Someone along the way must have told Paul Ryan he was a smart guy and good with numbers - maybe he is - but Ryan took his mediocre ability and used it to distort his own reality and agenda. Ryan has been doing it for years.
His patented trick is to use a figure and compare it to another to show how awful something is. That can be an illuminating comparison - provided you didn't ignore a whole bunch of other numbers that tend to undermine your argument.
Ryan ALWAYS ignores a bunch of other numbers (but just the ones that prove he's lying) and grandma and grandpa at the listening sessions never knew the difference.
The problem is these days Ryan isn't at the Eagle Village Hall - real people with real talent for understanding figures are listening to what Ryan says and the facts aren't adding up. It's getting pretty embarrassing for him.
The new Romney/Ryan meme is to suggest that Barack Obama is a failed President ala Jimmy Carter. (Never mind that most people under the age of 40 think of Carter as a Nobel prize winning great guy who started Habitat for Humanity.) So Ryan used his "special" numbers trick to make it seem true this weekend.
Ryan Premise #1: Jimmy Carter was a lousy President not deserving of a second term.
Ryan Premise #2: Unemployment under Carter was at 7.8%.
Ryan Premise #3: Unemployment under Barack Obama is at just over 8%.
Conclusion: Barack Obama is worse than Jimmy Carter.
Got it? Nothing is "untrue" in what Ryan said...he just left out a couple of numbers.
Ryan Ignored Numbers: Unemployment under Ronald Reagan who succeeded Carter was 9.4% and had been as high as 9.8% during the Reagan presidency.
Factual Conclusion: Barack Obama's unemployment rate has been slightly higher than Jimmy Carter's unemployment rate, but both were much lower than Ronald Reagan - making Reagan worse than both Carter and Obama.
Let's try another one.
Ryan Premise #1: Under Jimmy Carter 330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy.
Ryan Premise #2: Under Barack Obama 1.4 million businesses filed for bankruptcy.
Ryan Conclusion: Barack Obama is worse than Jimmy Carter.
Ryan Ignored Number #1: In 1980 (Carter) there were 331,000 personal bankruptcies.
Ryan Ignored Number #2: In 1980 (Carter) there were 43,694 business bankruptcies.
Ryan Ignored Number #3: In 2011 (Obama) there were 1,362,847 personal bankruptcies.
Ryan Ignored Number #4: In 2011 (Obama) there were 47,806 business bankruptcies.
Ryan Ignored Number #5: In 1985 (Reagan) there were 71,277 business bankruptcies.
Ryan Ignored Number #6: In 1991 (GH Bush) there were 74,549 business bankruptcies.
Ryan Ignored Number #7: In 2005 (GW Bush) there were more than 2 million personal bankruptcies.
Factual Conclusion: Barack Obama has seen slightly more business bankruptcies than Jimmy Carter and many more personal bankruptcies, but MUCH fewer business bankruptcies than both Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush and half of the personal bankruptcies than under George W. Bush.
Unemployment and personal and business bankruptcies go up under Republican administrations compared to Democratic ones - but you wouldn't know that unless you look at their number too...which Ryan didn't reveal.
The Ryan campaign had this to say when challenged on the selective numbers:
"He obviously misspoke, but it's still an apples to apples comparison," Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck said."Yeah right. The fun part is that every single thing Lyin Ryan is saying these days is getting triple checked and it turns out that wonder boy has been cribbing his answers and isn't quite the numbers guy they thought he was.