A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactChecking Romney


We are periodically taking a look at past claims from the 2012 presidential candidates, and today it's Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is set to announce in New Hampshire that he'll seek the Republican nomination for the second time. Here's a recap of some of our fact-checking of Romney during the last campaign and since:

  • Most recently, we found Romney misrepresenting the federal health care law and the overhaul he signed into law in Massachusetts. Romney said the federal law "kills jobs," but independent experts say the impact would be "small" and partly offset by new jobs in health care and insurance. He also claimed that the effort in his state "didn't raise taxes" while the federal law did. But his successor increased cigarette taxes to fund the law. Plus, there are penalties for those who don't comply with the individual mandate to have insurance and for employers that don't offer it. Those same requirements were part of a list of "taxes" in the federal law sent to us by a Romney spokesman. His efforts last fall to differentiate his plan from the federal law also came up short.
  • In February, Romney wrongly claimed that there were "more men and women out of work in America than there are people working in Canada," and he falsely said that President Barack Obama "has stood watch over the greatest job loss in modern American history," calling this an "inconvenient truth." Actually, the truth, inconvenient or not, is that more jobs were lost under President George W. Bush during the recent recession than under Obama.
  • During the last presidential campaign, Romney spent some time defending hundreds of millions of dollars in fee increases and loophole closings he instituted as governor, measures that other candidates, like Sen. John McCain, called "taxes." At one Republican debate, Romney said the fees needed to be adjusted for inflation and to cover the cost of services, but Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer told us the increase "wasn't tied to any analysis of the cost of delivering those services. It was a budget-closing exercise." In an ad, the campaign also misleadingly claimed Romney "cut taxes." He did cut some, but overall rates remained the same. He also claimed that he "did not raise taxes," a misleading statement that ignores the fee increases and the fact that he shifted more of the tax burden to cities and counties.
  • He also blamed the uninsured problem solely on freeloaders, saying that "the reason health care isn't working like a market right now is you have 47 million people that are saying, 'I'm not going to play. I'm just going to get free care paid for by everybody else.' " But experts say most people don't turn down insurance in favor of relying on the emergency room. A 2007 study found that only 20 percent of the uninsured could afford to buy coverage and that 56 percent couldn't afford it and weren't eligible for public programs.
  • Finally, in a feel-good ad, Romney said: "In the next 10 years, we'll see more progress, more change than the world has seen in the last 10 centuries." Really? We didn't think so.

We also have summarized claims by President Obama and Republican candidates Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty.