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June 20, 2012

Ann Romney's Horse Makes The Olympic Team, But Apparently That's a Bad Thing

Lawrence O'Donnell, for example, raps Romeny for saying Ann is the athlete in the family. Athlete? he sniffs. She just bought a horse.

But Romney didn't say that.

Even in his own presented clip, he didn't say that.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL, HOST: In tonight's Rewrite, Mitt Romney rewrites the definition of an Olympic athlete.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST OF “FACE THE NATION”: I hear you've got an Olympic athlete in the family.

MITT ROMNEY: Isn't that something? Yeah, it's not me. It's my wife, of course. She's the athlete, but in this case, it's not her personally, but she along with two other people purchased a horse and have trained it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O’DONNELL: She's the athlete. That's what Mitt Romney just said. She's the athlete.

Romney pretty much specified exactly what happened.

O'Donnell goes on to claim that there's no such thing as Therapeutic Riding (Ann Romney began riding horses to combat MS). Newsbusters then goes to town:

*****Update: I received a very interesting email message from NB reader Jeffrey Peters who is a volunteer to Maryland Special Olympics and 4H (with permission):
Dressage is a very common technique to help many types of disabilities, and is one of the few that tends to work for many problems that lack effective treatment. Therapeutic Riding is a major event and is a fundamental component of the Special Olympics. In Maryland, over 100 riders participated in the Special Olympics Therapeutic Riding event earlier in June. Dressage is not for "rich people." Most of the Special Olympians are from lower income families. Most participants are just honest people who enjoy a very popular sport. This is a part of the matter that is so often ignored. It is honestly upsetting to see such hate against an event that helps so many special needs adults and children.

One such facility is the Maryland Therapeutic Riding center:

Maryland Therapeutic Riding (MTR) is a non-profit organization located between Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland on a beautiful 25-acre farm. Utilizing certified instructors, licensed therapists, volunteers and specially-trained horses, we offer high-quality horseback riding programs to open new pathways of healing for children and adults with a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional challenges.

Therapeutic Riding is a treatment for rehabilitating a range of physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. PATH certified instructors use the horse as an instructional tool to teach riding skills and reach individualized goals and objectives. Conditions served include: cerebral palsy, spina bifida, neuromuscular disorders, post-traumatic brain injury, autism, ADHD, and cognitive disorders. Riders see an overall improvement in their quality of life. They experience improved self-confidence, strength, balance, coordination, attention span, and language and social skills.

Seems a lot of people seem to believe Therapeutic Riding is a real thing.

On the other hand, Lawrence O'Donnell doesn't, so that settles it.

This is a good example of something I see going on on left-wing blogs, and left-wing blogs on television, as MSNBC is. It actually doesn't happen much on the right.

It's not just that they rush out with ill-founded conclusions without checking. It's that I have the strong sense they either have checked, and know what they're saying is false, or don't bother checking, because they strongly suspect that if they'd checked they'd find out what they're saying is false.

So they don't.

Sexton did a good piece on this. The Atlantic rushed to claim that Romney's story concerned a simple change of address form, despite the fact he clearly said the change of address concerned an optometrist changing address for purposes of Medicare or Medicaid billing. I mean, Jesus, it was right in the clip.

The shameless hack Tommy Christopher, who sneers "lie" about everything, claimed such forms are only 2 pages long, not 33 pages as Romney's optometrist-supporter told him, without bothering to, say, check beyond the first google entry.

t should be clear, especially to someone who was there listening, that Romney was not talking about a simple US Post Office change of address form. He's talking about changing an address on file with the federal government for purposes of issuing payments. Based on the description Romney gives ("services he provides for the poor and seniors") this is probably a Medicare form. In fact, it might even be this form, CMS 855I.

Under "Who Should Complete This Application" the CMS 855I form lists several categories of people who should fill it out including those "Currently enrolled in Medicare and need to make changes to your enrollment information (e.g., you have added or changed a practice location)." The pdf version of the form is 27 pages long, not the precise length Romney claimed but close. This similar form (CMS 855B) for changing the address of an entire clinic or group practice is 48 pages long. Maybe it's not either one of these forms or maybe the optometrist's printer was off a bit, but we're definitely in the neighborhood.

Tommy Christopher is refusing to correct -- as usual; remember, this is the sneering Roger Chillingsworth of the Internet, handing out Scarlet L's like he's got a quota to fill -- and Fallows offers this baffling Mea Non Cupla:

After I mentioned this part of Romney's speech, to explain how he was making his case about public/private differences, many people wrote in to make a point I hadn't: that in fact it's very easy to make a USPS change.

So I went back to see the tape. It is possible though not spelled-out that the optometrist had been talking about getting the Medicare and Medicare systems to change his registered billing address, which could well be more complex

It was extremely spelled-out, asshole. Romney said:

I met an optometrist this morning... He wanted to change his billing address... He got a form, from the government. This is so he could get reimbursement from the federal government for the services he performs for the poor and seniors.

He then spoke of the delays in having this simple change of address completed, during which time he didn't get his "checks from the government" for the services he was providing.

Um, which part of that quote is hard for you to parse, Fallows? "Reimbursement" from the "government" for "services" for "poor and seniors"?

He didn't "spell it out" for you, sufficiently? If he didn't spell it out for you sufficiently, is that a problem with his mouth or a problem with your feeble brain?

But Fallows claims that he didn't err-- Romney just didn't speak plainly enough.

How is it that everyone else in the world understood he was talking about Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements except you?

I have a theory: You're lying when you said you listened to the tape. There is no way to listen to the tape and come away from it believing the optometrist was talking about a simple residential USPS change-of-address form. Romney spelled out what it was.

So you didn't listen to the tape -- you just assumed what was said -- you assumed the lie itself-- and rushed to post without checking. Now, embarrassed, you actually do listen to the tape, but claim it wasn't "spelled out" enough for your brain to comprehend.

Protip: When a doctor speaks of "reimbursements" from the "federal government" for "services rendered" to the "poor and seniors," he's talking about Medicaid and Medicare.

He's not talking about getting his subscription to Dwell forwarded to his new residential address.

Now that's a lie, Tommy Christopher. I'm sure you'll be right on top of that.

Question: Why doesn't Tommy Christopher just call this optometrist? I'm pretty sure the Romney people could find him, for him.

Or Fallows.

Answer: Because they know they wouldn't like the answer. It is far safer to spin falsehoods when you can always pretend ignorance of the facts.

If you got in touch with this guy... gee, he might tell you that Sexton's 27 page form was the one he filled out, plus another form for Medicare. Then your silly games would be well and truly done, eh?


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posted by Ace at 03:15 PM

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