Think the Republican candidate, Willard "Mitt" Romney, won the first Presidential Debate in Denver, Colorado? Well, you're not alone.
As performances go, Romney's aggressive demeanor -- regularly interrupting the 78-year-old moderator, Jim Lehrer -- was a marked contrast from the fumbling, wooden candidate we've seen over the past 18 months. Of course, it's not the first time Romney's been so...antisocial.
Still, the overnight polls indicated that Romney clearly performed better the Democratic incumbent, President Barack Obama. But Mitt's victory on that stage in the Mile High City wasjust that...a performance.
And like most dramatic recitals, Romney's was full of...Flourishes. What should we call Romney's tirades on taxes, health care, education and President Obama's record? Exaggerations? Untruths? Etch a Sketching? Walkbacks from positions he'd taken as recently as last week's appearance on "60 Minutes?"
Think Progress did a deep dive into Romney's debate answers, and identified twenty-seven (27) specific instances where he stretched the truth into an agonized pretzel.
They did a good job, but there was at least one more, somewhere around the point where Mitt promised to defund PBS (as the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson Tweeted, "Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive"). This is perhaps the most pernicious of Romney's lies, the one he repeats every day: That he's been "a private businessman" for the past 25 years.
THAT IS FLATLY UNTRUE.
Mitt Romney stopped being a "private businessman" in 1999...by his own admission. Documents he released indicated that he "retroactively retired" from Bain Capital in 1999 to be the figurehead "in charge" of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
[Never mind that as late as 2002 his name was still on all of Bain's Securities and Exchange Commission filings as President, CEO, Chairman of the Board and Sole Shareholder of Bain. And his partners at the time certainly felt Mitt was pretty active, despite his being in Utah. He should have to answer for that, too...another time.]
From here the timeline is simple and linear:
As soon as the Olympic Torch was doused in Salt Lake City in February 2002, Mitt was actively campaigning to be Governor of Massachusetts (as a legal resident of Utah, but a GOP-heavy Board of Elections handwaved that technicality to qualify Romney as a resident of the Commonwealth, so never mind).
From January 2003 through January 2007, he was Governor. By the end of 2005 Romney announced his intention to not run for reelection, and he spent more than half of 2006 out-of-state, lining up supporters and donors for a Presidential run.
The day before his successor, Deval Patrick, was sworn in, Romney announced his "Presidential exploratory committee" -- and he made it official on 13 February 2007 with an accouncement at The Henry Ford right here in Dearborn.
Ever since then, for 68 months and counting, he has NOTHING BUT run for President. Even after Sen. John McCain secured the GOP nomination in 2008, Romney did not return to the private sector. He didn't shut down the "blind trust" for his domestic and overseas assets, accepted many speaking gigs before conservative audiences (earning $374,000 in 2010 alone, according to the one year of tax returns Romney released), and wrote the occasional op-ed to "keep his name out there" for 2012.
To recap: Willard "Mitt" Romney has been a public official and politician for the past 13 years...not a "private businessman." Which makes his statement to that effect in Denver Lie #28.