Democratic aide: GOP thinks "lying is a virtue"

Senior Obama campaign aide Stephanie Cutter on "Face the Nation," September 2, 2012.
CBS News

Updated 3:45 p.m. ET

(CBS News) As President Obama and the Democrats gear up for their convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week, Democrats unpacked their thoughts on last week's Republican convention. Senior campaign aide Stephanie Cutter said she gathered that Republicans "think lying is a virtue."

"It was a week of personal attacks, empty platitudes, and the one thing you were left with is they really think lying is a virtue," Cutter said on "Face the Nation" Sunday.

When asked by host Bob Schieffer if she thinks Republicans are liars, she walked the statement back, slightly. "I heard a lot of things that weren't true last week," she said, pointing to vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's assertion that President Obama's policies closed a Janesville, Wis., plant. The plant actually closed in 2008, before Mr. Obama took office.

Cutter also mentioned Ryan's claims that $716 billion were "funneled out of Medicare by President Obama" to pay for the Affordable Care Act, disadvantaging seniors, when the law cuts payments to providers, not beneficiaries.

Fact checking Paul Ryan's convention speech

"The President is using dirty political tactics because the truth about his abysmal record hurts," Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams said.

Perhaps playing into the Republicans' argument about this election, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said Americans may not be better off than they were four years ago, but added "that's not the question of this election.

"Without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, Bush recessions, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars, charged for the first time to credit cards," O'Malley said.

Cutter interjected, clarifying, "I want to remind you what was happening four years ago, in the quarter before the time the president took office: We lost three million jobs, our country was bleeding, our financial system was on the verge of collapse, we were passing bank bailouts to ensure that our system could stay afloat."

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson offered his take on the Democrats' record and agenda versus the Republicans': "[The] president has gotten us out of Iraq. We [are] getting us out of Afghanistan. We've got free trade agreements in Latin America. We have a president that brilliantly dealt with the situation in Libya, with the Arab Spring. . . . But we're not going to be like Governor Romney who says on his first day he's going to start a trade war with China, and our biggest geopolitical foe is Russia."

Williams, with the Romney campaign, responded, telling CBS News in a statement, "Americans aren't better off today than they were four years ago. Twenty three millions Americans are struggling for work and more people are in poverty than ever before under the Obama economy."

Referring to the Republican convention, O'Malley said there were three things missing in Tampa: "You didn't see any new ideas for creating jobs. You didn't see George Bush, and you didn't see Mitt Romney's tax returns.

"Their only idea is ladling on bigger tax breaks for billionaires."

Looking ahead to Charlotte, Cutter said that Democrats will present "an agenda and a vision for America's future, where our middle class is actually growing, becoming stronger, where we create opportunity.

"We're going to be talking to all Americans, not just rallying our base, like we saw last week," she noted.

Richardson added that the Democratic convention is going to be more "positive" than the Republicans' meeting. "You're going to see a convention filled with promising young Hispanic speakers, you're going to see diversity, you're going to see multiculturalism. You're going to see a real effort to engage the middle class, engage the American worker, and say that we want to be positive about this country," Richardson said.

"I think what you're also seeing in this convention is a convention that's positive, that's going to show the contrast between where we want to go [to] help the middle class, the worker, not have trickle-down, warmongering foreign policy, as the Republicans want to," he added.

"You'll have a real sense of how the president wants to move this country forward, and we'll look at the things we've been able to do over the past four years to move the country forward, whether saving the auto industry and a million jobs, with helping kids afford college, passing health care reform, where millions of people are already benefiting from it across the country. So this will be a very different feel" from the RNC.

Viewers will also hear from former President Bill Clinton, the most prominent speaker other than the president. Cutter said the Mr. Clinton will talk about his economic success during the 1990s, which are similar ideas to President Obama's.

"So what President Clinton is going to say is, if you're for a president who can grow the middle class, create that economic expansion, move away from the policies of the past that actually crashed our economy and punished the middle class, then Barack Obama is your guy," she said.

"He did not do that in one term," O'Malley reminded Schieffer. "And I think it's important to remember that."

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