The Democratic National Committee blasted ABC reporter Jake Tapper in an "open letter" for declaring on his Political Punch blog that their ad was "deceptive and false" on Mitt Romney's position on the stimulus (as we reported first here.) Ben Smith at Politico reported it, and noted it has now been unpublished. This is probably why: DNC National Press Secretary Melanie Roussell charged, "If you had only done your due diligence, you might have learned that Mitt Romney expressed his support for the Recovery Act on more than the one occasion."
Her problem? The example she cited was quoted by Tapper after he talked to someone at the DNC, and he then dismissed it as a non-starter. Who wasn't doing their "due diligence"? As part of a too-regular pattern, Tapper has faulted Team Obama on his blog, but ABC doesn't quite accomplish it on the airwaves to a much larger audience. Here's how it went down:
When asked how it justified the use of this quote [a Romney interview with Wolf Blitzer before Obama was even inaugurated], a DNC official said that “Mitt Romney supported a stimulus approach nearly identical in size and scope to what President Obama eventually passed and now he’s lead primary voters to believe he never supported any stimulus at all.”
Did he? Where did he do that?
The DNC official pointed out that on Morning Joe on January 16, 2009, Romney said, “in my view, the president’s willingness, his rhetoric to say, look, he’s going to reach across the aisle, he wants to seek the input from members of our party — that’s a very encouraging sign. The president’s plan for economic recovery, including a stimulus bill which includes a very healthy dose of tax reductions, is something which I think showed a willingness to actually listen to some of his own economic advisers that have pointed out in their research that tax reductions have a bigger economic stimulus impact than spending money on infrastructure does.”
Moreover, the Democrat said, on Meet the Press on December 13, 2008, Romney said “the government is going to have to step forward, not only with monetary policy to add funding and capital to the capital markets so we see more lending, but also for additional spending and lower taxes.”
In other words: he didn’t. Romney saying he supports the concept of stimulus is not the same thing as saying he supports President Obama’s stimulus bill. The DNC got greedy here. The use of that Romney quote is deceptive and false.