Testing Mitt Romney on the Truth-O-Meter
On June 2, 2011, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney became the latest Republican to officially announce his presidential campaign, at a farm in Stratham, N.H. We’ve already posted one fact-check, and we’ll be looking at more in the coming days.
We checked this claim by Romney: "Government under President Obama has grown to consume almost 40 percent of our economy," he said. "We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy."
We concluded that the government’s spending footprint has expanded over the past few years -- to a rate approaching 40 percent -- due in large part to the recession. But that’s not an enormous rise by historical standards, and we found little evidence that the government’s increased role is either a permanent change or that it threatens the kind of free market that the United States has operated under in recent decades.
With the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank rating the U.S. ninth out of 179 nations on its 2011 economic freedom index, we concluded that it was ridiculously false to say that we are close to losing our free-market economy. So we ruled his statement Pants on Fire.
We’ll post a fact-check soon on a different claim from the speech -- that "a few months into office, (President Barack Obama) traveled around the globe to apologize for America." In the meantime, though, here’s the link to our check of a similar claim Romney made in March 2010.
We’ll update this story as we complete additional fact checks from his speech. In the meantime, Romney’s Truth-O-Meter report card can be accessed here.