Check Those Facts!

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on

I haven’t given myself enough opportunities to visit the tireless researchers at factcheck.org, but I think that may change as the election draws near.  Most especially, the debates will provide plenty of material on both sides for them.  Here’s a few “facts” used by McCain or Obama that have been checked.

Education: First, an ad McCain released yesterday, entitled “Education.” The ad claims that Obama is undistinguished on education, and would like sex ed taught to kindergarteners.  Sounds bad, right?  However, it doesn’t tell the whole story.  As FactCheck says:

The ad refers to a bill Obama supported in the Illinois state Senate to update the sex education curriculum and make it “medically accurate.” It would have lowered the age at which students would begin what the bill termed “comprehensive sex education” to include kindergarten. But it mandated the instruction be “age-appropriate” for kindergarteners when addressing topics such as sexually transmitted diseases. The bill also would have granted parents the opportunity to remove their children from the class without question.

And the crux of the ad?  Well, the bill wanted to teach them how to respond to pedophiles:

The bill also called for all sex education course materials to include information that would help students recognize, among other activities, inappropriate touching, sexual assault and rape.

These accusation began back when Obama was running for the Senate against Alan Keyes.  They were repeated earlier this year by Mitt Romney, and then Obama said Romney supported the same policy, which is also untrue.

Fact Check: The newest ad from the McCain campaign quotes FactCheck themselves as saying that Obama’s attaks on Palin were “misleading” and “absolutely false.”  FactCheck did say these things, but not about Obama.  The FactCheck report (which I’ll get to later) is about an email being sent around by someone completely unconnected to the Obama campaign.  FactCheck:

Our article, posted two days earlier, debunked a number of false or misleading claims that have circulated in chain e-mails and Internet postings regarding Palin. There is no evidence that the Obama campaign is behind any of the wild accusations that we critiqued. There is no more basis for attributing these viral attacks to the Obama campaign than there is for blaming the McCain campaign for chain e-mail attacks falsely claiming that Obama is a Muslim, or a “racist,” or that he is proposing to tax water. The anti-Palin messages, like the anti-Obama messages, have every appearance of being home-grown.

Obama

Never: Proving that two can play the “link them to bad guys” game, this Obama ad tries to link McCain to Jack Abramoff-connected Christian Coalition exec Ralph Reed.  The ad says McCain never called Reed to testify, and that Reed is now fundraising for McCain.  FactCheck says the fundraising thing is true, but misleading:

The ad says that Reed is “now raising money for McCain’s campaign.” That is true. The Hill newspaper reported that Reed sent out an e-mail to friends and associates urging them to contribute to McCain’s campaign and attend a fundraiser for him. But there isn’t any formal connection between McCain’s campaign and Reed’s activities. McCain flatly told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that, “I neither seek nor want his support.” Reed appears to have gotten the message. He didn’t even appear at the fundraiser he told friends to attend.

On not testifying and being part of the Abramoff scandal:

That’s all true, but what’s not said is that McCain’s report caused Reed political embarrassment, making public evidence that contradicted Reed’s claim that he hadn’t known that his lobbying activities among anti-gambling Christian activists had been paid for by casino-owning Indian tribes who wanted to suppress competition.

Basically, Reed drummed up anti-gambling sentiment amongst anti-gambling Christians to oppose operations that would have competed with Abramoff’s Native American clients (who got scammed, too).

Fix the Economy: In an ad from a few weeks ago, Obama uses old and out of context quotes to portray McCain as out of the loop on the economy:

The ad opens with video of McCain saying, “I don’t believe we’re headed into a recession.”

Trouble is, McCain said this in January, and as part of a bigger explanation.  Says FactCheck:

McCain’s quote is followed by a clip of a man from Ohio saying, “I think we’re absolutely in a recession.” While that man and others shown in the ad are talking about economic conditions now, this quote from McCain and another in the ad are from seven months ago, a fact that may not be apparent to viewers if they miss the fine print.

Here’s more of what McCain said in January:

McCain, Jan. 10: … And by the way, I don’t believe we’re headed into a recession. I believe the fundamentals of this economy are strong, and I believe they will remain strong. This is a rough patch, but I think America’s greatness lies ahead of us.

Another quote used portrays McCain as saying the economy is just peachy.  Not so fast!  McCain really said

I think if you look at the overall record and millions of jobs have been created, et cetera, et cetera, you could make an argument that there’s been great progress economically over that period of time. But that’s no comfort. That’s no comfort to families now that are facing these tremendous economic challenges.

Though he does think conditions are better overall, he says that times are tough right now.

So, excuse me while I sneeze.  I’m allergic to lying politicians, see?

Unrelated to McCain or Obama

  • As noted above, FactCheck looked into some of the smears being spread about Sarah Palin.  They’re all either exaggerations or outright lies.
  • And indisputable proof at last that Obama is a natural-born citizen.  They’ve seen, touched, and smelled the real thing.

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