WASHINGTON—Mitt Romney kept fact-checkers busy Thursday night, as claims made in his acceptance speech come under scrutiny. On the morning after, some assertions by the man who would be president appear as empty as the chair in Clint Eastwood’s schtick.
Romney won applause from GOP convention delegates with this zinger: “I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour.”
That’s not how others see it, as Democrats were quick to point out. Indeed, independent fact-checking groups have proclaimed Romney’s claims as false.
PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-winning project of the Tampa Bay Times, has taken up the issue at least three times—as it did again on Friday, the day after Romney used the line in his nomination acceptance speech.
PolitiFact called Romney’s assertion “ridiculous” and gave his statement a “Pants on Fire” rating, the worst possible.
“A review of Obama’s foreign travels and remarks during his early presidency showed no evidence to support such a blunt and disparaging claim,” PolitiFact’s analysis said.
“While Obama’s speeches contained some criticisms of past US actions, he typically combined those passages with praise for the United States and its ideals, and he frequently mentioned how other countries had erred as well. We found not a single, full-throated apology in the bunch.”
The New York Times and the Washington Post agreed.
“Despite earning Four Pinocchios for this claim for months, Romney keeps saying this,” the Post wrote Friday. The paper, whose four-Pinocchio rating is its worst, said it looked at every statement the president’s critics claim was an apology and determined that each was misquoted or taken out of context. “His comments overseas were not much different than that of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush,” according to the Post.
These charges date back to the 2010 release of Romney’s book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.” In his book, Romney wrote that “There are anti-American fires burning all across the globe; President Obama’s words are like kindling to them.”
Romney’s recollection of the genesis of Bain Capital is also at odds with other accounts.
The way he put it, he was 37 when he and his partners, who had been employed by a consulting firm that dispensed business advice, “had this idea that if we really believed our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies. We should bet on ourselves and on our advice.”
That, he said, was the beginning of Bain Capital, the venture capitalist firm that earned him his fortune but also scorn from out-of-work former employees from struggling enterprises.
While Romney spoke with an air of braggadocio Thursday night, the reality was that it was not his idea to start the company; it was part of an offer from his mentor, the founder of the consulting firm Bain & Co.
According to “The Real Romney,” a book written by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman earlier this year, Romney was far more cautious in considering the offer back then.
As the book noted, it was a risk-free opportunity for Romney. He was granted his request that he be allowed to return to his old job, with all raises and benefits he would have received in the interim, should the Bain Capital idea not pan out. In addition, his bosses assured him they would protect his reputation with a cover story.