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On CBS, Time's Foroohar Spins Debate: 'You Have to Wonder Whether Romney's Math Adds Up'

Time's assistant managing editor Rana Foroohar could have been mistaken as an Obama campaign flack during CBS's post-presidential debate coverage on Wednesday night, with her claim that "the key issue is, really, taxes, and I think that you have to wonder whether Romney's math adds up." She asserted, "There's a bigger math issue here, and that's whether or not lowering tax rates actually creates jobs and growth, and I would argue that, factually, it doesn't."

Foroohar also boosted the incumbent's massive stimulus spending, and held up communist China as a model: "I think what the President tried to convince voters, is that investment is going to create growth...and I think that there's a case to be made for that. If you look at where jobs are going - to places like China - infrastructure spending is much higher. There's a lot more investment in those, sort of, basic competitiveness issues. Unfortunately, I don't think the President made that point sharply enough." [audio available here; video below ]

This spotlighting of taxes is a flip-flop on the part of the editor. Back on the July 15, 2012 edition of Face the Nation, Foroohar bemoaned the amount of attention being devoted to the issue in the presidential race, and made the exact same liberal talking point about the supposed ineffectiveness of tax cuts:

FAROOHAR: Well, I think that the President would like to spend a lot more on infrastructure and education. This is what we need to be talking about right now. I'm actually sad that we're spending so much time talking about taxes because one thing that's not going to get us some kind of a growth boom is a tax cut. I mean, it hasn't worked in the last three or four years. It really hasn't worked since 2001 when you had much broader across-the-board tax cuts.

On the same broadcast, the journalist badmouthed the former Massachusetts governor: "The only thing weaker than the economy is Mitt Romney's electoral skills." Someone needs to give Foroohar a "Journalists for Obama" T-shirt.

The full transcript of the Rana Foroohar segment from CBS's Wednesday night coverage of the Obama-Romney presidential debate:

SCOTT PELLEY: Rana Faroohar is joining us now here at the University of Denver. She is Time's assistant managing editor. And Rana, I wonder what you thought of the two candidates as they talked about the economy. How did their two plans measure up against each other?

RANA FOROOHAR, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, TIME: Well, I think that the key issue is, really, taxes, and I think that you have to wonder whether Romney's math adds up. I think that we're still left really wondering about a lot of details - about how this plan is going to – going to garner the revenue that he's talking about. I think that we still don't know what sort of loopholes are going to be closed, and whether or not the math can be made to work, without opening up very politically-contentious loopholes, like the mortgage interest deduction.

But I think that there's a bigger math issue here, and that's whether or not lowering tax rates actually creates jobs and growth, and I would argue that, factually, it doesn't. It hasn't over the last three years and it hasn't – it didn't in 2000 when the Bush tax – era tax cuts were much deeper and broader, and I think that that's really the problem here – go ahead.

PELLEY: Rana to – Rana, to your point, earlier in the debate, the President was talking about the lack of specifics in Romney's economic plans, and he had this to say about whether Romney's plan was some kind of a secret plan.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: He says that he's going to replace Dodd-Frank - Wall Street reform - but we don't know exactly which ones. He won't tell us. He now says he's going to replace ObamaCare, and assure that all the good things that are in it are going to be in there and you don't have to worry. And, at some point, I think the American people have to ask themselves, is the reason that Governor Romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they're too good?

PELLEY: Rana, there are about 24 million Americans who lost their jobs after the great recession - more 12 million still without work. I wonder, do you think they heard anything tonight from either candidate that would give them hope that there would be more jobs in the next quarter?

FAOROOHAR I don't think they heard a definitive answer. I think what they heard from Governor Romney was that tax cuts are going to create growth. I think what the President tried to convince voters, is that investment is going to create growth - investment into education, into research and science. And I think that there's a case to be made for that. If you look at where jobs are going - to places like China - infrastructure spending is much higher. There's a lot more investment in those, sort of, basic competitiveness issues. Unfortunately, I don't think the President made that point sharply enough, and I think he's going to need to really hone that in the next few weeks.

PELLEY: Rana, thank you very much.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.