Romnocchio (image: mariopiperni / flickr)

One of the many things I find perplexing about Mitt Romney is not that he distorts the truth, which most candidates do, but that he says things which can easily be proven false. The most recent example is Romney strongly implying the guns used in the Aurora tragedy were obtain illegally so he can dodge the question about gun regulation. From New York Times:

Mr. Romney said in the interview that the suspect in the Colorado rampage,James E. Holmes, whom the police have accused of killing 12 and injuring 58, was illegally in possession of weapons. “Well, this person shouldn’t have had any kind of weapons and bombs and other devices, and it was illegal for him to have many of those things already,” Mr. Romney said. “But he had them.”

Officials have said the three guns used in the mass shooting were bought legally. A spokesman for Mr. Romney, Ryan Williams, said he was referring specifically to what the police identified as homemade incendiary devices in the suspect’s apartment, which are illegal in Colorado, not to firearms.

This explanation from the Romney campaign is weaselly and feels like it was invented after the fact, once Romney was called out. The homemade devices were not used in the tragedy itself, so it is somewhere between purposely misleading and an outright lie to refer to them in this way, in a question about gun regulation, to argue there is no need for new gun laws.

Either Romney didn’t know that the guns were purchased legally, so Romney thinks it is acceptable to just make up stuff to justify his stance; or Romney did know the guns were legal but actively chose to use clever phrasing to try to deceive the audience into thinking they were illegal to make his position seem more reasonable. Neither makes Romney sound trustworthy or honest, which is probably why his likability numbers are dreadful.