DNC – Bill Clinton’s Evisceration of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Republicans

Clinton - DNCLast night at the Democratic National Convention, Romney campaign lies met with a smooth talkin’ boy from Arkansas, former President Bill Clinton, and the result was a political smack-down broadcast live to millions of Americans. — Here are five Romney-Ryan-Republican lies turned to dust:

WELFARE REFORM

The Romney campaign is running an ad stating President Obama gutted welfare reform. They claim Obama wants to give welfare recipients a check with no strings attached, no work requirement.

Clinton: Now let’s look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.

Here’s what happened. When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%. You hear that? More work. So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Now that is true. I couldn’t have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.

 

STEAL FROM MEDICARE TO FUND OBAMACARE

The Romney campaign, and specifically Paul Ryan, say President Obama stole $716 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act).

Clinton: Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.

When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama’s “biggest coldest power play” in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget. You got to admit one thing. It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.

 

TRICKLE DOWN AND THE DEBT

Romney-Ryan and their Republican friends believe in trickle down (supply side) economics. They believe if you give tax cuts to the super rich (so-called job creators) that this will lead to prosperity for all. This is an economic theory put into practice over the past three decades, but to a lesser extent during Clinton’s 8 years. It has resulted in the rich getting richer and the poor and middle-class falling into a rut of no income growth and less job opportunities.

Republicans believe in their supply side economics so much that most have signed Grover Norquist’s “tax pledge” stating they will never under any circumstances raise taxes. And the Bush tax cuts are not enough. They want to give more tax cuts to the wealthy and then attempt to balance the budget by slashing government services for the poor and middle-class.

Clinton: People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan – the – arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.

 

THE ECONOMY

The Romney-Ryan-Republican message is simple: Obama failed. They don’t have to explain it. They just ask “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?“. I’ve explained why this question is flawed but that the flaw is what makes it so effective. But the reality is that the country and the economy are in better shape now regardless of what the current unemployment rate is (or any other stat) for one simple reason: direction – What was the trajectory of the country and the economy in January 2009 and what is it now?

Clinton: I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.

Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.

I understand the challenge we face. I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.

I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.

President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.

I believe that with all my heart.

 

JOBS AND THE STIMULUS

Republicans say the stimulus didn’t work. They are wrong. The stimulus did work. If there was one mistake, it was that the stimulus was not big enough because nobody realized how bad the economy really was. That was known later with benefit of hindsight.

Clinton: In 2010, as the President’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.

The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.

Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.

The auto industry restructuring worked. It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That’s why even auto-makers that weren’t part of the deal supported it. They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together.

Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured. Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.

 

Most quotes courtesy of The Huffington Post – Bill Clinton Speech Text: Read The Former President’s Democratic Convention Remarks (as prepared before the speech)

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