Hobgoblin Alert: Behind Barack Obama’s False Abortion Ad

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The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” –H.L. Mencken

If you live in a swing state, your nation sends its apologies. Perhaps you can just break your television. No grown man or woman should be subjected to something like $1 billion in negative advertising, which is what you are about to face. For everyone else, here’s a sneak peak at what you will be missing, the latest attack ad from Barack Obama, which is centered on a clear untruth.

Here is the part that is false: “Romney backed a law that outlaws all abortion even in cases of rape or incest.” Romney has not backed a law like that.

His stated position since 2005, when he went from being a pro-choice politician to a pro-life politician, is that he supports an exemption for rape, incest and risk to the life of the mother. He said it here to the Des Moines Register in December of 2011, and here in the National Review in June of 2011. He said it all through the 2007 campaign. He even said it in 2005 in a Boston Globe Op-Ed announcing the end of his pro-choice approach to politics. “I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother,” he wrote. Not much nuance there.

But the hobgoblin of a politician opposing abortion with an exemption for rape and incest is far less scary than the hobgoblin of a politician who believes a raped woman must bring the resulting child to term. So the Obama campaign has made up a scary falsehood. They justify the falsehood by pointing to this single exchange from a 2007 debate, in which Romney says he would hypothetically like the idea of an America with a broad consensus that all abortion was a bad thing. Here is the exchange:

QUESTIONER: Hello, my name is AJ. I’m from Millstone, New Jersey. I would all of the candidates to give an answer on this. If hypothetically, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it? Yes or no? …
ROMNEY: I agree with Senator Thompson, which is we should overturn Roe v. Wade and return these issues to the states. I would welcome a circumstance where there was such a consensus in this country that we said, we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period. That would be wonderful. I’d be delighted.
CNN’s ANDERSON COOPER: The question is: Would you sign that bill?
ROMNEY: Let me say it. I’d be delighted to sign that bill. But that’s not where we are. That’s not where America is today. Where America is is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade and return to the states that authority. But if the Congress got there, we had that kind of consensus in that country, terrific.

This was not a discussion about whether or not there should be a rape or incest exemption. And Romney never said he would sign a federal law outlawing abortion (with or without the exemption, it is not clear) unless there was a consensus that in the country that this was the right thing to do. “But that’s not where we are,” Romney said. For both of those reasons, there is no contradiction with Romney’s dozens of statements before and after this debate supporting a rape and incest exemption.

The Obama campaign further argues that since Romney supports the Republican platforms of 2004 and 2008, his clear statements supporting an exemption for rape and incest can be ignored. The platforms call for “Human Life Amendment to the Constitution” and legislation to “to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” This is an old debate that resurfaces every four years. George W. Bush made it clear in 2000 that the platform was intentionally vague, so that it would make room for a rape and incest exemption. Here is an exchange from a debate Bush had with John McCain in the Republican Primary in 2000:

McCain: George, do you believe in the exemption in abortion, case of abortion, for rape, incest and life of the mother?
Bush: Yes, I do. I do.
McCain: Then, you know, it’s interesting, you were talking about printed material that’s mailed out. Here’s one that says that George W. Bush supports the pro-life plank. The pro-life plank.
Bush: I do.
McCain: Yes. So in other words …
Bush: Yes …
McCain: … your position is that you believe there’s an exemption for rape, incest and the life of the mother, but you want the platform that you’re supposed to be leading to have no exemption.
Bush: Yes, but …
McCain: Help me out there, will you? …
Bush: The platform talks about – it doesn’t talk about what specifically should be in the Constitutional amendment. … The platform speaks about a Constitutional amendment. It doesn’t refer to how that Constitutional amendment ought to be defined.

Bush never wavered from this position. In 2006, his White House spokesman continued to say that Bush supported a rape and incest exemption, two years after Bush reelection on a platform the Obama campaign now thinks makes Romney oppose the exemption. In fact, Romney has, on this issue, the same position at George W. Bush. For that matter, Romney has the same position at John McCain, who also supported the rape and incest exemption, and even attempted to explicitly include it in the GOP platform, without success.

Will there be a cost for Obama in running an ad that is so clearly false? Only if he wants voters to believe he is not a typical politician. As it stands, neither man running to lead this country seem to be having trouble sleeping at night. Both campaigns love to quote fact checkers to defend themselves, and then put out ads that contain clear falsehoods, which are condemned by fact checkers. Remember the Romney campaign’s first 2012 spot, which suggested that Obama said “if we keep talking about the economy we’re going to lose,” when Obama was actually quoting someone else saying that? It too was a hobgoblin, which the Romney campaign justified by putting out a press release that admitted the deception. Obama even calls his own fact checking operation the Truth Team, which is a lofty title increasingly easy to disassemble.

But perhaps Obama only says he wants people to view him as something other than a typical politician, which is a different thing altogether. In that case, you play the game like the rest, and try to put on a braver face. To quote America’s greatest cynic, H.L. Mencken again, “A good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”

105 comments
whitechildren
whitechildren

The US Founders never would have imagined an American elite so corrupt that they would dissolve the people and import a new one. But how about the WHITES? There future?

How is this not genocide:

White countries are being flooded by non-whites. We are told to be TOLERANT. We are forced to integrate.

With assimilation we see the extinction of one race only, the white race. Its not funny, not comedy, its white genocide.

Denis McCormick
Denis McCormick

The ad says he backed a law that outlines all abortions.  This is the lie and everything that comes after should be discounted as such.  However, the liberals and the media will do whatever they can to argue these facts.  A lie is a lie, but Obama will allow the media to create stories that will hurt Romney and hide the facts regarding his Presidency.

John Jakubczyk
John Jakubczyk

Why would any one support publicly funding a group like Planned Parenthood that kills over 300,000 babies a year?

As for opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest, lets all think this  through: In an case of incest, the abortion helps to keep the sexual abuse secret. The predator can continue to harm the female victim and no one is the wiser. It happened in Phoenix a number of years ago where the 23 year old son was abusing a 14 year old and he took her to Planned Parenthood for TWO abortions before the abuse was discovered.

As for the rape issue, why is it that we are quick to kill the other innocent victim of the rape, the child? I say punish the offender, not the victim.

Mr. Scherer is correct that Romney has not completely embraced a 100% pro-life position in his statements. But he is far better than the alternative who not only wants the government dictating our health care decisions with Obama-care, but wants to fund groups like PP who support human trafficking and gender and race selected abortion.

sirjonk
sirjonk

Romney told Mike Huckabee he'd "absolutely" support a constitutional amendment which defined LIFE as beginning at CONCEPTION.  Such an amendment, by definition, cannot provide wiggle room for abortion in cases of rape or incest.  Such a law would overturn Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood, which is why it would need to be in the form of a constitutional amendment.

http://thinkprogress.org/justi... 

sirjonk
sirjonk

Romney told Mike Huckabee he'd "absolutely" support a "personhood" constitutional amendment defining life as beginning at conception.  Such a law, by definition, cannot have exceptions to allow abortion for rape and incest. 

http://thinkprogress.org/justi... 

Doug Muder
Doug Muder

There's nothing "clearly false" about the ad. Yes, you can quote instances in which Romney supported a rape/incest exemption. But (as with everything Romney) he has also said the opposite. The ad may fail to portray the full range of Mitt Romney's flip-flopping, but it's not false.

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Goes to show that fair and balanced can be somewhat achieved even in the liberal media. Despite hiding the fact in the headline for this post by M Scherer that Obama's crack team of campaign goons lied about Romney's abortion record.  

Suffice it to also say Obama LIED about ObamaCare.  "It is not a tax", when in fact it is one of the largest taxes in our country's history.

Suffice it to also say Obama LIED when he under estimated the cost of ObamaCare to the tune of almost 2 trillion dollars over the next ten years.  

Then there are the lies about Obama's past.  Nothing about Barry Obama is about the truth.  His appointed Czars and Administration appointments like Eric Holder, all LIARS.

So this November, Americans will be given a choice.  Vote for Romney or vote for a LIAR.  

Pretty much a no brainer.

Nick Dolan
Nick Dolan

Do you really have to keep reminding us that John McCain lost to George Bush in 2000? It makes me terribly sad.

AlterYourEgo
AlterYourEgo

Reading the comments from the left gallery of the Swamp reminds me how unhinged and irrational most of you are.  Take a deep breath and relax a bit.  Obama is a politician and his campaign stretches the truth.  It happens.   It has happened and it will happen again.   Obama's ads lie.  This one is clearly built on a very selective reading of Romney's record.  I'm sure Romney's team will continue to selectively read and edit too.  Both sides engage in distortions. That is the nature of politics. That is the larger point Michael is trying to make.  So relax, get some popcorn and enjoy the show.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

Love the Mencken lines. The rest of is what I'm sick of in politics. Spinning is one thing, lying quite another. 

whitechildren
whitechildren

The US Founders never would have imagined an American elite so corrupt that they would dissolve the people and import a new one. But how about the WHITES? There future?

How is this not genocide:

White countries are being flooded by non-whites. We are told to be TOLERANT. We are forced to integrate.

With assimilation we see the extinction of one race only, the white race. Its not funny, not comedy, its white genocide.

sacredh
sacredh

And furthermore, the poet Rodney King once mused in one of his masterworks "Can't we all just get along?". Can you name ANY white people that have made ANY contributions to the arts or sciences? Hitler was white. He only had one nut. Never trust a white devil that isn't playing with a full deck. The unibomber wore a hoodie. Explain that. Bring your "A" game next time you post.

whitechildren
whitechildren

So replacing the white race with people from the third world is okay with you then? That is called genocide, white genocide. When did the white race lose its right to exist?

Look closely.

You have 1. Massive immigration, 2. To white countries only 3. Border laws suspended/selectively enforced; Coupled with: 4. Forced integration 5. Racial preference to non-whites 6. Coerced tolerance 7. Socially engineered assimilation/genetic blending.

What is the end result of diversity? Genocide, white genocide.

How is this not white genocide - forced immigration + forced tolerance + assimilation = end of white people?

Anti-racist is codeword for anti-white.

whitechildren
whitechildren

Just getting along while the ongoing genocide of the white race continues, does not seem very humane to me. Do you agree? Genocide is not laughing matter except to someone of questionable moral character.

So if you support white genocide, I ask again: when did the white race lose its right to exist?

sacredh
sacredh

The white race forfeited their right to exist when disco became popular. It showed that white people are nothing without polyester suits and a penchant for terrible music. It's ridiculous to even argue the point. are you denying that whiote people suck? They bought Gremlins for God's sake.

Cthulhu Shrugged
Cthulhu Shrugged

What exactly do you mean by "the white race?"  Do you mean the Nordic race? Ingvaeonic? Istvaeonic? Irminonic? East Gothic?  Visigoths? Vandal? Transalpaline Gaul? Cisalpine Gaul? Angle?  Saxon? Britannia Gaul? Romantic? Slavic? Grecian?

Which historically, genetically, and culturally disparate "race" constituted the "white race?"

whitechildren
whitechildren

What is your point? The Census Bureau doesn't seem to have a problem identifying race nor do the courts.

I am talking about the replacement of the white race in all white countries by non-whites imported from third world countries.

Its happening. It targets all white countries. The reuslt if fewer whites and more blending of the races. It leads to white extinction. Do you approve? When did the white race lose its right to exist?

Look closely.

You have 1. Massive immigration, 2. To white countries only 3. Border laws suspended/selectively enforced; Coupled with: 4. Forced integration 5. Racial preference to non-whites 6. Coerced tolerance 7. Socially engineered assimilation/genetic blending.

What is the end result of diversity? Genocide, white genocide.

How is this not white genocide - forced immigration + forced tolerance + assimilation = end of white people?

Anti-racist is codeword for anti-white.

whitechildren
whitechildren

I see, you are trying to bypass the UN Convention on Genocide by a phony race argment.

Go to the UN Convention on Genocide. Go educate yourself. Since you are above International Law, what part does not pertain here?

In white countries when you force/coerce/ socially engineer IMMIGRATION, integration, tolerance amp; blending of races, in the end you have a non-white population left.just a matter of time. Its white genocide.

“Genocide involves the attempt to achieve the disappearance of a group by whatever means. It does not have to be violent, it could be a combination of policies that would lead to a certain group dying out.” Fraser-PM Australia ‘75-83

M Fraser-PM of Australia 1975-83

Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

How is this not genocide?

So you have tried and judged the white race then. When did you determine the white race lost its right to exist?

Cthulhu Shrugged
Cthulhu Shrugged

You still cannot even define what "white" is.  What is the ratio of acceptable whiteness?

Quick fact: "White" Americans who can trace their genealogy 5 more more generations have a greater than 50% chance of have - gasp! - African DNA mixed in there!  Are they dirty darkies, white?

Worldwide, regardless of apparent "race," every man, woman, and child on earth have approx. a 0.5% chance to be directly related to the filthy chinaman Genghis Khan.  Are they the yellow menace?

Personally, I can trace my lineage back to my great, great, great grandmother who was fullblooded Comanche Indian.  Now despite the fact that the "rest" of me is a wondrous mix of Gaul, Goth, and Slav of various varieties, should I wear feathers in my hair and paint my face like one of those dirty In'juns?

sacredh
sacredh

Whitey will be replaced. The white devils polluting this country will be sent back to Europe where they belong. Serial killers? Whitey. Native American killers? Whitey. Tea Baggers? Whitey.

whitechildren
whitechildren

So you support and approve of white genocide then. As well as a number of the other readers. Now that is real hate.

When did the white race lose its right to exist?

You know, you are advocating white genocide.

------------

Africa for the Africans, Asia for the Asians, White Countries for Everyone

There will still be Africans in Africa. There will still be Asians in Asia. But my race is set to be blended out of existence through mass immigration and forced assimilation.

That's genocide.

This is happening in ALL white countries and ONLY white countries.

This is genocide through racial replacement.

whitechildren
whitechildren

Trying to find a way to justify white genocide today?

Look closely.

You have 1. Massive immigration, 2. To white countries only 3. Border laws suspended/selectively enforced; Coupled with: 4. Forced integration 5. Racial preference to non-whites 6. Coerced tolerance 7. Socially engineered assimilation/genetic blending.

What is the end result of diversity? Genocide, white genocide.

How is this not white genocide - forced immigration + forced tolerance + assimilation = end of white people?

Anti-racist is codeword for anti-white.

Cthulhu Shrugged
Cthulhu Shrugged

Wait a second... if Africa is for African, Asia for Asians... then what are white people doing in the Americas (i.e. Red Man's Land)???

John Roman
John Roman

Scherer must being paid with Mormon gold to write a crock o'crap story like this. Romney has said EVERYTHING during the course of his 12 year presidential campaign...but the truth is, he said he be delighted to sign a bill banning all abortions...period.

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar

oh geee poor GOP and Romney .. Obama's campaign is using the same dirty tricks the GOP invented in the first place .. oh poor little guys ... what are they going to do now?

Oh so unfair to be treated like shlt ... yeah, so unfair to be treated the exact same way they treat others ... so unfair, really!!

carolerae
carolerae

Rombot did endorse that Personhood Amendment in the Southern state that had it on the ballot during the Primaries.  That outlawed all hormonal contraception amp; abortion.  Frankly, I'm not sure Rombot wouldn't sign anything if he's prez to maintain power.  Always interesting how the Press holds Obama to a different standard than white politicians.  It's becoming quite noticable.

Steven Silver
Steven Silver

Ok, misleading ad from the Obama people. Glad to see you are finally paying attention to the governance by fear approach. You'll probably have a column or fifteen on the Republican use of that tactic since the running of George W. Bush, right?

gysgt213
gysgt213

Will there be a cost for Obama in running an ad that is so clearly false? .

Well you can always clean this mess up for Obama.  Like you use to do for McCain. Like you are doing now for Romney.  Oh as a matter fact it appears you kind of did with the "typical politician" line.  

.

By the way its a waste of your time and effort to report on ads.  All ads are almost always at best spin and at worst lies.  You should see the ads the republicans running for the US senate here in Texas are running against each other.  And they are doing this to each other in  a run off.

D_Bob
D_Bob

This much is clear: to some degree (we really don't know how much), Romney is committed to protecting the unborn. And by the same token, it is even more clear that he has no interest in protecting the 'born' -- unless they can afford his protection through campaign donations.

davemorris
davemorris

This is a great opportunity for Romney to come out and say he's for abortion in cases of rape and incest. Think he will? Not a chance.

chillj
chillj

Thanks for the article.  I have seen these ads in Massachusetts and, yes, I was alarmed - even though I make it a point not to watch the ads on either side.  We need good information; we need accurate information.

bobell
bobell

You want accurate information? You shouldn't have read the article.