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Romney and reporter tangle at press conference

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Election 2008
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Posted January 18, 2008 7:15 AM
The Swamp

by Jill Zuckman

FLORENCE, S.C. – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney flatly declared Thursday during a stop in Columbia that he doesn't have lobbyists running his campaign. In fact, several lobbyists either work in the campaign or advise Romney and his aides.

Romney's statement sparked a heated exchange with an Associated Press reporter, who challenged his truthfulness. (See full video-taped exchange here.)

"That's not true governor," said Glen Johnson, the AP reporter. "That is not true. Ron Kaufman's a lobbyist. How can you say that you don't have lobbyists?"

Kaufman, the former White House political director for President George H.W. Bush and a lobbyist at the Dutko Group, is a senior adviser to the Romney campaign. He frequently travels with Romney and is intimately involved with the campaign.

Romney, however, parsed his words, angrily telling Johnson that Kaufman doesn't actually run the campaign.

"I said I don't have lobbyists running my campaign and he's not running my campaign," said Romney, adding that Beth Myers is his campaign manager and she runs the campaign.

But in fact, Romney does employ lobbyists at his campaign and he has lobbyists who advise him regularly on a volunteer basis as he seeks the Republican nomination for president.

For instance, Thomas D. Rath is a senior adviser who helped guide Romney through the byways of New Hampshire politics. Rath, the former attorney general of New Hampshire, is also a registered lobbyist who represents clients in New England and nationally.

Former Rep. Vin Weber is a lobbyist at Clark & Weinstock, and he's the policy chairman for the Romney campaign.

Barbara Comstock, a communications consultant and frequent spokesperson for Romney on television, is a lobbyist at Corallo Comstock.

Caeser Conda is an economic policy adviser and a lobbyist at DC Navigators.

And Warren Tompkins is Romney's South Carolina consultant, as well as a lobbyist.

When asked about the other lobbyists involved with Romney's campaign, spokesman Kevin Madden replied in an email: "Gov said he doesn't have one running his campaign and he doesn't. Beth is not a lobbyist."

Attempting to shift the focus off Romney, Madden pointed out that Sen. John McCain frequently complains about special interests and Washington lobbyists "yet those representing them run his campaign."

McCain, however, has never said he won't work with lobbyists or that they do not work in his campaign. McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, is a former lobbyist and his firm has not lobbied for any client since December 2005.

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Boy that "truth" thing is a hard one to figure out.

Romney parses words a lot. Kaufman doesn't RUN his campaign, he's just one of the primary advisors. His father didn't PHYSICALLY march with Martin Luther King, he did so in spirit. I'm sure Romney will emerge as the GOP frontrunner, but most people I know call this kind of parsing b------t.

It's hilarious to see the media and the Democrats pushing McCain or Huckabee and attacking Romney. It's very obvious whom both groups see is the major threat to Hillobama.

At least Mitt has Presidential "truth" down pat!

I'd like for everyone to read comment #3, written by Garrett.

It's crazily biased comments like those, which completely ignore the facts at hand - and instead use Fox News-esque spin to muddy up any semblance of discourse - which point to why our nation is so troubled right now.

Look Garrett, Romney constantly flip-flopping and lying has nothing to do with the Democrats, McCain, Hillary, or Obama. It has to do with Romney flip-flopping and lying at every turn.

Why not spend some time dealing with the facts at hand and not some rigid agenda - you might learn something along the way about the people you support.

Romney reminds me of that used car salesman on Dexter. He lies, gets caught, quickly recovers with another one.

"I was endorsed by the NRA"
"No you weren't"
"Not THAT NRA, the other one"

"I'm an avid hunter"
"but you've never bought a license"
"I'm a varmint hunter, you don't need a licence to hunt varmints"

"I don't employ illegals"
"Why do they work in your gargen?"
"I didn't hire them, they were hired by the contractor, so I'm not at fault"

etc. etc. etc.

Fascinating! For Romney, the truth is like a slippery eel that he can't get a hold of.

Not impressed. It just looks like the media is grasping at straws. Their trying to make a big deal out of this lobbyist thing the same way they did with Romney's dog being on the roof of his car.

It's sad how the only time the media speaks about Romney is when they supposedly crack some kind of a scandal or something. Never when Romney actually does well in the campaign. Recall Wyoming and Michigan.

Notice, that Mr. Zuckman and the AP reporter are the ones who are parsing words here.

Mr. Romney did not say he had no voluneteer advisors who are or had been lobyists. He said "running his campaign."

This is not a trivial distinction at all. Gov. Romney also went on to say that Mr. Kaufman is not included in campaign policy meetings.

Let's get it straight who is misleading and who is attempting to perpetuate the myth of Gov. Romney as being somewhat less than honest.

The reasons many in the press can't believe a candidate can be honest and have lived a moral life, ife is because so few of them live that kind of life. There are many of us in the real world, who actually stay faithful to the same spouse our whole lives. Who are not cynics and who try to serve our fellow men. Gov. Romney is one of us.

You cynical media types are the ones who accomplish nothing of value in life other than to unfairly criticize good people who are serving others.

This exchange is telling for careful observers.

Parsing his words about who is "running" the campaign is exactly the kind of thing we'd expect from an old mafia figure on the stand, well rehersed in his responses by a lawyer.

This only confirms many other observations of Romney in action: he is a dishonest dud.

But considering that Republicans twice ran George Bush, the greatest incompetent ever to hold high office, they'll likely overlook these obvious flaws in Romney.

The Associated Liberal Press is the darling of the driveby media. Their news is opinion not news.
They are pushing Dumbo John Mc Cain and Mike Huckleberry so the GOP will get beat by Hillary or Obama.
Conservative Republicans have written these two losers off because they are both liberals. Huckleberry raised taxes in Arkansas he came from Hope like Slick Willey.
McCain voted twice against Bush tax cuts, for illegal amnesty,for McCain Feingold, and he's for Algores's religion Global Warming.
Romney answered the liberal AP correctly Kaufman isn't running Mitt's campaign. Nice try liberal AP stop ruining a great candidate so liberals can laugh. Jerry White, Springfield, IL

Mr. Flip-Flop 2008! How can Mit Remindme (Remindme of what I've said in the past) continue to be a front runner? His rhetoric shifts with the wind... Get the jelly out of your spine! We've had enough deception in Washington.

Can we get that reporter into Bush's press conferences? Or Hillary's?

Finally, someone is at least holding Mitt's feet to the fire!

p.s. The democrats want Romney to win, just ask Markos Moulitsas.

Romney's version of the truth is very similar to W. Bush's we really want more this crap?

He said lobbyists are not running his campaign and they are not. The "in fact" statements are no facts at all. Campaign managers run campaigns. And why is having a lobbyist on staff such a bad thing? They arent pure evil, Fred Thompson is a lobbyist.

This is the same reporter who called Hillary "Regal" in his article about her. Yes the MSM has picked her to win. Good sign to get on board with Romney.

Let's clarify this; The lobbysist advises on how to run the campaign, but he doesn't run the campaign.

Sounds like truthiness to me. He's got my vote.

The reporter comes off as a mild idiot. Romney is right to suggest that he is more independent of such groups than a Washington "insider" like McCain who has both favors to repay and scores to settle, in spite of his "straight talk" or perhaps Hill-Bill.

WelJ handled by Romney.

i thought that mormons were supposed to be "truthful" in what they say?

Romney and fiction,nothing new to the varmint hunter.

Check this out, Zell has some things to say about his new baby:,0,5925989,full.story
Referring to Tribune's companywide website platform, he said, "It sucks." Asked to name his favorite newspaper, he quickly said, "The Wall Street Journal."

This AP reporter is obviously a DEM. Who cares if he has a lobbyist running his campaign? Hillary takes money from crooks! Romney will take down Obama or Hillary.

Mitt was right on the money here. Advising IS NOT running. Only in politics do advisers get credit for doing anything. In business, its the doing that counts.

As a Democrat, I push Repubs away from Romney/Huckabee not because I think McCain is not a threat - I think that if tragedy happens as in 2000, McCain would be a respectable leader. Huckabee is less intelligent than even Bush, and Romney is a snake. If we have learned anything from Bush, it is that who the other side nominates should matter to everyone. Maybe Garrett should think about the country in general for a moment and not his divisive partisan politics.

Its amazing what passes for truth with our Republican party. They continue to allow corporate america control of our policy making and lives. Can we get back to the a Teddy Roosevelt repbublican that busted up the monopolies and broke free from corporate control.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Some of us may remember a time when reporters routinely challenged candidates statements instead of accepting everything at face value - that's stenography, not journalism.

Way to call Romney to the mat. "My truths are the only truths - as I see them. Whether they are true or not."

It would be refreshing if a reporter, any reporter, had the guts to do the same with Hillary or Obama or Edwards.

Instead, reporters covering any Democrat merely print the daily press releases as news, after getting Obama to sign their autograph books.

That's how all reporters should be with every public figure. Imagine if President Bush had been immediately challenged like that every time he lied to the American people.

The media tries to put words in candidates mouths. If Romney says he does not, he does not. Does the media ever lie, or bias the facts? There has been a ton of mudslinging and bad politicking with this election ... assume that this is more.

Face it the qualities in a candidate that make them so creepy when they move into the Presidency are the things that make them viable candidates. Lying parsing flip flopping utter moral obtuseness aren't revealed in the soundbit manner of coverage. In fact those qualities help fine-tune the skin-deep images that get our idiot masters elected. While this is painfully obvious--I feel stupid even just writing it as if it weren't-- it just doesn't seem to be addressed or acknowledged except when thankfully dissonant events like this one occur. Something's obviously wrong, and what's wrong isn't going to be fixed by these so called agents of change on both sides. Or by the press (TV being the real villain, I suppose) which thrives on caricatures.

For Romney to say that lobbyists aren't "running" his campaign is like saying Clinton smoked pot but never "inhaled". Typical political rhetoric.

One of the true scourges of the US political system.
The infernal lobbyist...a necessary evil?

The troll Johnson misses the point, which is that Mitt's policy decisions are not impacted by long ties to entrenched Washington interests. He does have old Washington hands on his staff (which is good b/c he has to know the lay of the land to take charge) and some of them have worked as lobbyists. But there is no evidence that certain business or political interests have undue influence on how Mitt makes decisions. His assertion that this may not be the case with McCain is valid. McCain owes favors and has buddies who have his ear that do have old Washington ties. Maybe if Johnson had let Romney make his point, he would have been more clear.

Now that "truthiness" is an accepted word, Romney's picture is next to that word in the dictionary.

At the Republican debate moderated by Charles Gibson, McCain got on Romney's case for calling his immigration plan "amnesty" in his ad. Now, Romney could have apologized for saying that or he could have defended his position and said that allowing illegal immigrants to gain citizenship without returning to their home country IS amnesty. But, no, instead Romney denied he ever said that in his ad. Well, oops, right there it was in the ad - Romney calling McCain's plan "amnesty".

And then of course there's his general chameleon approach to campaigning - in Iowa his a Christian, in New Hampshire he's a fiscal conservative, in Michigan he's the son of an autoworker. Will the real Willard Romney please step forward?

I wonder how other candidates would come out on a similar test, especially those who are broke?

Mitt handled this well, considering the almost slanderous accusation embedded in this argument that he is somehow not the most independent candidate.

The special interest Romney will be most indebted to, come his Presidency, will be the American people, and that is who he is running to serve. He's not even planning to take a salary! Who, since George Washington, has offered to do that? Yet Romney has made it a pettern in his life.

Geez- He should change his name to "Clinton"!

I wish Glen hadn't interrupted Romney so soon. Romney started to say "...and I don't have any lobbyists tied to my..." Had he completed his thought, he would have been caught in a bold faced lie.

The AP reporter was very unprofessional, and sitting on the floor like a slug. Look at some of his past stories and you'll see why the AP commands little respect among fair-minded readers.

Romney's point remains. Here is his full ending quote:

At any time? Has he ever been at a debate session? Sure. Is that a senior strategy meeting? Is that a senior strategy meeting of our campaign? No. Let me go back and complete the point I was making. My campaign is not based on Washington lobbyists. I haven’t been in Washington. I don’t have lobbyists at my elbows that are arguing for one industry or another industry. And I do not have favors I have to repay to people who have been in Washington for years nor scores I have to settle. And I’m going to Washington to make things happen. And somebody doesn’t put the kind of financial resources that I've put into this campaign and the personal resources I’ve put into this campaign in order to do favors for lobbyists. I’m going to Washington to help the American people, and that’s what this campaign is all about.

Mitt Romney is the "best businessman in North America"--that's not my description, it's a Democrat's who understands the ecomomy.

Some rude reporter from AP may try to stomp on Mitt's message but it will backfire.

And I suggest the Democrats start worrying about this (also expressed by a senior Democrat):

And ask about this:

Would Mrs. Bill Clinton or Barrack Husein Obama be challenged the same way? I think not. They all cater to lobbyists so lets challenge them all equally!

I'm a rock-solid Democrat hoping that Romney gets nominated. I think it's totallly appropriate for the media to call Romney on his truthiness, but why didn't they call Bush-Cheney on it when it really mattered? When they led us into Iraq? Even now when they say the "surge" is "working"? It seems like it would be more important when truthiness is costing us the lives of our young men and women (not to mention thousands upon thousands of Iraqi civilians).

I'm a liberal and I approved this message.

We don't need another president who carefully parses his words.

Anyone who would vote for Mitt Romney is an idiot. All of the proof with his 1st hand spoken flip floppin talk. I bet there a lot of people in Michigan going "oh crap, I voted for him?" Wow.

Thanks to the excellent journalism where this reporter actually did his job!

Search for the whole video on youtube and see Mitt when he comes around the coounter and gets the argument even more heated. Then Romney says glen, lets you and I talk.

Booo Mitt Flopper Romney. BOOOOO Booooooo

I agree with the reporter that Romney's trying to make it sound like his campaign is less beholden to lobbyists than other campaigns and it's clearly not.

Steve had to bring up the Mormon issue again. I thought the constitution said there should be no religious test for public office?!

A few other thoughts:

An advisor is not the same as a campaign manager.

I think Romney has been fairly calm in spite of the attacks against him. If this were McCain, he would be throwing the F bomb at people.

Steve had to bring up the Mormon issue again. I thought the constitution said there should be no religious test for public office?!

A few other thoughts:

An advisor is not the same as a campaign manager.

I think Romney has been fairly calm in spite of the attacks against him. If this were McCain, he would be throwing the F bomb at people.

Wow, a politician works with lobbyists and may even have one advising his campaign. Stop the presses. Anybody who has studied politics in any capacity knows that this is how American policy works. I think a way more important issue would be, say, Hillary's continuing to be backed by Monsanto. This journalist uses the term lobbyist like it's a curse word. The real issue is what the candidate's lobbyists are lobbying for.

Hmmm, let's see now: political candidates have their entire lives in the media spotlight. The members of the media are PAID to do their "job". Is it possible that media members are INFLUENCED by those who pay them? Why should we ever trust the media who claim objectivity while their own lives and motivations remain hidden? Ever hear the phrase, "Consider the source?"

I don't care! if Romney's house contractor hired undocumented aliens. I do care if he is the man who can lead the US economy back to health, secure our borders, stand as Commander In Chief and as THE leader in international affairs. Mitt Romney is all that and a bag of chips.

A Romney presidency would be a third (and possibly fourth) Bush term.

Just what the world needs--another pathologically lying, filthy rich Republican religious right-wing loony born with a silver spoon, all of who's accomplishments are due to who his Daddy was.

Lord save us. As vomit-inducing as the idea is, I'd take Huck or Rudy in a minute over this clown.

Except for McCain (and he's no great shakes), the Republican candidates exemplify just how far Bush has lowered the bar on the presidency.

You know, there is a double-standard in media coverage. The "kid gloves" have come off in the media's approach with Governor Romney. This is not true for his Republican competitors. They seem to all gang up on Romney(media/other Republican candidates) and criticize the political points he tries to make. In fact, a New York Times columist; he is also a television commentator( sorry can't recall his name) he stated that all the other candidates literally "hated" Mitt Rommney. I think personally because he is of the Mormon faith. This then is unamerican, distasteful, hateful, and I hope the American people see through it all and support candidates objectively. I mean, John McCain seems to be the candidate that will be selected by the majority of the Republicans; but, McCain doesn't represent-change. McCain, is just a different George Bush. For example, he favors extended the war until we control the region. He has no problem with American corporations going over seas to make profits with cheap labor while working class Americans no longer have a "living wage" and cannot compete with the poorly paid foreign labor force. McCain is a bought off candidate controlled by big business with the Defense Industry pulling his strings. He is a moderate Republican but this guy is another Right winger. It will come out too that he is no war hero. He gave up vital information to the enemy when he was a captured by the viet cong during the Vietnam war.

Wow....The media sure is out to get Mitt!!! They're like a bunch of attack dogs just waiting to pounce on anything they can get their laptops on. They must be afraid of his chances of winning!!

It's hilarious to see the media and the Democrats pushing McCain or Huckabee and attacking Romney. It's very obvious whom both groups see is the major threat to Hillobama.

Posted by: Garret | January 18, 2008 8:16 AM

Garret, get over it.

"Mitt was right on the money here. Advising IS NOT running. Only in politics do advisers get credit for doing anything. In business, its the doing that counts."

Posted by: Jordan Andrews | January 18, 2008 9:19 AM

So Jordan what does that say about Mitt's interview on meet the press???

"Well, if we want somebody who has a lot of experience in foreign policy we can simply go to the State Department."

Mitt Romney

Mind you Jordan, I have no problem with presidents using advisers. Perhaps you could've framed you statement differently.

I found the exchange with the reporter very revealing. Both about the reporter and the candidate. The heat is definitely getting turned up on all the candidates. I like it. The press doing their jobs. The candidates (on both sides) have been thrown allot of softballs. Time to play hardball!!!

Wow....The media sure is out to get Mitt!!! They're like a bunch of attack dogs just waiting to pounce on anything they can get their laptops on. They must be afraid of his chances of winning!!

this is such a classic example of misleading, double speaking politics. He also said "they are not tied to my-" and was cut off. obviously he was going to say campaign, what else could possibly finish that sentence. That is a complete white lie, not saying they are tied when they absolutely are. he was lucky to get cut off there.

this is no different than 'i saw my father march with martin luther king'
'he never marched with king!'
'oh well, i meant... figuratively, as in i saw it as a vision in my head.'

what the hell is this guy on?? even more so, aren't you people SO SICK of the last 7 years of this kind of double speaking bad car salesman crap??

A couple of things:

1. Romney's parsing is downright Clintonesque.

2. I love how supporters of Romney are missing the point that he was caught in a lie. Instead, they engage in name calling, trying to paper over the truth. I especially like those people who seem to be directly quoting Limbaugh with such "clever" phrases as "drive-by media." Come on, people, being a conservative is fine, but try to get some original thoughts and not wait for some talk radio drone to plant them in your head!

The Swamie says:

McCain will take South Carolina and Jeff will start talkin' smack again.

Thompson will finish fourth so we can start buttering the toast.

Some poll(s) will be sited, because people like polls, except bruce who will have his usual hissy-fit. Then whinerdice will site some obscure pole from Lady of Lourdes Holy Cross St. Marks Bleeding Heart School to validate his perception of the world.

Jabbaent Johnny D. will give us some variation of his hysterical rant--loony left, worst mankind has to offer, blah, blah, blah.

Terry will come up with a plan for more corporate welfare to save us all, and we'll listen (because he's been right about everything else so far).

In the words of "Hot Rod" Hundley:

"You gotta love it, baby"

Slander! I get sick of reading articles that say, "Romney says his pants are blue, but in fact he drives a yellow car..." I have no idea how this embarrasment to our society was run by the Swamp. They showed be sued for slander. Pathetic.

I'm all for the AP reporter on this moment. Mitt wants to look all tough and outsider, but he's got the same evil lobbyists whispering at his ear on every plane flight. And why should Mitt pay this lobbyist? He's a millionaire. Why does he need Mitt's money when he knows he'll be making a fat payday if his boy gets into the White House.

Romneys answer or the way he answered should not be a surprise to anyone. From the start he has change his stance on about anything that would cater to a particular need at a particular time and audience. With all the changes and spins to justify them, I'm surprised he can walk without falling down

Romney did not answer the question's intent honestly. He uses a broad brush with the denial of lobbist use and then spins his Campaign Manager when it is pointed out that lobbist are a part of his campaign and are in fact, important advisors who have a major part of running the campaign. If truth is known, probably a more important part than that of the Campaign Manager.

Like Ice Cream, if you don't like Romney's flavor today, wait until tomorrow it will probably be different.

Johnson should be an example to all students of journalism. It's about time reporters acted like reporters instead of kissing up to every source and worrying about alienating them by asking 'tough' questions.

It depends what your definition of "running" is.

Romney said he didn't have "lobbyists" (plural) running his campaign. Now he says Beth Myers (singular) is the only one running his campaign.

If he hadn't wanted to mislead voters into thinking no one on the whole team was a lobbyist, he would have said he didn't have "a lobbyist" (singular) running his campaign. Or even more clearly, "Beth Myers, who runs my campaign, is not a lobbyist".

It's truthiness all right.

I can't fathom how all the Dems commenting here can say Bush, or Romney for that matter, have trouble with the truth.

"I did not have sex with that woman..." Remember that?

Romney knows what kind of mileage the liberal press would get out of any kind of admission, stated or implied, that lobbyists run his campaign. That's why he sought to clarify the distinction.

Notice that he didn't say, "I don't speak to lobbyists," or "I will not listen to a lobbyist," or "None of my friends or advisers are Washington insiders." It was this goofy reporter trying to get him to slip up, and I'm glad for once Romney pounced on him.

He should also have scolded him for interrupting him while he was trying to speak; it didn't look to me like he was answering questions at that particular moment, the reporter should shut up until it is his turn.

Now the mittster sounds like Clinton. It depends on what the meaning of "running" is.
Sounds like the mittster is carrying a bigger parse every day.

The media is attacking Romney because they're afraid he could beat Hillary or Obama??? That's hilarious. You right wingers have such a funny/paranoid view of the media. I'm an Obama supporter and I would LOVE to see someone as ridiculously two faced as Mitt win the republican nomination. He makes John Kerry look like the Rock of Gibraltar. Please vote Mitt.

If you listen carefully to Romney, he first says "I do not have lobbyists running my campaign or tied to my -" he is then cut off by the AP reporter's follow up. Romney was clearly about to say he does not have lobbyists TIED TO his campaign at all. The reporter sort of gave him an out to parse away by cutting him off.

"It all depends on what your definition of "is" is". That came from the mouth of the man these reporters wish was still in office; and will be if his wife can display some added human emotions at the correct moment.

Republicans, this is your Bill Clinton. Wonderman governor, good looks, & charismatic. Little white lies, obfuscations, and half truths should be your warning signs. This isn't the first time. He misled you when he said he hunted. He said his kids were serving the country by serving his campaign. Now he wants to project an image that he doesn't have lobbyists involved is his campaign... reminds ME of "I didn't inhale." He will say anything, ANYTHING to get elected, then do what he pleases. He's not the Republican saviour. He will be the party's undoing.

Hmmm, I guess Romney learned how to tell the "truth" from Bill Clinton.

You all make me laugh. Even if Romney DOES have a lobbyist involed in his campaign, do you really think that there is a candidate out there, republican or democrat, that isn't involed with lobbyists one way or another?? This is a classic example of the media running out of things to report on. Please people stop buying into stuff like this. I'm not say vote or don't vote for Romney. Just please don't take everything you see in the news for face value.

He believes whatever is convenient and says whatever he thinks you want to hear. I hope America sends this scum back to Utah where he belongs.

1. It's about time a reporter challenged a candidate on a false statement. Parse his words all you want, but Romney's point was that he is a Washington outsider. When your campaign is being advised by a host of lobbyists, that's simply not true.

2. Quit falling back on the "liberal media" cliche and give a reasoned argument. The fact is that most media outlets are owned by major corporations and act accordingly. The Tribune for example, if I understand correctly, has never once endorsed a Democrat for president.

3. And GET A CLUE! The real issue here is that lobbyists are determining all our fates. It doesn't matter if the candidate is a Republican or a Democrat. While the general public is worries about stupid things like Monica Lewinsky and gay marriage, lobbyists are determining how much we pay for medicine, utilities, you name it. Wake up and realize that special interests are ruling your life.

To truly understand Romney you need merely to examine the issues that he supported as Gov of Mass versus those he purports to support now. Had he been running for Gov of Mass on his current platform he would never have been elected.

Personally, Romney is my least favorite candidate, but even he is more honest than Mrs.Clinton and "JFK/MLK wanna-be" Obama.

Once again, our pro-Democratic media is blowing thing out of proportion trying to smear any alternative candidate. Funny (and sad) how one starts and the rest immediately pick up.

Isn't Romney the guy that tied his dog to the roof of his car and somehow has twisted that so it was a good thing? It says it all about the guy.

He's obviously mincing words. "They aren't running my campaign - they are "senior advisors". How can Jordan Andrews say "Only in politics do advisers get credit for doing anything. In business, its the doing that counts"?

In business, you pay senior advisors to advise you how to run your business. That's pretty much what the definition of the word "advise" is, pal.

This is exactly what the press should be doing...challenge politicians when they lie or misrepresent themselves, especially when they are doing it for gain. This has nothing to do with party or where the candidate is on a political spectrum.

Bravo to the AP reporter.

However, it is one thing to catch them doing this, and another to misrepresent what the politician says. This situation is clearly the former and not the latter.

it seems like just rhetoric/semantics. funny how the media attacks everything a republican says..

and I don't think the media is ever really truthful as they stick to a personal agenda

A lie in time saves nine, right Mitt?

Hate to sound so cynical but what I have observed over the past few years leads me to the conclusion that they (politicians or political want a bes) ALL lie or stretch the truth about things. What is fascinating about it now is that with the internet, they are getting busted for their misstatements on a more regular basis, almost immediately and it is in the public eye. Even more interesting is when a politician occassionally makes a very accurate and true statement re: McCain in MI saying that the old auto industry jobs won't come back and they have to focus on the new technology and training - they get crucified. Thank GOD for youtube and other sites like it. I think it is great! I still haven't decided who I am finally going to support. I am wavering between Obama and McCain.

Not a fan of Mitt at all, but watching the clip and researching Glen Johnson's writings, it does appear that he is far from fair and balanced in his approach to different candidates.

If you do not like Romney or if you have fallen into the hate trap toward any republicans then Johnson will be your hero.

If you love Romney then Johnson embodies all that is wrong with the media.

If you like fairness, decency, truth and honor you may be uncomfortable with both parties here.

"He makes John Kerry look like the Rock of Gibraltar."

Brian, you hit the nail on the head, and I'm a republican. This guy would be a mess in the general election. If you think his hunting adventures and stance on lobbyists are wrong, you should see his policy positons on abortion.

There's a reason dailykos wants him to win the nomination.

It's FUNNY to read posts by LIBS "concerned" about Romneys veracity, when they are offering America another round of CLINTON.


Romney has more lobbyists than wives.

I know you are not suppose to bring religion into this, but you silly republicans better wake up if you want to keep your Christian faith, lol.

The Book of Mormon: Joseph Smith was given, by the Angel Moroni, a set of gold plates which he translated by the power of God.

ok....Mitt Romney says he believes in Mormonism....and you must to be a member.

I do not want for president a person who believes some guy (Joseph Smith)...stuck his head in a hat with some "seer" stones...(Urim and Thummim) and THAT IS HOW HE translated the "new" Mormon bible.......
(at least until god got p'oed at him for losing 116 pages and took the dang stones)

Good Grief, there are tons and tons more but it is just to silly.

PLEASE go read up on mormonism PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

You would have to be a MORON to beleive the stuff they beleive.

The Angel MORONI......what a joke.

and this is what Mitt Romney beleives????

No wonder he has no problem flip flopping and twisting statements.

I'm not sure what's worse: the lies, or the false "conservatives" here who obviously don't believe in honesty or accountability. The fact that there are apologists here in the face of blatant lies exposes one of the key problems with our political system, and in particular, among wage-slave Republican voters. If these people were truly patriotic, they would stay home on election day and not taint the democratic process with an ignorant, uninformed vote.

It's no wonder this country is in the state that it's in when people will openly and gladly accept blatant dishonesty from their candidate. People like Garret, Brian H and Nick, who want to deny reality do nothing but harm to our nation and our democratic process by casting an ignorant vote simply because they are too swelled with undeserved pride to admit that they are wrong and that they chose a bad candidate to support. People like that are bad for democracy.

Gotta love it when the press really does its job. Must make a whole lot of conservative republicans especially nervous.

Come on. The reporter kept insisting that the lobbyist was "running" Romney's campaign. Which he clearly is not. The reporter was snotty and just plain wrong.

Reporter (question that I wish they would ask): Is it true Mr. Romney that you believe the founder of the Mormon faith stuck his head in his hat with two stones that an angel gave him, and translated the Mormon bible, that was to be the replacement for the Christian "bible"?

Anyone who watches the clip will see the clear impression that this representative of the press appears to be an unprofessional, snot-nosed brat. I have worked around the press quite a bit and find the tone and manner of the questioning to be highly unprofessional. Finally, I think anyone that knows him knows that he is a Clinton supporter. I wonder what kind of treatment he'd give Hill...? Read some of his articles. He would practically like to coronate her himself.

As for the substance of the responses, I can tell you that running a campaign is very different from advising one. I've been involved in both ends of that spectrum and Romney was flat-out telling the truth. Lobbyists don't run his campaign. Before anyone jumps all over me for having a horse in this race, I don't work for or advise any campaigns and haven't for quite a few years. I just find it irritating when clueless people like Mark Silva try to make up an argument that falls flat on its face and so many people buy it. I love seeing reporters trying to rally together to prop up eachother. Way to rally for your fellow lefty reporter Silva! Say hi to your pal Obama for us.

This article is entitled "covering Romney is an ethical test for journalists"

When a candidate lies repeatedly, as Mitt Romney has, should a journalist maintain objectivity and refrain from saying the obvious?" asks Dan Kennedy. "Or does he or she have an ethical obligation to point out that the liar is lying again? I'd argue the latter."

I'd argue that Romney's lips are moving.

Willard "turned the Olympics around"...thats when they caught all those Utahan's for bribing the Olympic Committee. The bottom line, is that Willard had the U.S. government underwrite the Winter Olympics...they even built the light rail system that runs through Salt Lake City. As for running a business--Bain Capital is/was venture capital buying up distressed businesses, firing employees(downsized), squeezed all of the profits out, and then sold them off, piece meal. That is not like running your own business. He's also in bed with Marriott and Huntsman--big Mormon business people. Willard will say anything to anyone to get elected. Just go over his past votes and comments and he ran as Governor of Mass. after being beat for Senate race against Kennedy. Don't kill the messenger (the media)they're right about challenging statements--which they didn't do in 2000 and look whee we are now...

It was okay with the AP and other left news agencies, when former President Clinton did the same thing!

As an observer that honestly leans more to the left than right, I am more surprised at everyone's shock than either side of the story.

On one hand, arguments like those made by Jake W Garn near the top are ridiculous. Whether or not the media is spinning Romney's comments is irrelevant. Mitt’s comment regarding whether or not lobbyists are "running his campaign" is at best grossly misleading. I'm not sure any reasonable person can dismiss it as unintentional.

However, it is also impossible to assume that anyone on the democratic side is any more or less truthful when representing his or her campaign. Each of these candidates is presenting the portion of their views/politics that are most likely to them elected. None of them can be completely honest. If they veer too far to either side, or God forbid support a non-party issue, they have to fear loosing that swing vote and the support of their party.

But until our two party system is reformed, the lessor of two evils is the best we can hope for. No entirely honest candidate has a chance of winning when it’s ultimately coming down to the Electoral College.

I would say that deciding whether or not to vote for Mitt Romney based on this comment is probably a bad idea. As far as I can tell, being misleading doesn't distinguish him from any other candidate. Do some research and find out what does. All of us are in much better shape if we go that route.

Nice to see someone bring out the snake inside of Mitt Romney.

What a phony!

He sure can dish out the misleading implications about other candidates, but look at how he takes one himself.


Thanks for suggesting that people learn about what people from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) believe. Please go to or so you can get the facts. You wouldn't want people to learn about you from your enemies, so please go to sites from the church that tell the truth about them. We also believe the bible,and I can assure you that many things from the bible that we and other Christians believe sound as wacky as what Mormons believe. In fact all religions have things that sound a bit wacky.

This AP reporter is just another Anti-Mormon jerk.

If the folks in SC want Huckabee then they are going to prove just what they really are.

Any candidate that has signs with confederate flags on his should be run outta the U.S.

What is your definition of a lobbyist? A lot seems to hinge on this. They carry bad connotations but actually accomplish quite a bit of good. Environmental lobbyists? Animal rights lobbyists? Tax lobbyists? Education lobbyists? People seem to think that lobbyists are dirty people when they don't represent you but clean shaven heroes when they do.

You don't have politics without lobbying these days. Perhaps, you would like to set up an anti-lobbying lobby.

First off, I'm a liberal democrat who wants nothing to do with Romney. However, even I am going to side with him on this one. Lobbyists and lobbying are integral part of our current system, like it or not, and having a lobbyist friend as an advisor is not undermining political integrity. It simply means participation in the system has built up a relationship between the two. It's an unavoidable thing. Have ANY of you interned at the capitol? Did ANY of you major in poli-sci?

I don't doubt his campaign is corrupt, because they all are. I'm just saying you can't accuse this guy of lying in this instance. Campaign management vs. friendly advising = DIFFERENCE. AP reporter = UNEXPERIENCED. Uneducated masses who side with reporter = people who shouldn't be voting.

P.S. LJ, there isn't a candidate on the ticket whose religion isn't as fkd up as mormonism. SO STOP WITH THE PRETENTIOUS INTOLERENCE. I'm an atheist, but I never disrespect a person's expression of spirituality. It's people like YOU who keep this race about the superficial (like race vs gender on the Dem side) instead of the political.

IS there a candidate that doesn't have a lobbyist aiding them?

I strongly dislike Romney, but it doesn't seem dishonest to me...having someone involved in the campaign isn't the same as someone running a campaign....

I think some of the biggest "flip-floppers" are the voters who will pay this much attention to how the media and campaigners portray an individual. The media feeds them the "truth" and they buy it, and then a conflicting story will appear, and they change their minds and buy that. If Mitt Romney said that "Ron Kaufman is running my campaign" wouldnt that be a lie? He said "He is not running my campaign, but he is an unpaid advisor" So he told it how it was, what more can you ask for?

Conservatives are a funny lot, claiming "the liberal media" doesn't want Romney to win.

I don't buy the "liberal media" line as its usually quoted by people when they can't refute the facts and instead just offer knee-jerk reactions.

I'd say Romney offers our best hope of getting a Democrat elected to the White House. Maybe I'll start a group, Democrats for Romney.

It depends on what the definition of "running" is (or perhaps the definition of "is" is).

Since when do journalists put themselves in the stories they are supposed to be covering?

I always thought a reporter waits until the end of the speech to challenge, rebut, explore, etc.

Imagine if everytime a politician is making a statement a reporter from an opposition paper (Like the Boston Globe) interrupted to argue with the speaker.

Effective if the reporter wants to make him/herself a part of the story and prevent the audience from hearing the prepared remarks of the speaker.

Opposition reporters could do this to all politicians and interrupt them every time they make a statement they want to challenge.

We all know that the Boston Globe is doing ALL it can to hurt Romney -- but this is a new low.


You nailed it, buddy!

It's very interesting to see the social acceptance of so many small-minded and discriminatory attacks on Mormonism following any Mitt Romney article. With so many blatant statements, I wonder how many of the people who do not stoop to that thoughtless level, but instead use "facts," policical opinions, and interpretations unfairly - meaning as mere pretext to disparage a seemingly successful and well known Mormon rather than to express legitimate concern about issues, engage in useful public debate, or anything else productive.

To those who posted comments that mock and belittle mormon beliefs as being so improbable that any person who believes them is stupid - why not disparage all people who believe in the bible in a similar fashion? Relative to a person being swallowed by a whale and surviving, a person separating a large body of water by will, a person walking on water, a person dying and coming back to life days later, and angels visiting from the heavens, believing a man was visited by an angel and given gold plates is just as probable - or improbable as you believe. Perhaps you don't make similar comments about the bible because it is not socially acceptable.

I suggest a person's adherence to a religion is not based on probability; it is based on faith. And while I think it fair to judge the outward manifestations of particular religions - meaning production and results - I think it unfair and un-American to judge or criticize beliefs only. Our country was founded on principles of acceptance for diversity of thought with respect to deity. I am not a Mormon, but as an American I call on everyone to reject such intolerance and small-mindedness.

In terms of results, Mormons are as productive as any other religion or institution. The Mormon value system that inspires them is as traditional and as American as any other value system in existence. I just don't see a problem with a Mormon president. If anyone can disagree in those terms I welcome the argument.

Having said all that, here is my relatively objective analysis (I am a true independent with no clear favorite on the Republican side - although I slightly favor Obama on the Dem side): Romney did not lie in this particular instance, and I think did a good job maintaining composure. A legitimate disagreement exists over the definition of "running a campaign." On that issue you can side with the reporter or with Romney, but nobody was dishonest. I happen to agree with the reporter's view that the person holding the manager title is not the only person who "runs the campaign," so Romney's comment that his manager is not a lobbyist does not entirely settle the question. However, no real facts have been laid out by either side to persuade me Romney's camp has or has not been prominently influenced by lobbyists. Also, I found the reporter's tone and lack of respect completely unprofessional. We may need journalists who ask tougher questions, but they can do so in a professional manner. This guy was just wanting to argue.

I believe Romney is having a hard time making his point clear, which I really believe is a rebuttal to some of the personal jabs thrown at him by rivals about his wealth - the tone being "you can't buy the presidency." I Think those attacks have hurt Romney because most Americans, despite coveting wealth themselves, despise people who have it. I think Romney is trying to respond by saying "Look, the presidency is going to be 'bought' either way. The truth is that a winning campaign costs a lot of money. But at least with me you know where the money came from. Anyone else, who doesn't have the personal wealth, will have to buy the presidency with someone else's money and will end up owing that person/s or group/s after the election." That's my opinion.

I have followed all campaigns very closely, and I've calculated Romney has lied only once or twice. I'm not sure the others are any better or worse on that. With repect to emphasizing social issues in one state, the economy in another, etc. - that's what all politicians do. It's not a lie, it's emphasizing the part of your platform that voters in the area will connect best with. He's saying he will lower taxes in one state and raise taxes in another. I just don't get all the negativity - or why "liar" has stuck with Romney and no mention is made of the other candidates.

I also don't see the major problem in what everyone calls "flip-flopping." There are more than two perspectives on issues in the world. Our society has become so polarized that it keeps us stagnant. I understand voter's desire to have consistency and trust in a candidate - but all this venom is over the top. I think we create a system that makes politicians lie all the time and refuse to admit to what they are actually doing and just deny inconsistencies until people quit asking about them. We as voters have got to change that before we can expect any change in Washington. I think Romney may not have the consistency on social issues to vote for him (if I were a social conservative), but I at least give him credit for admitting a change and showing some vulnerability.

This post is long enough. It is not meant to be a "vote for Romney" post. I just think the guy should get a break from all the attacks that just don't matter. I like Mitt Romney - he is a good guy, just like all the other candidates are good people. Personally, I doubt he could get my vote because some of his positions are too conservative for me.

Did anyone notice McCain looking so frail going down the escalator after his plane arrived in SC this week? His wife was so attentive in holding him. McCain you better stick to the Senate and forget about the presidency.

Being a lobbyist does not mean the person is seeking improper influence on the candidate or their campaign. Just because they work in politics, it means they might be best qualified to help a candidate run their campaign.

I realize that this article is about Romney's honesty, but I hate to see the term "lobbyist" thrown around with such disregard for the people who work in that profession. I don't support Romney or any of the GOP candidates, but I do think they are smart for hiring people who know how to run campaigns or make connections at the state political level where they need to win.

Very few lobbyists are Jack Abramhoff, just like very few journalists are Pat O'Brien. Most lobbyists, including myself are honest hard working people who advocate for causes, non-profits and issues that need our help. Most lobbyists are not "fat cats" as is often portrayed.

All the people who call Romney "flip-flopper" are haters who are fearful of the best candidate actually being elected for once! Scared cats who revert to name calling.

And what a lame effort that is. Who hasn't changed their minds in their lives? Hey, if Romney changed his mind after an informed and educated understanding, then more power to him.

Isn't leadership about making the RIGHT decisions and not about making the SAME decisions for the rest of your life, even if it's WRONG? Maybe that's why America is broken.

Besides, all the Romney-haters are able to dig up on him is his varying stance on abortion! Give me a break and cry me a river.

You haters don't have anything on Romney. He is the most upstanding and competent candidate in the whole messy pool of losers.

Romney will go all the way! He is the only viable candidate, accomplished, educated, strong valued, diplomatic and has a long history of success. He can pull us out of this economic slump.

Seriously, our country is going to doom if we even consider any of the other candidates...A mad warmonger whose only skill or accomplishment is criticism, a bigoted fire and brimstone preacher, an aged actor, a failed and feeble mayor, an all-talk inexperienced rookie, a liberal cheated wife, etc...

Only Romney is the true Statesman.


This is great- pick Duncan Hunter if you wont a real conservative!!

Although I don't like Romney (Republican John Kerry), I believe that reporter was stupid to cut Mitt off in the middle of a statement. If he were just to wait to ask questions at the end, maybe Mitt would've been caught in another big lie. Especially since he was about to say, "I don't have lobbyists tied to my--"
Lobbyists tied to what? I want to know what Mitt would've said! And now we'll never know.
It could've been another instance of blatant Mitt flip-floppiness.

"...Romney flatly declared ... that he doesn't have lobbyists running his campaign."


"In fact, several lobbyists either work in the campaign or advise Romney ..."


Perhaps the author, Ms Zuckman, should be replaced by an illegal alien reporter from Mexico - certainly their English comprehension couldn't be any worse.

All of this bickering is diverting our attention from the very valid point Mitt was trying to make: that he is one of the candidates in this election that doesn't have decades worth of favors to repay to special interests.

"Gotta love it when the press really does its job. Must make a whole lot of conservative republicans especially nervous"

Conservative Americans will be voting for Ron Paul. Romney is high on the list of Lobbyist donees. Paul and Kucinich have not taken lobbyist money.

And Hil is #1 on the lobbyist list. Obama is well below. I am a replican who may vote demo if ron paul is not elected.

Snore. Romney knows lobbyists. Romney consults with lobbyists. Who cares?

Don't wake me until Romney takes money from lobbyists or evidence is uncovered about some tit for tat deal.

Saying Romney is in league with lobbyists because of proximity is like saying people in Minnesota are vampires because they live near so many mosquitoes.

If a candidate isn't honest with the American people when he is applying for the job, how can anyone trust him to be honest when he gets into the Oval Office?

Or doesn't that matter to the Romney backers.

I find it amusing that everyone complains that Mitt is "pandering" when that is what every politician does to encourage people to vote for them. Huck, McCain, Hillary, Obama, Thompson, Guiliani and Paul are all doing the same thing.

The video clip conveniently cuts off the rest of the conversation. Romney then goes on to say that he hasn't put in millions of his own dollars (much more of his own money than any other candidate has paid for their own campaigns) to go to Washington to pay off a lobbyist. He is doing this for America.

He is telling the truth.

Go Romney!!

Ever wonder why people can see the EXACT SAME CLIP and come to completely opposite conclusions? Some find Romney to be coolheaded and adept at clarifying his intended meeting and the role lobbyists have in his campaign while others see him as angry and evasive?

Well, I saw an interesting article today that may be related. It answers why Mitt is stuck with the label flip-flopper depsite that his competitors have changed their positions just as much. Have a look:

LJ-you certainly sound smart, lets review. Christians believe Moses parted the Red Sea, Noah built a big boat and saved mankind, Jesus fed the masses with two loaves and two fish and raised the dead...need I go on? Mormons believe an Angel of God gave golden plates to a man to translate into ANOTHER testament of Jesus Christ - a COMPANION to the Bible and you say that's unbelievable? Hmmm. It's funny that you accuse Mitt Romney of having strange beliefs when the true is that all Christians have strange beliefs to an outsider. You've been listening to the anti mormon bigots like Mike Huckabee and not asking yourself any serious questions. Mitt Romney is exactly what America needs and I can't wait to vote for him!

I think we should start a new party called the "Jesuscrats" for evangelicals who hate Mormons. Ever noticed how the level of an evangelical's hatred for Mormons is inversely proportional to their IQ? The stupider they are, the more they hate Mormons. Ann Coulter, who is brilliant and an evangelical, loves Romney and doesn't think he's a flip-flopper. I think evangelical hatred has more to do with jealously of Mormon organization and success than anything else -- of course evangelicals are too arrogant to ever admit that, even to themselves. Mormons certainly believe more in Jesus than Jews do, but evangelicals don't spend all day railing on Jews. All this anti-Mormonism is making me start to believe what the Democrats have been saying about the religious right forever, they're hypocrits.

Right. Johnson and these other reporters salivate over Clinton, Obama, McCain and Huckabee. Glen was the same goofball that called Clinton "regal". Sure, Tracy Flick is now regal with all her god awful jargon, distortion and exagerations.

If these group actually asked McCain and his pill popping bimbo actual questions, the candidates would not have to point out that McCain has 32 lobbyist parading around as "bundlers" and recapitalizing McCain's near bankrupt campaign by selling his soul and collateralizing his donor list.

That is the good thing about an independently wealth candidate like Romney that can avoid running his campaign into the ground like McCain.

Glen Johnson's job is to report the story not become the story. This lovefest for the Dems like McCain and the rest is silly while you literally conspire to a new standard for a few of the candidates as Cox points out below.

January 18, 2008 8:46
One Lie Too Many
Posted by Ana Marie Cox | Comments (14) | Permalink | Trackbacks (0) | Email This
Drudge's devotion to the Glen Johnson/Mitt Romney smack down is much more surprising than the event itself: One of the hallmarks of the Romney campaign is the way reporters, barred from access to the actual candidate, spend the journey from event to event talking about the candidate's latest distortions/exaggerations/evasions. So no wonder Johnson boiled over.

It had been a long time coming. In Michigan, the frustration over Romney's complete disingeniousness about "bringing your jobs back" conjured a rare degree of camaraderie, and we caucused together and came up with a list of questions that we agreed to ask no matter who got called on at the next press conference. For instance: "If Bain Capital was going to invest in the auto industry, what segment would it invest in, and how would that help Michigan?" Salon's Mike Madden actually got that in, but it elicited a non-answer: "I've been out of the private sector too long to advise people on that kind of thing." In other words, his experience in the private sector is relevant, until he's called upon to use it.

UPDATE: Fellow traveler Jill Zuckman has more on the veracity of Romney's claim that lobbyists don't run his campaign.

The only reason for being for lobbyists is to bribe politicians to push their agendas. It is way past time for the voters of this country to demand that politicians eliminate lobbyists.

Anyone of you (unfortunately fellow Americans) who view any politician's lies as acceptable because you either like the candidate in question or because you just blame all of our problems on someone else(or the other party) are hypocritical idiots and in my view the reason our country is so divided on key issues.

If you are a Romney supporter and you choose to look past this "parcing of words" aka "lying" then that's fine with me. I'm not naive enough to believe that most all politicians "lie" because there are lots of Americans like you "hypocritcal idiots" that don't care if the politicians "lie" as long as they say what you want them to say.

That said, it's understandable why politicans "parce words" (aka "lie"). You want them to, you bait them to. How can we expect them not to lie when we have let it become acceptable to do so?

Don't insult the rest your fellow Americans who are sick of all this "parcing words".

The slogan for this type of political rehtoric should be "Lie. Lie big. Then lie about the lies you lied about."

If you "hypocritical idiots" as I call you are fine with the "parcing words" and "lies" as I've read above that there seems to be no shortage of you then I suspect it doesn't matter who wins the Repbulican or Democratic nominations or who becomes our President because the status quo is that there are too many Americans that allow our elected officials to "parce words" and "lie" to build their own bank accounts as well as their freinds and political allies at the expense of the American people and our sons and daughters dying to defend the "Word Parcers" and "Lyers".

What scares me most is that you "hypocritical idiots" probaly have children and are teaching them the same idiotic ideology!

I've read through quite a bit of this thread and it sounds like a bunch of whiney Ron Pauls. This whole reporter thing is being blown way out of proportion. Romney gets attacked more than any other candidate so maybe have a little sympathy. Romney is a great man with an amazing track record, he's like Kobe Bryant or Tom Brady, everyone hates him because he's the best, deny it all you want, but the best player always gets booed the most. Please just do your homework and realize that Romney is easily the best choice for Republicans, quit hating him because he's the best, it's a stupid reason.

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