Real Time Reading List

By Miles Leicher and Allison MacDonald

It’s been a busy week for the lame stream media: Mitt Romney swept the Florida Primary, quickly put his foot in his mouth with a comment about (you guessed it) poor people and removed said foot just in time to heap some criticism on the Commander in Chief. Here are some of this week’s best reads:

“Who in God’s name is Mitt Romney?”

In this week’s New York Magazine, columnist Frank Rich explores the man behind the machine. Rich proclaims that the phoniness of Mitt Romney seems to be one of the very last convictions still bringing left, right, and center together.

Key quote: “Romney’s very public persona feels like a hoax because it has been so elaborately contrived to keep his core identity under wraps.”

Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory

Mike Daisey – who will be appearing tonight on Real Time – adapted part of his one-man show for an episode of This American Life. Daisey is an incredible storyteller, so it’s a good thing that this piece is more of a “listen” than a “read.”

Bonus: Prologue and interview with preeminent nerd-crush, Ira Glass.

Romney Criticizes Afghan Pullout Plan, but Obama Is Eager for the Debate

Wednesday’s big story was Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement that the U.S. would end its combat mission in Afghanistan as early as the middle of next year. Wait for it…3…2…1…and cue the outrage from Mitt Romney and conservatives, who insist that announcing a withdrawal plan will, like, totally ruin the surprise.

Walk-back of shame: “On Thursday, military officials insisted that nothing had changed, despite Mr. Panetta’s announcement.”

Ezra Klein: Doing the math on Obama’s deficits

Mitt Romney (funny how his name keeps coming up, huh?) has taken to carrying a big ol’ clock around with him on the campaign trail. Unfortunately it’s not the Flavor Flav sort, which would at least give him some street cred. No, this one just displays a live feed of the national debt which, at a staggering $15 trillion, is of course solely the result of Michelle Obama’s hummus and Shake Weight® habit.

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities comb through the numbers, trying to figure out exactly how much of our deficit is actually due to President Obama’s policies. It’s a wonkish piece, but it’s good ammo for your next dinner with the in-laws.

The gist: “How much has Obama added to the debt, anyway? There are two answers: more than $4 trillion, or about $983 billion. The first answer is simple and wrong. The second answer is more complicated but a lot closer to being right.”