Last November, Romney's campaign cut an ad that quoted Obama in '08 saying "if we talk about the economy, we'll lose"-- conveniently leaving out the fact that Obama was quoting (and mocking) the McCain camp talking about its own prospects. When called out, Romney's aides doubled down, suggesting that all's fair in love and political war:
Struggling to justify a recent television spot that reached new heights of deception, a top operative in Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign put it plainly, while insisting on anonymity:
“First of all, ads are propaganda by definition. We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business…. Ads are agitprop…. Ads are about hyperbole, they are about editing. It’s ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context…. All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”
In other words, because various political ads mislead to varying degrees, we're serving notice that we will distort the truth without any inhibitions.
In the CNN debate in Florida on January 26, Romney showed that he agrees with his aides in principle. Gingrich called him out for an attack ad claiming that Gingrich called Spanish "the language of the ghetto." Romney, shamefully, claimed not to have seen the ad -- which, unlike the Super Pac attack ads he claimed not to have seen a couple of weeks ago, was created by his campaign and had his "I approved this message" imprimatur. On top of that dishonesty, Romney added the 'fuck context' defense:
We did double-check, just now, Governor, that ad that we talked about, where I quoted you as saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish “the language of the ghetto” — we just double-checked. It was one of your ads. It’s running here in Florida in — on the radio. And at the end you say, “I’m Mitt Romney and I approved this ad.”Oh, OK, he said it. Democrats, take note: by Romney rules, Romney likes to fire people. Etc.
So it is — it is here.
ROMNEY: Let me ask — let me ask a question.
Let me ask the speaker a question. Did you say what the ad says or not? I don’t know.
GINGRICH: It’s taken totally out of context.
ROMNEY: Oh, OK, he said it.