Election 2012: Mislead. Reframe. Repeat

A new super PAC ad shows that facts still have little to do with the GOP's case against Obama.

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(The Root) -- Did you know that President Barack Obama promised at the beginning of his term that he would create a 5.6 percent unemployment rate?

Oh, you didn't? Then allow the American Crossroads super PAC to clear that up for you in its anti-Obama ad, released this week. The ad suggests that Obama has not kept his promise on unemployment and has driven America $5 trillion deeper in debt.

My response, like that of many folks who have been watching all of this unfold, was to let loose a highly audible sigh and think, "But no one knew exactly how hard we were hit by the economic collapse of 2008. We were still losing jobs by the crapload!" Yes -- crapload is a recognized unit of measurement. Obama simply spoke from under the shared, nationwide blanket of ignorance on how bad the economic collapse was.

But then I caught NBC News' senior political editor, Mark Murray, on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown, with Chuck Todd.

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And it turns out that Obama never made that promise. The number in the ad is from a report that came out before Obama was sworn in as president. When he was sworn in, all hell was breaking loose, and yet this ad -- and many pundits -- have been hammering the president on a report that came out before he took the reins? I assumed that Murray was just throwing out some sort of liberal media spin. This simply can't be. Then I found this (pdf).

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In a report titled "The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Investment Plan," economists Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein -- members of Obama's transition team -- explained the necessity of the stimulus plan. The chart that has set everyone buzzing is this:

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