Stuck with making the best of an ugly mess, Romney is trying to make hay of an apparently rather anodyne 1998 video clip in which Obama says something nice about "redistribution."
Romney's response: "I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America."
Has Romney ever heard of the enactment of the U.S. income tax, which was all about redistribution? (Or at least progressivity - the term "redistribution" can unduly beg the question of whether there was a pre-tax, pre-government distribution.)
Has anyone ever told him that the top U.S. income tax rate was increased to 67% in 1917, remained at least 56% through 1923, and was 63% or higher from 1932 through 1981, and higher than 90% from 1950 through 1963? Good or bad policy, that's a pretty substantial slice of American history.
In short, his claim that this has "never been a characteristic of America" is clearly false. I'd say he was deliberately attempting to rewrite history, but that would require assuming he knows something about it.
UPDATE: I saw another link in which he said on Fox News that redistribution is "foreign," not American. I guess the evil "foreigners" whom we must cast out of our history books include FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, just for starters.