camr across this piece on ABC News, which provides some insights into what New Gingrich thought of the campaign he had run, which I found quite interesting. Unfortunately, when asked whether Newt still believes Mitt Romney is a liar, he responded::

I still believe the Romney campaign said things that weren’t true. I also believe that compared to Barack Obama, I would trust Mitt Romney 100 times over.

Our friend Nancy French at Evangelicals for Mitt pointed out that Katrina Trinko, writing at The Corner on National Review Online had reported the same occurrence. After reporting the same quote provided above from ABC News, Trinko went a bit further, pointing out how Blitzer had continued to press Gingrich on the issue of whether or not he thinks Mitt is a liar, a point left out of the ABC News report:

BLITZER: Forget about the Romney campaign. Is Mitt Romney — is Mitt Romney a liar?

GINGRICH: The governor said things at times that weren’t true.

BLITZER: So the answer is yes.

GINGRICH: I also believe that compared to Barack Obama I would trust Mitt Romney 100 times over.

The omission from one report to the other is interesting and reflects the meme attached to Mitt during the campaign that continues to affect how he is viewed today. Anyone who supports his candidacy and has followed the Republican Primaries has heard (more times than they want to remember!) how the Super PAC that supported Mitt supposedly “carpet bombed” various states with “lies” about his opponents. Those of us who know Mitt have been quick to point out that his supporters in the Super PAC were merely standing up to the lies being spread about him by pointing out problems with the truth that the others seemed to be having.

The assertions among Gingrich supporters on Twitter, combined with these two reports on the fact that Newt is repeating the same line from the campaign, make what I set out to report all the more pertinent.

Thinking it would be interesting to find some objective way to assess the relative truthfulness of the top three major candidates in the Republican race, I turned to PolitiFact of the Tampa Bay Times for their pages on Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum and compiled the following table:

Data from PolitiFact Fact Check (3 May 2012)

One clear observation is the extent to which Mitt’s statements were subjected to fact checks more than the other two combined says something in and of itself. One can easily conclude that without the “Mitt is a liar!” meme being bounced around non-stop, the folks at the Pulitzer Prize winning PolitiFact would not be checking so many of his statements.

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