The HyperTexts

Mitt Romney: Fire Big Bird, Outsource Sesame Street to China!

compiled by Michael R. Burch

During his first presidential debate with President Barack Obama, the extraterrestrial android known here on earth as Willard Mitt Romney came up with a truly unique solution: fire Big Bird and outsource Sesame Street, along with the rest of PBS, most probably to China.

Big Bird Will Work for Food

President Obama pointed out Romney's absurdity: "When he was asked what he'd actually do to cut the deficit and reduce spending, he said he'd eliminate funding for public television. That was his answer. I mean thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It's about time! We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. But that's what we heard last night. How about that? Elmo, too?"

PBS quickly issued a statement saying that the publicly funded network was "very disappointed" to have been drawn into the presidential debate, noting that the federal outlay for public broadcasting was "one one-hundredth of one percent" of the nation’s budget.

The internet community was not nearly as polite, producing images of Big Bird giving Romney the bird, creating a "Big Bird for President" Facebook page, and plotting a Million Muppet March on Washington.

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Romney's suggested sacking of Big Bird set the internet a-twitter, creating a spike of 350,000 tweets (roughly 17,000 per minute). Ardent supporters of the highly popular Sesame Street character rushed to Twitter to create accounts such as @SadBigBird and @FiredBigBird, with messages like: "Mitt Romney favors Wall Street over Sesame Street." By the following morning, the remark had emerged as an Internet meme: a cultural event that gets reinterpreted in commentary and parody online. One image depicted Big Bird seated on the front stoop, next to two children, holding a sign declaring: "Will work for food." Another close-up of the feathered Muppet appeared with the caption: "Big Bird is sad. We're all sad."

The debate was the most tweeted-about political event in U.S. history. Users posted 10.3 million tweets about the 90-minute debate, eclipsing the 9.5 million tweets generated about the multi-day Democratic National Convention early last month. The Republican National Convention produced less than half that many tweets: 4 million, according to Twitter. Romney's dissing and dismissing of Big Bird didn't spark the largest reaction, however. That happened when Romney started to suggest a debate topic, saying, "Let's talk about —" and moderator Jim Lehrer quipped, "Let’s not." That phrase generated 158,690 tweets per minute, and was my favorite moment of the debate.

Romney was so rude to Lehrer that Jimmy Fallon, playing Romney in a skit about the debate, told the actor playing Lehrer to "Shut the f*** up!"

Romney looked uneasy firing Big Bird, according to body language expert Chris Kowal: "When he talked about Big Bird he looked down at his right and I suspect he was actually uncomfortable making that point. If you're uncomfortable with something you don't give great eye contact. You might look away." Kowal also said that Romney expressed "anger, contempt, scorn and pride," saying, "Those are the emotions that his voters in his base feel." Kowal is a professor at Purdue University who has studied Obama's and Romney's facial expressions since 2007. He said that the emotions Obama expressed were "positive" on the whole. Republicans claim in a new ad that Obama sported a "smirk" at times during the debate, which they suggest is a sign that he was "uncomfortable" and struggling with his answers. Kowal, however, said that Obama's face registered more frustration than uncertainty, according to his software.

While Romney professed to "love" Big Bird despite being ready to give him the ax, he has also professed to care deeply about Americans whose jobs he outsourced to China during his stint as CEO of Bain Capital. Such cold-blooded axings have left many Americans wondering if the third strike will be aimed at them. Romney comes across as an eel-slick, consummate salesman who will say and do anything necessary to "trim away the fat," in order to close a deal and make lots of money for his employers. But the "fat" seems to be "we the people," while the employers funding Romney's run for the presidency are mega-billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. If Romney succeeds in eliminating federal income taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends (the main sources of their revenues), their effective tax rates will drop to below 1%, along with Romney's. President Obama and Bill Clinton are correct that the Romney-Ryan budget math just doesn't add up: there is no way to give the super-rich such exorbitant tax breaks without either raising taxes on middle income Americans, or slashing the safety nets of the elderly, sick and poor. Or both.

Romney's main talent and the source of his own wealth is helping the rich get richer, by "trimming fat," which means liquidating jobs. He once said that he likes being able to fire people, and I see no reason not to take him at his word. He was against the federal government making loans to cash-strapped auto companies or helping homeowners facing foreclosures, but he was for much larger bailouts of his fellow Wall Street tycoons and the big banks. He recently called 47% of Americans, or roughly 150 million people, lazy freeloaders. It's not hard to see why he refuses to reveal any of the specifics of his "plans." He clearly favors the rich and successful, and sees everyone else as so much dead weight, and far more trouble than they're worth. And while Romney has promised not to raise taxes on the middle income class, he recently revealed that by "middle income" he means families who make $200,000 to $250,000 per year, even though the median income for American families is only $50,000. So Romney can't reveal the specifics of his budget plan until after the election, because he is about to ratchet up the economic suffering for all but the wealthiest Americans. He can only win the election by persuading poor- and middle-income Americans that he is their "savior," but there seems to be little doubt that his real allegiance is to the financial elite.

Some people are claiming that Romney "won" the debate, but I disagree. I think it was more like a cobra mesmerizing a mouse, preparing for the lethal strike.

President Obama seemed to see the same sort of "cobra dance," saying at a post-debate rally: "Gov. Romney may dance around his positions but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth."

Obama accused Romney of once again changing his political stripes: "I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney" because the "real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that." The president also accused Romney of misrepresenting past statements on education and outsourcing, concluding that Romney "does not want to be held accountable ... because he knows full well that we don't want what he's selling."

Obama seemed to be initially caught off guard by Romney's gigantic flip-flop on his budget "plan." For months Romney has been talking about massive new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, coupled with a massive increase in military spending. Out of blue nothing, Romney suddenly disavowed the main plank of his platform. "It was a very vigorous performance, but one that was devoid of honesty," David Axelrod said of Romney, accusing him of delivering "fraudulent" lines that will be hard to hold up over the remainder of the campaign.

Brenda Peterson suggested that Romney didn't "win" with many women, saying: "The women I spoke with who watched the debate were dismayed by Romney's rude interruptions, his high-handed dismissal of the venerable PBS moderator, Jim Lehrer, his turning away from the audience -- who should be his primary focus -- to fix his feisty attention all on President Obama. While Obama calmly addressed the audience and moderator and the world audience, Romney was riveted on Obama as if he were the only person in the room. This is the way a predator focuses on prey. It's not the behavior of someone seeking to serve and heal a country divided. This was a sports event, not an exchange of ideas affecting us all deeply. Romney's fervent goal of seizing the presidency was evident in his body language, his snobbish smirks, his false sympathy for those of us "crushed" in the middle class -- those 47 percent he so contemptuously dismissed when he was among his rich cronies. Romney's combative dogfight stance may impress men or those who have held power so long they assume it belongs to them. But women, or anyone who has been in an underclass or faced racism, read this behavior as arrogant and overly aggressive -- the language and habit of dominance."

Romney came across as an alpha male bully intent on dominance to me also, and I felt my sympathies going out to Jim Lehrer, an elderly gentleman who deserved far more respect than Romney showed him.

Brenda Peterson again: "We've had bosses, fathers, boyfriends and co-workers like Romney who invade our space, try to dominate every discussion and see every encounter as a chance to 'win,' rather than dialogue. It's the old patriarchal model that women have endured for way too long. And we can end its reign. How many women would choose to go to a prizefight over a community meeting to solve real, difficult issues that affect our lives? How many women prefer a president who is considerate, calm and thoughtful as opposed to an aggressor who is intent on seizing the prize -- whether that's a person or a country? Romney's pugilism may play well to pundits' ringside. But many women are weary of angry, entitled white men controlling our bodies and our workplaces. The prizefight is not our focus. Our future is. We can choose to continue supporting a president who was raised by a strong, thoughtful mother. She taught him to listen, to dialogue, to be gracious and always consider the people he serves. Romney is perfect as a corporate raider and billionaire. For that he needs to be fighting for a prize, to be relentless, pushy, compassionless and feverishly ambitious to get to the top. To qualify for a job as the leader of this country, he must learn to listen, to share his wealth, to practice diplomacy and most of all to be steady and calm when making world-altering decisions. Pugnacious pugilist? Yes. But Presidential? No."

While it appeared that Romney won round one of the debates by being more aggressive and decisive, he may have won by aggressively and decisively lying ...

Romney claimed that "pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan" but this was refuted after the debate by Eric Fehrnstrom, one of his top advisers. It would be up to 50 states to pass and enforce 50 laws before every American with pre-existing conditions was covered. Romney as president would have no authority over state laws, courts and legislatures. So his "plan" does not begin to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions.

Romney haughtily and condescendingly denied that American companies receive tax breaks for moving jobs overseas, as if President Obama didn't know what he was talking about. But according to Annie Lowrey of the New York Times, the tax code currently allows companies to deduct certain expenses when they move operations overseas. As part of its plan to aid the manufacturing sector and promote job growth, the Obama administration has proposed ending this deduction, and giving tax credits to companies that move jobs back to the United States.

President Obama is correct that Romney rejected a deficit reduction plan that included $10 in spending cuts for every $1 of revenue increases. At a debate in Ames, Iowa, in August 2011, Bret Baier, a Fox News moderator, asked the Republican candidates to raise their hands if they would refuse to sign a legislative package that included $10 of spending cuts for every $1 of revenue increases. Slaves to a rigid ideology, they all dutifully raised their hands.

Romney claimed that President Obama "doubled the deficit." This is a blatant lie. When Obama took office in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office had already estimated that the federal deficit in fiscal 2009 (ending in September) would be $1.2 trillion. The deficit ended up being $1.4 trillion. For fiscal 2012, the deficit was $1.1 trillion lower than when he took office. And "measured as a share of the economy, as economists prefer, the deficit has declined more significantly — from 10.1 percent of the economy's total output in 2009 to 7.3 percent for 2012."

Romney claimed that President Obama is at fault for the Solyndra affair. However, the Solyndra grant process began under the George W. Bush administration, and it received bipartisan Congressional and lobbying support. Mr. Romney campaigned at the Solyndra factory in California, where he called the venture "a symbol of gross waste," a failure of the president’s stimulus package and an example of Mr. Obama¹s poor stewardship of a shaky economy. But Republicans bear much of the blame, perhaps because neither Republicans nor Democrats have perfect crystal balls.

Romney claimed that President Obama had "cut Medicare by $716 billion to pay for Obamacare" but according to these are cuts in the future growth of spending which will prolong the life of the Medicare trust fund. There is no transfer of existing money from Medicare to Obamacare, as Romney insinuated. The New York Times writes that Obama "did not cut benefits by $716 billion over 10 years as part of his 2010 health care law; rather, he reduced Medicare reimbursements to health care providers, chiefly insurance companies and drug manufacturers. And the law gave Medicare recipients more generous benefits for prescription drugs and free preventive care like mammograms." While fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked this claim, it remains a standard attack line for Mr. Romney. The charge that Mr. Obama took $716 billion from Medicare recipients to pay for his "Obamacare" has several problems — not least the fact that Mr. Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, included the identical savings in his annual budget plans that nearly all House Republicans voted for in the past two years.

Romney denied proposing a $5 trillion tax cut, but he did, according to the New York Times, when he "proposed cutting all marginal tax rates by 20 percent — which would in and of itself cut tax revenue by $5 trillion." has weighed in on this subject, tweeting during the debate that "Romney says he will pay for $5T tax cut without raising deficit or raising taxes on middle class. Experts say that's not possible." PolitiFact has also given a "mostly true" rating to the charge that "Romney is proposing a tax plan "that would give millionaires another tax break and raise taxes on middle class families by up to $2,000 a year." As President Obama pointed out, "For 18 months, he’s been running on this tax plan [of cutting taxes for the richest Americans in the hope that some of the money will "trickle down" to less affluent Americans]. Now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big, bold idea is ... never mind." Here’s the problem. As explained in a detailed paper by the Tax Policy Center, if you cut tax rates by 20 percent, you give the wealthy a multibillion-dollar tax break. Even if you take away all of their credits and loopholes and preferential rates, they still do not owe the government as much as they did before. If the rich are paying less, then the poor and middle class must pay more in order to raise the same amount of money.

Romney said that six studies prove that Obama's charge about him raising taxes is "completely wrong." The "studies" Romney cited include two Wall Street Journal editorials, an article in the same paper by one of his own economic advisers, and two analyses by conservative think tanks. And even those studies, according to  Glenn Kessler in The Washington Post, "do not provide much evidence that Romney's proposal — as sketchy as it is — would be revenue neutral without making unrealistic assumptions."

Romney claimed that President Obama had "added almost as much to the federal debt as all the prior presidents combined." Not even close.

Romney claimed that ObamaCare creates "an unelected board that's going to tell people what kind of treatments they can have." This attempt to resurrect "death panels" was called "one of the biggest whoppers of the night" by National Journal, which calls it a line Republicans "regularly and inaccurately" use. In fact, the Medicare board created by ObamaCare is "explicitly restricted from directly cutting Medicare benefits." Its charge is to keep overall spending within a specific target. According to PolitiFact, "Romney's claim can leave viewers with the impression that the board makes health-care decisions for individual Americans, and that's not the case."

Romney claimed that half the green energy companies given stimulus funds had failed, but three out of nearly three dozen is far less than half.  Romney's claim is "a gross overstatement," according to John M. Broder in The New York Times.

Romney said, "I’m not going to cut education funding. But in the past Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have said they would do just that, particularly aid to students such as Pell grants and student loans. Romney is on the record as saying that students should borrow from their parents: "Take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents." But many parents don’t have enough money to finance their children’s educations. Romney’s father was the CEO of a major automaker, AMC, but few American children are beneficiaries of such wealth. Romney's own position paper on education says he would "refocus Pell Grants dollars on the students who need them most," suggesting that fewer people would qualify. Democrats also interpret the budget plan of his running mate, Paul Ryan, to suggest a steep cut in the size of the program. The Obama camp also points to Romney’s position that he would allow banks bank into the federal student loan system as evidence that he would cut Pell Grants. Mr. Obama eliminated the banks’ role as middlemen servicing the loans, saving billions of dollars in fees – money that is helping pay for the Pell expansion. In a speech to donors in Florida that was overheard by reporters, Mr. Romney said he would either merge the federal Education Department with another agency "or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller." As always, Romney’s "plans" are very hazy, and light on specifics, but it seems that he does intend to save money by reducing educational opportunities for less affluent students.
Romney vowed to repeal ObamaCare, but doing so would actually increase the federal deficit. This summer, after Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal the law, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that doing so would increase the federal deficit by $109 billion over the next decade. That is because the parts of the law that would require more spending to expand coverage would be offset by the parts of the law that raise new revenues and curb spending — including provisions calling to curb the growth of Medicare costs and several new taxes and fees. Repealing the law would also mean that 30 million fewer people would have health insurance in 2022, it projected.

Romney promised to create 12 million jobs over the next four years if he is elected president, but that is about how many jobs the economy is already expected to create, according to some economic forecasters.

Bishop Romney

Willard Mitt Romney is a High Priest of the Mormon Church, and once served as a Bishop over a diocese (called a "stake"). While I would not normally be concerned about a presidential candidate's religious beliefs, I would if he was a Moonie, for obvious reasons. I think we should all be concerned about a High Priest and Bishop of a bizarre cult running for president. Here are just a few of the many strange teachings of the Mormon church:

• God the Father is a polygamist who lives on the planet Kolob, where he has sex with his harem of wives.
• God the Father had physical sex with Mary.
• Mormon men will become Gods.
• Mormon wives can only enter heaven if their husbands consent; in heaven they will remain eternally pregnant, bearing innumerable spirit children.
• Jesus was and is a polygamist.
• Human beings are not saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but by participating in the secret sacraments of the Mormon temple.
• Because salvation depends on temple sacraments, Mormon priests can sentence people to hell, by excommunicating them.
• This, of course, gives the Mormon church and its priests tremendous power over church members.

There are many credible reports of the Mormon church using that power to brainwash and control its members. And it turns out that Bishop Romney has been accused of using ruthless, cold-blooded and high-handed tactics himself, especially against women (which is not surprising in a cult whose most famous—or infamous—teaching is polygamy). For instance, Peggy Hayes, an ex-Mormon who once babysat Bishop Romney's children, said that when she was single and expecting, Bishop Romney showed up at her house one day, demanding that she surrender her baby to the church, via adoption. When she indignantly refused, Bishop Romney "somewhat casually" threatened her with excommunication, which in effect was to threaten her with hell. It seems Bishop Romney had appointed himself a God, here on earth, with the power to save women, or condemn them to hell. Is this the person we want in our nation's highest office?

Today, Peggy Hayes says, "My son was a gift to me," and "I'm so glad that I didn't listen to Mitt's advice." She rejected Bishop Romney's male chauvinism and false religion. And she thinks he's unfit to be president because "He follows the doctrines [of the Mormon church] so closely that he can't waver from it much."

Mitt's Magical Undies

As a High Priest of the Mormon Church, the devout Bishop Romney must wear magical undergarments with special occult symbols that, according to Mormon dogma, protect Mormons from lust, supernatural entities (demons) and various other dangers.

Kay Burningham, a lawyer who left Mormonism, explains: "It’s very cultish in its behavior and what it demands of its people. It doesn’t allow free thought and it makes them perform these legalistic, symbolic, very strange behaviors, and tells them that those are required of God for their salvation." When Kay married a Mormon she was given magical underwear on her wedding day. She recalls that on the morning after her wedding night, "I awoke drenched in sweat, and found symbolic markings over the magic undergarments I was wearing." Bizarre occult signs had been placed over her breasts and naval: "They resembled pagan signs, Masonic markings and had nothing whatsoever to do with God or religion." She was required to wear these church-endorsed undergarments every day, beneath her outer clothing.

Park Romney

Park Romney is a former Mormon high priest. He is also Mitt Romney’s second cousin and bears a striking resemblance to his famous relative. He calls Mormonism "an insidious contemporary fraud" and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "an American cult." Bishop Romney, he claims, would be conflicted in office because "obedience to the leadership of the Mormon Church is part of the covenant of the temple ordinances to which Mitt Romney is absolutely a party."

The two visions of Mormonism the Romney cousins represent are starkly opposed. Mitt Romney was a Mormon missionary to France in the 1960s, studied at the almost-exclusively Mormon Brigham Young University, and rose to become first a Bishop, then a "Stake President" (diocesan leader). He led Sunday services, ran Bible classes for children and presided over a 4,000-strong congregation in Boston for five years in the 1980s. Like all Mormons, he is expected to give 10% of his annual income to the Church and not drink tea, coffee or alcohol. Committed Mormons wear magical underpants, and Romney is believed to follow this tenet of his faith too.

Park Romney's criticisms of the LDS church are fundamental. Along with other ex-Mormons, he questions founder Joseph Smith's prophecies: for example, his "translation" of an Egyptian scroll, part of the Mormon book of Abraham, which Egyptologists say is a fraud. Mormons believe Smith found golden scripture plates buried by an angel, but according to Park Romney, "There's compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the Church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable." Such accusations are rarely heard in the US, a nation founded on the principle of freedom of religion. "It's not something you're supposed to talk about," says Professor Robert Putnam of Harvard Kennedy School. "Whenever the issue of Romney's Mormonism has come to the surface, there's been lots of condemnation across the political spectrum for raising the issue of his religion. I'm not saying it's not relevant, but it's not talked about in polite company."

According to Park Romney the Mormon leadership are "masters of mendacity" who brainwash their followers in order to take their money and control their lives. If he's right, Mitt Romney is either hopelessly gullible, or one of the cynical manipulators. In either case, he is not presidential material.

Bishop Rotney Ridicules NASCAR Fans

While Bishop Romney is not a fan of NASCAR racing, he has "some great friends who are NASCAR team owners." But he doesn't seem to think much of NASCAR fans. He mocked race-goers he saw wearing plastic rain ponchos, saying: "I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks."

Why does Romney speak and act so boorishly to people who are not incredibly wealthy? In his own words he explains that being rich and famous is the key to happiness: "When I was a boy ... when I was a boy ... I used to think that becoming rich and becoming famous would make me happy ... boy was I right!" So according to Romney, money really does make the world go 'round, and he seems to be unhappy with anyone who's not in his economic class.

Bishop Romney Accuses Ordinary Americans of Envy

Mitt Romney has accused President Obama of promoting the "bitter politics of envy." And according to Romney, if you question the motives and tactics of Wall Street and the big banks, you too are full of bitter envy. Here's an illuminating exchange on the Today Show ...

MATT LAUER: When you said that we already have a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy, I'm curious about the word "envy." Did you suggest that anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? Is it about jealousy, or fairness?

ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it's about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on 99 percent versus one percent, and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent, you have opened up a wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God. The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it.

LAUER: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?

ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It's a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.

So if you and I question the way Wall Street and the big banks act, then according to Mitt the Ripper, we must be envious!

Bishop Romney Expresses Compassion for Corporations and Banks, but not Average Americans

One of the strangest things about Mitt Romney is that he seems to care more about banks and other corporations than human beings. He actually said:

Corporations are people, my friend ... of course they are ... human beings, my friend.
Banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now ... scared to death ... feeling the same thing that you're feeling.

Romney opposed bailouts for Detroit autoworkers and homeowners, but supported much larger bailouts for the bankers and Wall Street tycoons who helped create the debt crisis. One of the oddest things I have ever heard a politician say is this statement by the Romneybot:

Now, the banks aren't bad people. They're just overwhelmed right now. They're overwhelmed with a lot of things. One is a lot of homes coming in, that are in foreclosure or in trouble ...

In other words, we should have compassion for banks, because they are foreclosing on so many houses that they're having trouble keeping up! Romney also said:

The banks are scared to death, of course. They're feeling the same thing that you're feeling. And so they just want to pretend that all this is just going to get paid some day.

But banks don't have babies and children to feed. They don't have elderly parents and grandparents who face health and financial problems as they age. Yes, banks can have problems. But how can anyone equate a bank's problems with those of families that confront suffering and possibly death if family members become homeless or can't obtain proper medical care?

The statements above were made by Mitt Romney during campaign speeches in Florida, as he asked people to have compassion for banks because they were being overwhelmed with foreclosed houses. Speaking in shirtsleeves beneath a blazing sun, Romney reinforced earlier statements he had made about the need to let the foreclosures continue:

Let it [the foreclosure crisis] run its course and hit the bottom.

His comments echoed his sentiments expressed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board:

Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.

Romney then took a swipe at Newt Gingrich, who at that time led him by four points in Gallup's rolling Florida polls. Recycling a line from his recent debate in Tampa, he said Gingrich was "peddling influence" as a consultant to Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant that Romney said was one of the biggest causes of the housing crisis, built on a pile of government-guaranteed debt. "We can't have an influence peddler leading our party," said Romney, standing on a makeshift stage in front of a one-story house that was in the process of foreclosure.

Gingrich in his response pointed out that Romney made millions of dollars from his investments in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Goldman Sachs: "So maybe Governor Romney in the spirit of openness should tell us how much money he’s made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments?"

Hypocrite Mitt

After Bishop Romney refused to disclose more than two years of his tax returns and his wife Ann imperiously told the American public that "you people" have no right to question how the Regal Romneys live so affluently, it turns out that Mitt Romney required the people on his short list of potential VP candidates to provide him with ten years of their tax returns! Once again he declines to lead by example. In response to questions about the ten-year requirement for potential VPs, Romney campaign press secretary Andrea Saul declined comment. "We do not discuss the VP selection process," she wrote in an email. It seems Hypocrite Mitt intends to keep the game rigged, by having one set of rules for himself and his super-rich patrons, and a more "taxing" set of rules for everyone else. Mitt's modus operandi is "Do as I command, not as I do myself."

Last August, Obama campaign chief Jim Messina suggested a compromise: If Romney agreed to release five years of tax returns, Team Obama would declare a cease-fire and stop calling for more years of returns. Romney rejected the offer. Thus, it seems clear that he was doing something prior to 2010 that he doesn't want the American public to know about. Even staunch conservatives like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and William Kristol have castigated Romney for failing to disclose more tax returns.

Lewd, Crude, Rude and Obnoxious

Willard Mitt Romney has a long history of insulting and bullying other people. Here is a transcript of the filmed testimony of Cheryl Arnett, a Craig, Colorado first grade teacher who was invited to participate in a roundtable with Mitt Romney: "When I was asked to speak with Mitt Romney, it seemed like a very important thing to me and I wanted to put a lot of careful thought into what I would say, so I went to the roundtable discussion, very optimistic and interested in hearing what he had to say. When he sat down one, of the questions he asked was: 'I understand there’s a teacher here today, which one of you is the teacher?' So I raised my hand thinking that’s a good thing, he’s interested in education. But it wasn’t a good thing. I – I felt like his view was a little old-fashioned. I was surprised by it. He went on to kind of lecture me about schools and how bad they are. He talked bad about the teachers' union. He was talking about the importance of private schools and voucher systems. At one point, I said to him: 'I have an answer for that.' And he said: 'I didn’t ask you a question!' When I think of Mitt Romney I don’t think of a person that could really relate to small-town Craig, Colorado. Although he came here, I don’t think that his life experience would allow him to really understand the perspective of people that live in a small town. One of the things I like best that Obama has done for education is that he is releasing states from 'no child left behind.' Colorado is one of the states lucky enough to be released. I did not become a teacher to become wealthy or powerful. I became a teacher to make a difference. It’s important to us to have a government and a leader that respects us, who will listen to us even if he doesn’t agree with us. We need to have open conversation and open communication between educators and government, and I think President Obama is the one to do that."

Romney's Healthcare Solution: Wait until the Uninsured are on Death's Door, then let them go to Emergency Rooms!

CBS News: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?

Mitt Romney: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people—we—if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care.

But should we wait until people are on death's door before we think about ways to help them? Doesn't waiting until they need ambulances and emergency rooms drive up the cost of healthcare? When people don't have bread to eat, should we echo Marie Antoinette and say, "Let them eat [nonexistent] cake!" When they have chronic health conditions, should we let their health deteriorate until their conditions become acute, then cavalierly say, "Let them go to emergency rooms!"

Romney loves to talk about American exceptionalism. During his recent visits to England, Israel and Poland, he praised each nation's culture and economy. But all three nations have universal healthcare, as do all the more advanced free world democracies. How can Americans be exceptional if they can't do what so many other nations have done successfully? And Romney himself helped establish universal healthcare for Massachusetts, when he was governor there. So why does he attack President Obama for trying to help all Americans have access to quality healthcare, before they need ambulances and emergency rooms?

Mr. Flip Flop

Willard Mitt Romney finally released a tax return for 2011, showing that he paid a higher tax rate than required, by not deducting all his contributions to charity. The press immediately unearthed a Romney quote from July: "If I had paid more [federal income taxes] than are legally due, I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president." So by his own definition, Mitt the Flopple is also Unfit Mitt. He has pulled off a sort of reverse miracle, by managing to become even less convincing than Richard Milhous Nixon. Even their names sound eerily similar. Tricky Dick, meet Wily Willy.

What Romney's Conservative Allies Say about Him

Here is what his Republican allies have to say about "Multiple Choice" Mitt Romney's serial flip-flopping, lack of honesty, various other deficiencies, and general money-grubbing madness ...

Republican senator and former presidential nominee John McCain: "Gov. Romney has taken two positions on every issue."

Another widely respected Republican presidential candidate, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, said: "We just call him a serial flip-flopper."

Former New York mayor and hero of 911, Rudy Giuliani: "I have run a lot of elections, supported a lot of people, [and] I have never seen a guy change his position on so many things, so fast, on a dime."

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum: "This is someone who doesn’t have a core. He’s been on both sides of every single issue in the past ten years. This is someone who will say anything to get elected. People want the genuine article. If Romney is an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble, because he was 47th out of 50 in job creation in his state of Massachusetts when he was governor."

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told CNN: "I think he's certainly being dishonest about his own record. When he said that he had the endorsement of the NRA, he did not. When he says that he didn't raise taxes, in fact there were $500 million in fees that were raised during his time [as governor of Massachusetts] ... He's making up stuff ... It's just incredible ... It's not true ... "

Another Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, in a campaign ad said: "Mitt Romney will do and say anything to become President. Anything."

Asked directly by CBS News chief White House correspondent Norah O’Donnell if he thought Romney was a liar, Gingrich said bluntly, "Yes."

Brit Hume on FOX News Sunday: "You're only allowed a certain number of flips before people start to doubt your character. And I think Romney exhausted his quota sometime back. And these fresh ones, I think are over the limit, and I think they hurt, and I don't think the fact that he's flipping in the direct that the Republicans would like will help very much because I think they don't trust him."

Another Republican presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman, told CNN: "You can’t be a perfectly lubricated weather vane on the important issues of the day, whether it’s Libya, whether it’s the debt ceiling, whether it’s the discussion around the Kasich bill in Ohio, where Gov. Romney has been missing in action in terms of showing any kind of leadership."

Rand Paul told National Review: "I do not yet know if I will find a Romney presidency more acceptable on foreign policy. But I do know that I must oppose the most recent statements made by Mitt Romney in which he says he, as president, could take us to war unilaterally with Iran, without any approval from Congress."

Please click here to read more Republican and Conservative criticism of Mitt Romney.

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