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Romney Rips McCain on Senate Record

By Howard Kurtz
The Ad: John McCain, an honorable man. But is he the right Republican for the future? McCain opposes repeal of the death tax, and voted against the Bush tax cuts twice. McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant stay here permanently. Even voted to allow illegals to collect Social Security.

And Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney cut taxes and spending as governor. He opposes amnesty for illegals. Mitt Romney, John McCain. There is a difference.

Analysis: Mitt Romney, who targeted Mike Huckabee in an earlier commercial, is now running the most negative campaign of any presidential candidate in either party.

Romney's description of McCain's failed immigration bill -- which was backed by President Bush -- is so selective as to be misleading. The measure would have allowed illegal immigrants to seek legal status only if they first returned to their country of origin and paid a fine, and it was coupled with stricter border enforcement -- key elements omitted by the ad. Romney called a similar bipartisan effort "reasonable" in 2006. It is not true that McCain backed Social Security for illegals; a Senate amendment would have allowed payment of past benefits only after immigrants obtained legal status.

As Massachusetts governor, Romney did not win authorization for state troopers to arrest illegal immigrants until two weeks before leaving office, and has employed a lawn-care company that used workers with illegal status.
McCain did vote twice against Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, arguing that they should be offset by spending reductions, and did oppose permanent repeal of the estate tax (which critics call a death tax). Romney cut taxes in his state but also raised hundreds of fees and ended what he called corporate tax loopholes.

This New Hampshire ad, like the anti-Huckabee spot in Iowa, comes as Romney's poll numbers are declining in both states. Romney tries to cushion the blow in both ads by saying a few nice words about his opponents before assailing their records.

Posted at 10:38 AM ET on Dec 28, 2007  | Category:  Ad Watch
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Posted by: rlmc cizjsgepk | April 11, 2008 1:02 AM

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Posted by: onrphwcf yvja | April 11, 2008 1:01 AM

Everyone who is reading Kurtz's analysis should also read this Cornell article:
CNN's Inaccurate Fact-Check on Romney

http://cornellsun.com/node/26500

When journalists perform a fact check, the reader expects it will be, well...factual, or at least more accurate than the ad in question. Unfortunately, CNN's recent analysis by Howard Kurtz, which checks Mitt Romney's two negative ads against McCain and Huckabee, fulfills neither criteria. By their own standards, CNN not only failed to do enough research for this analysis, but they also made statements with questionable validity."

READ THE ARTICLE FOR DETAILS - IT'S VERY WELL DOCUMENTED AND EXPLAINED. THIS CRITICISM IS WELL REFUTED.

Posted by: jordanstorage | January 2, 2008 2:06 AM

Everyone who is reading Kurtz's analysis should also read this Cornell article:
CNN's Inaccurate Fact-Check on Romney

http://cornellsun.com/node/26500

When journalists perform a fact check, the reader expects it will be, well...factual, or at least more accurate than the ad in question. Unfortunately, CNN's recent analysis by Howard Kurtz, which checks Mitt Romney's two negative ads against McCain and Huckabee, fulfills neither criteria. By their own standards, CNN not only failed to do enough research for this analysis, but they also made statements with questionable validity."

READ THE ARTICLE FOR DETAILS - IT'S VERY WELL DOCUMENTED AND EXPLAINED. THIS CRITICISM IS WELL REFUTED.

Posted by: jordanstorage | January 2, 2008 2:04 AM

James:

It is very possible that Romney is a "jellyfish" who will never govern against abortion rights, stem cell research, gays in the military, civil unions, a no-taxes pledge, gun control, campaign finance, and amnesty for aliens. OTOH, he may have finally "seen the light" on those issues. I think the second option is much more likely -- especially if said "jellyfish" wants to be re-elected in 2012 ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 31, 2007 12:02 PM

Let us remember that there is no presidential candidate--in either party--who is so thoroughly shameless, hypocritical, and unprincipled as Mitt Romney. Within the last four years, his views have shifted radically on, to name just a few matters: abortion rights, stem cell research, gays in the military, civil unions, a no-taxes pledge, gun control, campaign finance, and amnesty for aliens. On each of these issues, his position shifted from progressive to conservative--and just as he was contemplating seeking the Republican nomination for president. In fact, even his very loyalty to the Republican party has been a mercurial affair that has adapted itself to the particular pool of voters he happens to be courting. When running for a Senate seat in MA in 1994, and when seeking the governorship of MA in 2002, he distanced himself from the Republican party and renounced the policies of the Reagan-Bush era. Now, he is preaching the virtues of Reagan at every turn, and accusing his primary rivals of not being authentic Republicans. It is Mitt Romney who suffers from an authenticity problem. He is a jellyfish and an opportunist, and he ought to be thoroughly ashamed of himself for running such a fraudulent campaign. Let's put the democratic process to its highest and best use by voting against this dangerous man, and keeping power out of his hands for good.

Posted by: jamesmcclintick | December 29, 2007 6:29 PM

Mitt Romney would sell his soul for a vote!

Posted by: blix66 | December 29, 2007 5:48 PM

Michigan's Attorney General just issued a opinion that will take the effect of a law that illegal immigrants can NOT have Michigan driver's licenses!

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071228/POLITICS/712280347/1022/POLITICS

Its about time the states step up and do something. That line that illegal immigrants do jobs that the average american doesn't want, come to michigan, unemployment is ridiculous because of the lax trade agreements and outsourcing. We'd take ANY job!

Posted by: neecee | December 29, 2007 1:50 PM

It's amazing to watch you rightwingers parse the ad's text. Have ANY ONE OF YOU seen ANY Iraqis come to the US to help pick crops, make beds, mow lawns, ect.? I didn't think so. Yet how much do we spend on them? That amount doesn't even compare to the bucks you folks whine about that you think we spend on the "illegals" who "pour" across our borders, who work and pay taxes (sales), spend their money to help our economy while those in Iraq drain us, hate us and kill us. Get your priorities straight. Stop bashing the Mexicans and direct your bile towards the idiots you elected and do something to get us out of Iraq. As far as the Group of Lames on the Right you have as presidential material, what a bunch of flip-flopping fish (to use your terms against you for a change)who would continue to drive us off the cliff the Smiling Chimp has done so well this past seven, going-on eight years! OMG! They certainly fit the mold to a T! Liars all! I'm not all that excited about the folks on the left either, but they are heads, hands and feet above the dreck on the right! I guess we get what others pay for...

Posted by: cameracowboy | December 29, 2007 12:16 PM

It's amazing to watch you rightwingers parse the ad's text. Have ANY ONE OF YOU seen ANY Iraqis come to the US to help pick crops, make beds, mow lawns, ect.? I didn't think so. Yet how much do we spend on them? That amount doesn't even compare to the bucks you folks whine about that you think we spend on the "illegals" who "pour" across our borders, who work and pay taxes (sales), spend their money to help our economy while those in Iraq drain us, hate us and kill us. Get your priorities straight. Stop bashing the Mexicans and direct your bile towards the idiots you elected and do something to get us out of Iraq. As far as the Group of Lames on the Right you have as presidential material, what a bunch of flip-flopping fish (to use your terms against you for a change)who would continue to drive us off the cliff the Smiling Chimp has done so well this past seven, going-on eight years! OMG! They certainly fit the mold to a T! Liars all! I'm not all that excited about the folks on the left either, but they are heads, hands and feet above the dreck on the right! I guess we get what others pay for...

Posted by: cameracowboy | December 29, 2007 12:14 PM

Who could vote for somebody named "Mitt"? No seriously, he is the 2nd most scary Republican in the race. Huckabee is the scariest, but I can't believe anybody will actually vote for him. Threatening to vote for Huckabee is like a kid threatening to hold their breath forever. You know that nobody rational would do that.

I've not paid serious attention to these guys, but my impressions is that most of them are complete and utter losers, both on the democratic and republican side. When you have the brittle McCain looking like a reasonable choice, you know the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

Don't get me started on the democrats... they could actually make a difference, but not with Hillary and Obama. I suspect if Hillary gets the nomination, she'll put Obama as her VP, if only to protect her personal safety. But in truth, I think if Hillary gets elected, Huckabee might be the only candidate she stands a chance against.

Imagine a race that consists of Mitt Romney Versus Hillary. I would probably move to China at that point; the choices there seem more appealing.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | December 29, 2007 11:38 AM

Sorry jaked, I didn't see your comment pining for dick cheney to run for president before I commented, otherwise I wouldn't have wasted my time. You're obviously an extreme ideologue drunk on koolaid. cheney would never get the nomination, but if he did he'd get the smallest margin of the popular vote in history. Have you noticed that he's the most un-American person to ever hold public office? I guess you prefer a dictator over a president and a monarchy over democracy. I think you and cheney are both in the wrong country.

Posted by: red2million | December 29, 2007 11:34 AM

sniff-sniff... nothing I like better than the smell of desperation in the morning. Mitt's ship is going down because Americans are tired of negative and seperative politics.

I'm voting for McCain!

Posted by: mhusband | December 29, 2007 11:31 AM

jaked your ideology is showing. Quote a single UNTRUTH from the ad? Did you read the article? It quotes more than one untruth. Also, a fancy degree doesn't qualify anyone to be president. bush has an MBA from Harvard too, a degree that he bought in my opinion, and he's the worst president in history. There's little difference between any of these politicians. Most will say or do anything to get what they want. But this article is about Romney's ad, how negative it is, and about the UNTRUTHS. The article states what is untrue in the ad. You tell us, what's untrue in this article? Nothing of course. You're an ideolouge and you're offended because an article was written that TRUTHFULLY portrays your man in a bad light. Get over it.

Posted by: red2million | December 29, 2007 11:29 AM

dp.nelson -
"liberal press"...booogaboogaboooga
"liberals"...the boogie men...boogabooga
"liberal press - the boogie man is coming...watch out, watch out...

aka, right wing political strategy....

Posted by: Jerryvov | December 29, 2007 10:30 AM

Mitt Romney is without a doubt the most unprincipled candidate in the race. He will say or do anything to get elected, even if he has to contradict his earlier opinion (such as on immigration policy) or just flat-out lie. He is the Elmer Gantry of 2008. Good thing he will never be elected President.

Posted by: pfalduto | December 29, 2007 10:17 AM

Massachusetts does not represent America. It is more racist.

Posted by: RamuR | December 29, 2007 7:59 AM

When those without principle attack the delusional, it's hard to know what yardstick to use to measure the worth of the arguments made.

Principles?

Reality?

Hair style?

But it is fun to watch.

Posted by: R49Thomas | December 29, 2007 1:37 AM

dp.nelson-

Real issues ads do not mention other candidates by name, they just mention issues or say "Mitt Romney is the only candidate who believes [whatever]"

This is legitimately described by media outlets of all stripes (check out National Review's site) as a negative or attack ad because in it Mitt Romney names another candidate and asserts that that other candidate is unfit.


Posted by: kevin | December 28, 2007 5:57 PM

This ad is perfectly legitimate and is not an "attack" ad as the author would have you believe. It focuses on issues, not personal attacks. Why does the liberal press think that anything that ever comes from Romney is an "attack" or "negative."

I think its so funny how the liberal press is trying every possible tactic to undermine Romney right now. From the latest NH poll, it doesn't appear to be working. This is more evidence that the liberal press is completely irrelevant.

When the liberal press puts out an "anti-endorsement," it usually has no effect or actually works as a positive endorsement.

Posted by: dp.nelson | December 28, 2007 3:13 PM

I don't know what Romney is talking about. He supported the Immigration Bill put forth by McCain. Here is Romney in his own words:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=BDVKWBVk6xA&feature=related

Romney: "I think an amnesty program is what -- which is all the illegal immigrants who are here are now citizens, and walk up and get your citizenship. What the president has proposed, and what Senator McCain and Cornyn have proposed, are quite different than that. They require people signing up for a -- well, registering and receiving a, if you will, a number -- a registration number. Then working here for six years and paying taxes -- not taking benefits. Health, Medicaid, food stamps and so forth, not taking benefits. And then at the end of that period, registering to become a citizen, or applying to become a citizen and paying a fee. And those are things that are being considered. And I think that that's -- that those are reasonable proposals." (Audio: www.boston.com, Scott Helman, "Romney's Words Grow Hard On Immigration," The Boston Globe, 3/16/07)

Posted by: rlpawlin | December 28, 2007 2:28 PM

I believe the ad's meaning, centered on the idea of "let every" (and the idea that Romney opposes general amnesty while McCain does not) must be changed for it to be true.

Posted by: kcuddeb | December 28, 2007 1:40 PM

And, don't get me wrong -- in a thread yesterday, I was DEFENDING McCain as having more AND better national security experience than any other candidate running, but that's not the only important issue -- which is why I am supporting Romney this time around.

Now, if Dick Cheney and/or Condi Rice were running . . .

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 1:40 PM

Keep in mind you already stated: "The reality is that while all would be eligible, some would meet it and some would not."

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 1:25 PM

I agree that adding BE ELIGIBLE TO does not change the meaning -- you didn't answer my question though ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 1:24 PM

Adding BE ELIGIBLE TO does not change the meaning (its a waste of valuable airtime ;-)

It could be true (enough) to say:

"McCain pushed to let NEARLY every illegal immigrant stay here permanently"

or

"McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant EASILY stay here permanently"

Then we could have an honest debate about whether and how many hard-working, honest, English-speakers we want to ad our polity.

Romney's ad lies, and aligns himself with such short-term winner, long-term losers as Pete Wilson

I'm voting for McCain.

Posted by: kcuddeb | December 28, 2007 1:20 PM

That's not a "lie"; that's the current state of the law -- free public education too -- now, can you answer my question:

Your only beef would have been cured if the ad stated: "McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant BE ELIGIBLE TO stay here permanently" instead?

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 1:02 PM

Imagine an ad stating: "Mitt Romney let every illegal alien in Massachusetts have government paid healthcare"

Is it a lie? I think so.

Posted by: kcuddeb | December 28, 2007 12:58 PM

For instance, EVERY Massachusetts resident -- legal or not -- can qualify for government-paid healthcare given the right conditions and proper paperwork. Not sure why we aren't seeing eye-to-eye on this though -- it seems like semantics to me, not a "clear" lie -- for the record, I was in favor of the McCain-Kennedy bill ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 12:52 PM

I am well aware that that laws have practical qualifications attached to their general principles, sir (or madam : )

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 12:44 PM

Jake D,

By your reasoning, Mitt Romney "let every" Massachusetts resident qualify for government paid healthcare.

You seem to be overlooking the fact that laws have practical qualifications attached to their general principles.

Posted by: kcuddeb | December 28, 2007 12:43 PM

So, your only beef would have been cured if the ad stated: "McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant BE ELIGIBLE TO stay here permanently" instead? Sounds like you are picking nits on this one.

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 12:41 PM

Paying back taxes, a fine, and learning English would never be a "let every". It is a set of criteria that the hard working, honest, and English-speaking would meet.

The reality is that while all would be eligible, some would meet it and some would not.

It is a "let" but not and "every"
It is an "every" but not a "let"

Ergo, it is not a "let every"

Posted by: kcuddeb | December 28, 2007 12:38 PM

Perhaps your definition of "clear" is that same as wilyhou2's?

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 12:31 PM

McCain-Kennedy (S. 1033) was never voted on in the Senate but would have provided a temporary, 6-year H5A visa to all undocumented immigrants and after they had paid back taxes, a fine, and proved their English language knowledge, it would provide them with the opportunity to request permanent residency. Sounds like "let every" immigrant stay permanently to me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_America_and_Orderly_Immigration_Act_%28S._1033%29

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 12:29 PM

JakeD,

I'm glad you're honest enough to say "much closer" when describing McCain's original proposal.

Had Romney's ad had a similar subtlety, saying, for example, "let nearly every" or an "easily let every" you and he would be aligned.

As it is, Romney went for a clear attack and crossed the line into a clear untruth.

Posted by: kcuddeb | December 28, 2007 12:29 PM

Oh, good, kcuddeb -- I see you have taken up the standard from your fallen comrade -- first of all, McCain's initial immigration proposal was much closer to an unconditional general amnesty -- the final failed attempt has SOME conditions, but then again, so did the "amnesty" that Reagan signed into law. In either case, assuming every illegal alien filled out the proper paperwork and complied with the conditions, it DID "let" them all stay here permanently. Nice try though.

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 12:20 PM

The untruth in the ad is the assertion that McCain pushed to "let every" immigrant stay permanently.

"Let every" makes it wrongly sound like an unconditional general amnesty.

To the extent that the bill covered "every" illegal, it isn't true to call it a "let" because it came with a complicated set of qualifying criteria. To the extent that some would be "let" stay, it is untrue to imply that "every" illegal would qualify.

You can't defend this ad. It is as grotesque a lie as it would be to say that Romney Care "let every" illegal in Massachusetts have state-paid medical care.


Posted by: kcuddeb | December 28, 2007 12:13 PM

Interesting that a comment is made on the failure of Romney on education...

http://www.morganquitno.com/edrank.htm

Massachusets - #2 (Romney)
Arizona - #50 (McCain, Dead Last)
Arkansas - #32 (Huckabee, bottom third)
New York - #16 (Giuliani)

Seems the previous poster is all wet on Romney's education record . Strike 1.

Healthcare issues-

http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm1414.cfm

Seems Governor Romney's healthcare plan is really working, reducing cost to Mass. residents by over 50% and adding 300,000 residents to the insured healthcare roles. Residents who previously had no healthcare insurance. Strike 2 on the previous poster.

The economy. Romney has proven himself an economic genius, not because he happens to have an MBA from one of the most prestigious business schools in the world, but because he has proven his success by action. He is universally recognized as one of the top businessmen in the world by his peers in the business world. Strike 3, your out!

Posted by: rdew | December 28, 2007 12:12 PM

It sure is hard to discuss anything here when the people I ask questions of won't even post again . . .

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 12:11 PM

wilyhou2:

Please provide your definitions of "clearly" and "failed" -- as pointed out above, nothing in this current ad is untrue -- thanks in advance : )

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 11:56 AM

infinity555:

Maybe if we hadn't aborted 50 million Americans since 1973, there would be today a plentiful, home-grown work force instead of illegal aliens -- please consider the $2 trillion as an "abortion tax" -- all actions have consequences.

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 11:54 AM

The primary focus of the campaign to be the leader of the free world should be; education, the economy, defense, healthcare and integrity.

Clearly Mr. Romney has failed the integrity test. Dare we allow another flawed charactered individual in the White House?

Posted by: wilyhou2 | December 28, 2007 11:50 AM

Did this thread disappear?

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 11:50 AM

Only Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul have the right credentials, to the disasterous period of red ink. Alas, cannot trust any Democrats to stop the illegal alien invasion?

Taxpayers must stand with any official, who is willing to go that extra mile; no matter the political consequences. Very few politicians have the backbone to consumate the majority will of THE PEOPLE. They have become panderers to corporate and globalist open-border, unfair free-traders favors. America can no longer afford the $2 trillion dollar a year, to support the pariah contractors and businesses that hire illegal immigrants. They themselves receive all the profit, and the taxpayers gets the bill for hospitals, education and the massive prison appropriations. With between 12 to 20 million illegal aliens already here, with another estimated 17 million turning up on our shores by 2010, we are forced by federal law to subsidise these low income families. Taxpayers fall for this trick all the time, because the government doesn't tell us about food stamps, subsidised housing and a whole cornicopia of other free goodies. Its so easy for the citizen-taxpayer to carry the burden of cost's while the employer walks away. Free trade entities are behind the Bush administration unfettered movement of illegal cheap, foreign labor which is undermining our citizen workers wages. Most U.S. citizens have no concept of tomorrow, with outsourcing of jobs and business to foreign lands, along with the import of millions of people who can't speak our language and most have no wish to assimulate into our society. All but a few of our presidential contenders are not multi-millionaires, that show little interest in proposing laws protect our country from a globalist agenda? Both political parties are to blame, along with the american people for allowing this International globalist plan to continue. Our Industrial base is withering, unless you prefer a service nation? Big business must be held accountable for the destruction of our living standards. Hopefully, THE PEOPLE will show their intentions, starting with the Iowa Caucases and the upcoming New Hampshire Primaries! Are we going to have more of the same, with a depletion of our wealth and an erosion of our society. Or are we going to have fair free-trade and our national borders sealed for security and our prosperity?

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

- - Abraham Lincoln

Posted by: infinity555 | December 28, 2007 11:48 AM

The statements made in the ad by Romney about illegal immigration are entirely accurate. As Romney said, McCain's bill would provide amnesty to every illegal immigrant. The fact that they must pay a fine to obtain the amnesty and that the bill calls for stricter border enforcement makes the statement no less true. Also, as Kurtz acknowledges, McCain's bill does allow people who are illegal aliens today to collect social security, just as Romney said. The fact that they have to become legal first is irrelevant, because McCain's bill allows all of them to become legal.

Finally, Kurtz' bold statemment that this is a very nagative ad is also not true. The ad sticks to a critique of McCain's position on the issues and voting record. True negative ads attack the character of the opponent, and this is not one of those.

In this case, it is the fact-checker who has fallen down on the facts, not the candidate.

Posted by: wbranson | December 28, 2007 11:48 AM

wbrycechastain:

Please identify a single UNTRUTH from the ad.

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 11:43 AM

eco-pharm:

You are aware that Romney founded one of the most successful companies in America, right? He single-handedly averted a major disaster and saved the 2002 Winter Olympics as well. He was Governor of the 13th most populous State and has an MBA/JD from Harvard University. How, exactly, is that "nothing to run on"; also, please compare and contrast that to, say Barack Obama with less than one full term as a U.S. Senator and only a J.D. from Harvard?

Posted by: JakeD | December 28, 2007 11:39 AM

Thank God that - for all of its many deep faults - the media pounces on lies like Romney's. And make no mistake; we should not water down our criticism with language like, "misleading statements." Romney's statements are intended to, and quite effectively do, transmit untruth and instill it in voters' minds. And he dares to run on an image of strong moral character...

Now, we all have to get out there and make sure people know Romney's true character - that of liar and cynic.

Posted by: wbrycechastain | December 28, 2007 11:34 AM

When, like Romney, you have NOTHING to run on besides being a member of some whacked out cult, berating your opponents is all you can do.
I really hope Americans are smart enough to see that neither one of these idiots is qualified to be our President.

Posted by: eco-pharm | December 28, 2007 11:32 AM

Illegal is illegal - amnesty is wrong, especially when others have followed the legal process and applied for U.S. citizenship... as Sen. FRED Thompson gets!

p.s. Mitt - A fee is a tax! ($5,000,000 worth of fees? Wow!)

Posted by: ChrisFischahs | December 28, 2007 11:07 AM

"Mitt Romney, who targeted Mike Huckabee in an earlier commercial, is now running the most negative campaign of any presidential candidate in either party."

Howard, would you mind keeping your pearl-clutching to yourself and just doing your job? Is that so much to ask?

Posted by: zukermand | December 28, 2007 10:57 AM

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