Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen urged Mitt Romney to build his presidential campaign around a Super PAC ad that has been called misleading by independent fact-checkers.
The ad, from Fox News contributor Karl Rove's pro-Republican super PAC American Crossroads, criticizes President Obama for the nation's high unemployment rate and claims, among other things, that there are now "fewer jobs than when [Obama] started."
Independent fact-checkers have rated that charge false, pointing out that according to recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more jobs now than when Obama took office. Thiessen, who appeared on Fox News' America Live to discuss tonight's presidential debate, ignored that analysis.
After host Megyn Kelly played an excerpt from the ad stating that Obama hasn't kept his promise of a 5.6 percent unemployment rate, Thiessen encouraged Romney to build his campaign around the ad, saying, "I think it's exactly the right message to have going forward."
Thiessen's claim that Obama "said he would lower the unemployment rate 5.6 percent, but we've now had our 43rd month of above 8 percent unemployment" is also bogus. A report produced by Obama's economic advisers did predict unemployment would be 5.6 percent, but the report was produced before the release of data showing the recession was much worse than previously estimated. Indeed, in March 2009, the BEA estimated that the overall U.S. economy had declined by 6.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008 -- nearly twice as much as BEA's "advance" estimate of 3.8 percent.
In February, Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post's resident fact-checker, criticized Romney for claiming that Obama said the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent, writing:
Given that we first outlined the problems with this claim more than a year ago -- and given that the facts are clearly known to the Romney campaign -- it is distressing that Romney would continue hype it up into such a misleading assertion.
By pushing that same misleading assertion -- an assertion long debunked, including by his own paper's fact-checker -- Thiessen again demonstrated his commitment to post-truth journalism.