Published October 08, 2012
A fib is a fib is a fib.
Unless you're President Obama.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, speaking on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, ripped into Mitt Romney for telling "flat-out untruths" at last week's debate.
But when asked about Obama's on-stage misstatements, The New York Times columnist called them just "minor fudges."
The discrepancy drew a pronounced "Ugh" from Republican strategist Mary Matalin, a panel member who later told Krugman: "You are hardly credible on calling somebody else a liar."
Krugman's initial gripe with Romney was that he said during the debate in Denver that his health care proposal would cover people with pre-existing conditions.
Romney's plan partially does that -- what Romney didn't mention on stage was that a person would have to have continuous health coverage in order to keep coverage in the face of a pre-existing condition.
"The press just doesn't know how to handle flat-out untruths," Krugman complained.
Fact-checkers actually did flag that Romney statement post-debate, but they also flagged several Obama statements. Among them was Obama's dubious claim that his budget plan would cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years. That number includes some accounting tricks, including counting $1 trillion in already agreed-upon cuts.
ABC's Jonathan Karl pointed out to Krugman that "Obama also was loose with the facts."
"They were minor fudges," Krugman said.
"He said he had a $4 trillion plan to cut the deficit. ... He said health care premiums were rising at the slowest rate in 50 years -- neither of those was true," Karl said.
Krugman again asserted "those are minor compared with" Romney's statements.