When it comes to Mitt Romney’s truth-challenged claims, most are fairly predictable. I can usually even understand why Romney thinks he can get away with the falsehoods — they rely on the public being easily confused about subjects they may not fully understand.

But this claim during last night’s debate stood out as odd, even for Romney.

“Americans are hurting across this country, and the president’s out there campaigning. Why isn’t he governing? He doesn’t — he doesn’t have a jobs plan even now.”

There are a couple of ways to approach this, including the rationale for why President Obama is taking his message to the public. But let’s not make this more complicated than it needs to be — Mitt Romney doesn’t think the president has a jobs plan?


Look, I realize Romney’s busy, and keeping up on current events may be difficult, but Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress seven weeks ago, and at the time, presented a jobs plan. The whole thing has been online ever since. It’s been scrutinized, analyzed, and subjected to CBO scoring. It’s been debated; it’s been the subject of advertising; and it’s been voted on in the Senate.

How, exactly, did Romney miss all of this?

If Romney wants to criticize the American Jobs Act, fine. If he wants to recommend an alternative, great. But when Romney says the president is “out there campaigning,” does he not realize Obama “out there” giving speeches and rallying support for his specific jobs plan?

Hell, Romney has even endorsed several of the provisions within the president’s jobs plan.

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And now Romney would have voters believe the president “doesn’t have a jobs plan even now”? How foolish does he think Americans are?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.