Speaking to a New Hampshire Town Hall audience of more than 250 yesterday, Mitt Romney addressed perceptions that he is a flip-flopper by quoting from a political leader he often cites on the trail, Winston Churchill.
"In the private sector, if you don't change your view when the facts change, well you'll get fired for being stubborn and stupid." Romney said. "Winston Chuchill said, 'When the facts change, I change too, Madam'"
The problem? That quote was not uttered by Britain's great wartime leader, but instead is credited to John Maynard Keynes, the British economist whose economic studies gave rise to so-called Keynesian economic theory, which calls for government intervention in economies to balance market forces, and who is loathed by many conservatives.
The full quote, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" is most often attributed to Keynes offering a defense of why he often changed his positions in the constantly-evolving world of macroeconomics.
And while the quote is regularly attributed to Keynes, there is more than a little reason for confusion. In a February blog post on the Wall Street Journal's website a Keynes' biographer is quoted as saying he believes that quote is in fact "apocryphal", and another said there was "no evidence" in the form of primary sources, that Keynes was the quote's originator.