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Mitt's Mouth

So today Mitt Romney got into it with an AP reporter who challenged his claim that he has no lobbyists "tied to" his campaign. (Romney was drawing a distinction with John McCain, whom he's now painting as a corrupted DC insider, and whose campaign is in fact run by a lobbyist, a totally fair-game point given McCain's rhetoric.) That's not true--Romney has at least two lobbyists, longtime H.W. Bush advisor Ron Kaufman and former Justice Department official Barbara Comstock, as influential advisors.

In isolation, what Romney said perhaps isn't such an outrage. But there really does seem to be a pattern with this guy. He says the NRA endorsed him in 2002 when it didn't. He calls himself a lifelong hunter when he's really not. He denies in a debate that his campaign has called McCain an "amnesty" supporter when it has (repeatedly!). And depending on how you feel about his definition of "saw," you can add that to the list too. (Am I forgetting anything? Let me know in comments.)

A couple of these episodes are trivial; who really cares if the guy is a true hunter? Al Gore was unfairly pilloried for allegedly claiming to have "invented" the Internet (he never said that). But certainly when talking about their opponents' ethics, as Romney was today, candidates should be held to a pretty high standard.

Update: I just saw the clip again. The reporter, Glen Johnson of the AP, jumped on Romney for saying no lobbyists are "running" his campaign, which seems a somewhat more debatable claim (although Johnson doesn't buy it). But Romney did appear to be adding the line that no lobbyists are "tied to" his campaign either, which is clearly not true.

--Michael Crowley