"Liar! He's a Liar!"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 2 2012 11:31 AM

"Liar! He's a Liar!"

HILLIARD, Ohio -- For days, ever since an OFA staffer captured it live, the Obama campaign has been shaming Mitt Romney over an ad that implies Jeep jobs might move to China. The Romney commercial is based on a breezy, purposeful misreading of a story about new demand for Jeeps in China, which has the company considering some plants in that country. In the commercial, this has become a demonic tale of Obama "selling Chrysler to an Italian company, which is going to build Jeeps in China."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

The ad has not been pulled; the Obama campaign has counted on editorial page backlash to make it bounce back on Romney. In Hilliard, the message got through, and the crowd of 2800 or so people proved it.

"When you try to change the facts, just because they inconvenience your campaign, that's not change," said the president. "Trying to massage the facts, that's not change."

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A man standing in the middle of the crowd shouted: "It's lying!"

Obama started to let the crowd finish the thought for him. Let them, not him, call out Romney. "That, that's just..."

"Lying! Lying!"

"You know, we've been seeing this, what Gov. Romney's trying to spread, right here in Ohio!"

"He's a liar!"

"You've got folks who work at the Jeep plant who've been calling their employers, asking: Is it true? Are our jobs being shipped to China? And the reason for this calls that Gov. Romney has been running an ad that says so."

Obama finished summarizing that story (which, I believe, was broken for the media by labor unions), and concluded that "you don't scare hard-working Americans just to scare up votes." That's the way Obama needs voters to understand the new, moderate Romney if they're going to decide against a vote for him.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.