A reader writes:
This stood out to me in "The Lies of Mitt Romney III":
"we remember the president’s own party had a super majority in both houses for his first two years"
I'm not sure how Romney defines a super majority, but my recollection was that the Dems only had a filibuster-proof majority (including two independents) from the time that Al Franken was finally seated (July 7, 2009) until the point that Teddy Kennedy passed away (August 25, 2009). That's only seven weeks, not two years.
And there was never a supermajority in the House as Romney claims. The balance at the start of the Congress was 257 – 178, which is a Democratic share of only 59 percent, not 67. So again, Romney simply lied. Obama never had a super majority in both Houses, let alone for two years. In the Senate, his super-majority lasted seven weeks.
Please stay vigilant. Your eyes are as good as ours. Scan Romney's statements for factual untruths – not embellishments or exaggerations, but empirically false statements. Update from a reader:
Not to let Mitt Romney off the hook, because his "two years supermajority" claim is still blatantly false, but there was an interim Senator from Massachusetts who was, in fact, the 60th vote for healthcare reform after Ted Kennedy died. Paul Kirk served as interim Senator from Massachusetts from September 24, 2009 to February 4, 2010. Therefore, the Democrats had a Senate supermajority for seven weeks with Kennedy and nineteen weeks with Paul Kirk, for a total of 26 weeks, or half a year.
Update from another reader:
By the time Al Franken was sworn in on July 7, 2009, Ted Kennedy had not cast a Senate vote for about four months because he was terminally ill with brain cancer. (He died on August 25, 2009.) Robert Byrd was also hospitalized from May 18 through June 30, 2009 and may not have been well enough to attend Congress and vote for some time afterward. Thus the Democrats did not really have the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster until Kirk took office. Byrd (who died in June 2010) was also periodically too ill to attend and vote during the September 2009-February 2010 period, though I have not been able to confirm this with a quick Google.