Four Hilarious Lies in Dick Morris's Sit-Down With Piers Morgan

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 7 2013 9:35 AM

Four Hilarious Lies in Dick Morris's Sit-Down With Piers Morgan

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Dick Morris speaks during a book signing for his book "Power Plays" on May 16, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA.

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

On Tuesday night, The Wrap broke the news that Dick Morris had lost his Fox News contract. The media world broke out in a celebration akin to the Ewok jamboree following the explosion of the second Death Star. Finally! A pundit who'd been wrong about everything had been held to account!

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

It took less than 48 hours for Morris to come back. Piers Morgan invited the pundit on to explain "the political fail heard around the world." It was an ideal match-up of guest and host: Morgan's one of the rare TV personalities who knows less about American politics than Morris. He used the trappings of a "tough" interview, playing back Morris's botched predictions ON LIVE TV, to allow Morris another 10 minutes of bullshit dissembling.

For most of the segment, Morgan struggled to command the facts that proved Morris wrong. The host did put up a good fight when Morris insisted that Romney was winning until Hurricane Sandy hit—a silly trope disproven seconds later, when Morris admitted that demographics doomed Romney. But these whoppers slid right by.

1) "I have gotten 30 senators and governors elected, 14 presidents and prime ministers. The president of the United States twice."

Morris only worked for Bill Clinton during one presidential campaign—the 1996 re-elect. He resigned on August 30, two-odd months before the vote, thanks to a prostitution scandal. That scandal made Morris famous, but if he possessed a shred of dignity, it would prevent him from saying he "elected" the president twice.

2) "I was the only person that said the Republicans would pick up 60 to 80 seats in the House."

This is a multi-faceted lie. Morris was not the "only" person who foresaw a GOP gain in this range. Stu Rothenberg predicted gains of 55 to 70 seats—more accurate than Morris because the GOP gained 63 seats. And "60 to 80" was not Morris's only prediction. As Brad Plumer recorded for posterity, Morris spent the end of the election panhandling for "Project 100," the promise that more money for his Super PAC for America would allow the GOP to win 100 House seats.

3) "I said that we were going to win nine seats in the Senate. The Republicans won six and three of the losses were by less than a point."

False for several reasons. The GOP's three near-misses came in Colorado, Washington, and Nevada. The margins there, respectively, were 1.7 points, 5.3 points, and 5.7 points—not "less than a point." And Morris did not limit his optimism to "nine" seats. I covered a pre-election Tea Party rally in Virginia where Morris suggested that Senate seats in Oregon and New York were on the bubble. "Connecticut and New York (after the primary) are in play," wrote Morris in a September 2010 column. "That’s a gain of up to 13 seats!"

4) "Start with the Latinos. They're a Republican voter base. That group is going to vote like all the other immigrant groups do ... I know, because I ran the last two successful presidential campaigns in Mexico. And in both of them, the conservative Fox and Calderon won."

This was one of the less egregious whoppers—impressive, because it includes one outright falsehold. The last successful presidential campaign in Mexico occurred last year, and it restored the center-left party, the PRI, to power. The conservative PAN fell to third place. But even if we go with Morris' assumption and overlay the PAN and the American GOP, Morris leaves out an important fact. The PAN has never won a majority of the vote in Mexico. In 2000, Vicente Fox took 42.5 percent of the vote as the PRI and the leftist PRD split most of the remainder. In 2006, Felipe Calderon won a mere 35.9 percent of the vote, edging past the PRD in a result that was contested for weeks. Even at the height of conservative success, the conservative party was winning small pluralities. How you get from there to "American Latinos will vote Republican," or even that "all the other immigrant groups" become Republican (check the Asian vote from 2012), I have no idea. Occam's Razor: Morris is a sleazy liar.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.