Democrats' Keynote Speaker Julian Castro Spared GOP-Style Fact-Checking by New York Times

Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address at the Republican convention didn't warrant a full story last week in the New York Times. Yet when San Antonio mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote to the Democratic convention, Jeff Zeleny offered a full story in Wednesday's edition, giving the Democrats space from which to blast Republicans: "New Democratic Voice Challenges Republican Vision." Castro was also spared the fact-checking the Times afflicted upon Republicans last week in Tampa.

(Manny Fernandez had previously polished Castro's resume in a flattering preview of Castro's keynote: "The speculation lately about Mr. Castro’s future has reached fever pitch; there is talk of his running for governor, earning a place in Mr. Obama’s cabinet and even becoming the first Hispanic president. A Fox News Latino headline this summer read: 'Julián Castro: Son of Chicana Activist, Harvard Law Grad, Future U.S. President?'")

Zeleny wrote:

Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio made his national debut on Tuesday evening at the Democratic convention, presenting himself as a generational testament to American opportunity that would not have been possible without hard work and a helping hand.


In his address, Mr. Castro offered a blistering critique of the Republican Party, sharply questioning whether Mitt Romney could understand the challenges of the middle class. He smiled as he assailed the policies of the Republican ticket, declaring, “Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it.”

His speech was not a call for a new spirit of bipartisanship, as Mr. Obama had pledged in 2004, but rather a spirited assault on the Republican philosophies offered up by Mr. Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan, his running mate. Mr. Castro offered a direct rebuttal to the argument presented at last week’s Republican convention in Florida.


He suggested that Mr. Romney and other Republicans were out of touch, noting a speech Mr. Romney gave in Ohio this year in which he urged students to start a business by borrowing money from their parents.

“Gee, why didn’t I think of that?” Mr. Castro said with a smile. “Some people are lucky enough to borrow money from their parents, but that shouldn’t determine whether you can pursue your dreams. I don’t think Governor Romney meant any harm. I think he’s a good guy. He just has no idea how good he’s had it.”

Castro was also spared the fact-checking the Times afflicted on Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center's site pointed out that Castro "claimed the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, would raise taxes on the “middle class." Annenberg responded that Romney "has promised he won’t. Democrats base their claim on a study that doesn’t necessarily lead to that conclusion."

More from Annenberg's summary (go to the site for more detail):

...Castro, also said there have been 4.5 million “new jobs” under Obama. The fact is the economy has regained only 4 million of the 4.3 million jobs lost since Obama took office.

Castro also insisted Romney and Ryan would “gut” Pell Grants for lower-income college students. Actually, the Ryan budget calls only for “limiting the growth” of spending for the program, and Ryan has said the maximum grant of $5,550 would not be decreased.

And Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard caught another missed opportunity for fact-checking. Sheppard remembered the story behind Romney's "borrow money...from your parents" line derided by Castro and forwarded imprecisely by Zeleny, and provided the context the Times and rest of the media so eagerly provides when Republicans are attacking Obama. Here's an excerpt of what Romney actually said at Otterbein University in Ohio in April:

Even now I believe you're watching the president who has trying to deflect and divert. From his record by trying to find ways to, if you will, attack fellow Americans. Between rich and poor and other dimensions. This kind of divisiveness, this attack of success, is very different than what we've seen in our country's history. We've always encouraged young people take it, take a shot, go for it. Take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents. Start a business.

I was with a guy named Jimmy John. I've met Jimmy John. Jimmy John, hope I get the story entirely right, I think I will, he graduated from high school, and he didn’t want to go to college. And he said to his Dad can I borrow some money I want to start a business. His dad said, “I just don't think you've got the discipline to start a business and make it work.” And he said, "I’ll loan you the money but if you can't pay it back with interest by the end of the year I want you to go into the military and sign up." And he said, "Okay I'll do that."

-- Clay Waters is Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch site