ONE of the reasons this newspaper has endorsed U.S. Sen. John McCain over former Gov. Mitt Romney has become clearer in recent days: When the campaigning gets serious and the gloves come off, McCain sticks to the facts; Romney plays loose with them.
We don’t mind what some deride as “negative” campaigning, if the negatives are merely a true look at a candidate’s record. Romney obviously senses that New Hampshire Republicans are looking at McCain and therefore he is spending his millions to plaster the TV with anti-McCain messages.
Fair enough. Politics isn’t beanbag.
But Romney is apparently so desperate that he has chosen distortion over facts. He is claiming on TV that Sen. McCain supports Social Security for illegal immigrants. That is patently and demonstrably false. In fact, McCain wants to make sure that LEGAL immigrants have their Social Security taxes properly accounted for so that the rest of U.S. taxpayers aren’t footing that bill, too. Anyone who cares for the details can find them at factcheck.org. That respected nonprofit Web site, in an unusually harsh criticism, dubbed Romney’s claims “Mitt Malarkey.”
The last time Social Security was so blatantly misused in a Presidential Primary race, the victim was Barry Goldwater. That senator from Arizona wasn’t able to fend off the distortion in time to win that primary. This time, we think the voters of New Hampshire will catch on.