Sahil Kapur

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.

Articles by Sahil

White House senior adviser David Plouffe on Sunday elevated what is crystallizing into a central Obama campaign claim: Mitt Romney is building his campaign on lies.

"Right now their campaign is built on a tripod of lies," he said on ABC's "This Week." "A welfare attack that is just absolutely untrue. The suggestion we're raiding Medicare -- absolutely untrue. And then this whole 'we can build it' nonsense."

The remarks reflect Team Obama's exasperation with the attacks from Romney and his surrogates that either misrepresent the facts or omit important context on issues at the heart of the election.

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After his acceptance speech in Tampa, Fla., Mitt Romney repeated his pledge to slash the deficit and balance the budget, vowing to lead where Republicans have failed in the past.

"We're going to finally have to do something that Republicans have spoken about for a long time, and for a while we didn't do it," he told a crowd in Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday. "When we had the lead we let people down. We need to make sure we don't lead them down this time -- I will cut the deficit and get us on track to a balanced budget."

The remark received a roaring applause. But it's difficult to square with many of Romney's other promises, which involve raising federal spending or reducing revenues, that are core to his case against President Obama.

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President Obama's response to Clint Eastwood's speech to an empty chair was the most re-tweeted tweet of the Republican convention, according to a Twitter spokesperson. 

More than 51,000 people re-tweeted it, as of Sunday. Obama was presumed to be sitting in the empty chair during Eastwood's prime time speech, which the crowd ate up but which received negative reviews in the press.

Twitter's spokesperson noted that it was Obama's second most re-tweeted tweet of all time, after his tweet from months ago declaring that he supports same sex marriage.

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace falsely claimed Democrats had a 60-vote Senate majority for the first 2 years of Barack Obama's presidency.

"For the first 2 years he had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate," Wallace told LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, making the case that Obama has only himself to blame for his poor economic record.

In fact, Democrats had a 60-vote majority for less than 5 months between Sept. 24, 2009 and Feb. 4, 2010. Before and after, Republicans had enough seats to mount filibusters, which they often did.

Los Angeles Major Antonio Villaraigosa, who is chairing the Democratic convention next week, on Sunday mischaracterized Mitt Romney and his campaign's views on abortion.

"They don't believe in abortion even in the case of rape and incest," he said on Fox News Sunday. "It's a platform from another century."

In fact, Romney has championed exceptions for rape and incest despite his anti-abortion views. Ryan has previously voted against those exceptions but has said he's comfortable with Romney's position since becoming his running mate. The Republican platform includes strong pro-life language but does not take a position on those exceptions.

Host Chris Wallace pointed out that Romney supports those exceptions.

Obama campaign senior adviser said on Fox News Sunday that the president leads Mitt Romney -- albeit slighly -- in the battleground states, but expects a close contest on Election Day.

"I think that we have a lead in this race, it's a slight lead. It's going to be a close race," he said. "We expected a close race. We're going to have a close race. And we're doing everything that we can to make our case to the American people, and Charlotte's going to be a big part of that."

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod attacked Paul Ryan on Fox News Sunday for lamenting the failure of the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commisson that Ryan helped scuttle.

He pointed out that Ryan "voted for every single one of the policies in the last decade that are at the root of the explosion of the debt ... and [Republicans'] plans today would explode them in the future."

"They are not credible on the deficit," he said, referring to the GOP's categorical refusal to raise taxes. "They have no standing to talk about deficits."

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that the Republican convention was "a terrible failure," arguing that Mitt Romney did not detail how he would govern economically.

Asked on Fox News Sunday whether Americans are better off than they were four years ago, he said the economy is "in a better position" in that it's not losing hundreds of thousands of jobs per month. "Are we where we need to be? No," he said.

Axelrod added that the auto workers whose companies were bailed out, and Americans who now have health care, are better off. Sticking to script, he argued that Romney's plan would help the wealthy and not the middle class.

"We're a unified party," he said, looking ahead to the Democratic convention.

A centerpiece of the Romney campaign's case for throwing President Obama out of office was curiously absent from its presidential and vice presidential nominee's speeches to the Republican convention this week.

The campaign has been under the media microscope for falsely portraying the president's policy of allowing states to find new ways to move recipients from welfare to work as "gutting welfare reform."

The word "welfare" did not appear in Mitt Romney's address Thursday night, despite the fact that his campaign has spent millions of dollars in ads inaccurately attacking the policy, and that the claim features prominently in his stump speeches.

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) can't -- or won't -- say why Mitt Romney is attacking President Obama for Medicare provider cuts that Paul Ryan's budget embraced.

In an interview with Fortune magazine published hours before Romney addressed the Republican convention Thursday, Cantor was asked about the inconsistency of the Romney campaign attacking Obama's Medicare reimbursement cuts, which were included in his vice presidential nominee's budget blueprint.

"The assumption was that, um, the, the, ah, again -- I probably can't speak to that in an exact way so I better just not," Cantor said, as quoted by Fortune.

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