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Romney Imitates Needle in Haystack With Ford Field Speech

Everyone was amused throughout the Internets today by Mitt Romney holding a speech for 1,200 people inside Ford Field in Detroit, leading to images of a cavernous, empty stadium. And it’s completely puzzling WHY Romney’s advance team would site a speech like this in a big, empty stadium, just waiting for the snickering comments. Heck, for a shockingly small price, Romney’s team could have bought the Pontiac Silverdome and just painted faces on all the seats and piped in some crowd noise.

This is just fall-on-your-face political campaigning. And Romney didn’t help matters with his ad-libs.

“This feels good, being back in Michigan,” Romney said. “You know, the trees are the right height. The streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pick-up truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. And I used to have a Dodge truck. So I used to have all three covered.”

Who among us doesn’t have a couple of Cadillacs to drive? To be fair, when you have an indeterminate number of houses, you have to stash vehicles all over the place.

Snickering aside, the content of the speech should cause horror more than laughter:

The outline of Romney’s tax reform plan is the same as what you heard on Wednesday. And Romney backed his advisers up, promising that his plan “will not add to the deficit.” Or he appeared to. But the way it won’t add to the deficit, he said, was through “stronger economic growth, spending cuts, and base broadening will offset the reductions.” Raise your hand if you see what Romney did there […] For those keeping score at home, that suggests that independent analyses will find that the tax plan is revenue negative. Big time […]

Romney’s real savings come in the next section. He’ll “send Medicaid back to the states and cap that program’s rate of growth,” and then “do the same for other programs, like food stamps, housing subsidies and job training.”

Sending the programs back to the states is a red herring. The key bit for deficit reduction is capping their rates of growth. Which is to say, cutting their rates of growth. Which is to say, cutting them.

What Romney is essentially proposing to do is finance a massive tax cut by cutting Medicaid, food stamps, housing subsidies and job training. In other words, the neediest Americans — and, to a lesser degree, federal workers — will be financing a massive tax cut.

Maybe I should have just stuck to the laughing and pointing at the crowd size.

On a bright note for Romney, this cruel swipe at the poor to finance tax cuts that go mostly to the rich should be enough to secure him the Republican nomination.

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David Dayen

David Dayen