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Old 09-20-2008   #1
 
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McCain's Lying Game

By Joe Klein

Politics has always been lousy with blather and chicanery. But there are rules and traditions too. In the early weeks of the general-election campaign, a consensus has grown in the political community — a consensus that ranges from practitioners like Karl Rove to commentators like, well, me — that John McCain has allowed his campaign to slip the normal bounds of political propriety. The situation has gotten so intense that we in the media have slipped our normal rules as well. Usually when a candidate tells something less than the truth, we mince words. We use euphemisms like mendacity and inaccuracy ... or, as the Associated Press put it, "McCain's claims skirt facts." But increasing numbers of otherwise sober observers, even such august institutions as the New York Times editorial board, are calling John McCain a liar. You might well ask, What has McCain done to deserve this? What unwritten rules did he break? Are his transgressions of degree or of kind?

Almost every politician stretches the truth. We journalists try to point out the exaggerations and criticize them, then let the voters decide. When McCain says, for example, that Barack Obama favors a government-run health-care system, he's not telling the truth — Obama wants a market-based system subsidized by the government — but McCain's untruth illuminates a general policy direction, which is sketchy but sort of within the bounds. (Obama's plan would increase government regulation of the drug and insurance industries.) Obama has done this sort of thing too. In July, he accused McCain of supporting the foreign buyout of an American company that could lead to the loss of about 8,000 jobs in Wilmington, Ohio. McCain did support the deal, but the job loss comes many years later and was not anticipated at the time. That, however, is where the moral equivalency between these two campaigns ends.

McCain's lies have ranged from the annoying to the sleazy, and the problem is in both degree and kind. His campaign has been a ceaseless assault on his opponent's character and policies, featuring a consistent—and witting—disdain for the truth. Even after 38 million Americans heard Obama say in his speech at the Democratic National Convention that he was open to offshore oil-drilling and building new nuclear-power plants, McCain flatly said in his acceptance speech that Obama opposed both. Normal political practice would be for McCain to say, "Obama says he's 'open to' offshore drilling, but he's always opposed it. How can we believe him?" This persistence in repeating demonstrably false charges is something new in presidential politics.

Worse than the lies have been the smears. McCain ran a television ad claiming that Obama favored "comprehensive" sex education for kindergartners. (Obama favored a bill that would have warned kindergartners about sexual predators and improper touching.) The accusation that Obama was referring to Sarah Palin when he said McCain's effort to remarket his economic policies was putting "lipstick on a pig" was another clearly misleading attack — an obnoxious attempt to divert attention from Palin's lack of fitness for the job and the recklessness with which McCain chose her. McCain's assault on the "élite media" for spreading rumors about Palin's personal life — actually, the culprits were a few bloggers and the tabloid press — was more of the same. And that gets us close to the real problem here. The McCain camp has decided that its candidate can't win honorably, on the issues, so it has resorted to transparent and phony diversions.

This new strategy emerged during the first week of Obama's overseas trip in late July. McCain had been intending to contrast his alleged foreign policy expertise and toughness with Obama's inexperience and alleged weakness. McCain wanted to "win" the Iraq war and face down the Iranians. But those issues became moot when the Iraqis said they favored Obama's withdrawal plan and the Bush Administration started talking to the Iranians. At that point, McCain committed his original sin — out of pique, I believe — questioning Obama's patriotism, saying the Democrat would rather lose a war than lose an election. Ever since, McCain's campaign has been a series of snide and demeaning ads accompanied by the daily gush of untruths that have now been widely documented and exposed. The strategy is an obvious attempt to camouflage the current unpopularity of his Republican brand, the insubstantiality of his vice-presidential choice, and his agreement on most issues — especially economic matters — with an exceedingly unpopular President.

The good news is that the vile times may be ending. The coming debates will decide this race, and it isn't easy to tell lies when your opponent is standing right next to you. The Wall Street collapse demands a more sober campaign as well. But these dreadful weeks should not be forgotten. John McCain has raised serious questions about whether he has the character to lead the nation. He has defaced his beloved military code of honor. He has run a dirty campaign.

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Old 09-20-2008   #2
 
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Obama's Lying Game

Summary
An Obama TV ad tells Spanish-speaking viewers that McCain is "friends" with Rush Limbaugh, and quotes the radio host as calling Mexicans "stupid and unqualified" and telling them to "shut up or get out." The ad is doubly misleading. Limbaugh has until recently disparaged McCain repeatedly to his audience. And Limbaugh says his words are ripped out of context and twisted in the ad. In any case they don't represent McCain's position.


Analysis

The Obama-Biden campaign's new Spanish-language TV ad says that "John McCain and his Republican friends" have insulted Mexicans and practiced "intolerance." The ad shows conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh calling Mexicans "stupid and unskilled," and exhorting illegal immigrants to "shut your mouth or get out."
Obama-Biden Ad:
"Two Faces" (Translation)
Announcer: They want us to forget the insults we've endured.

Text on Screen: "...Mexicans stupid and unqualified." -Rush Limbaugh
Announcer: The intolerance! They made us feel marginalized in this country we love so much.

Text on Screen: "Shut up, or get out!" -Rush Limbaugh


Announcer: John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One of them lies to get our votes. And the other one's worse, following the failed politics of George Bush, putting the interests of powerful lobbies above those of working families. John McCain, more of the same Republican deception.
No Friend of His
One problem: Limbaugh has been no friend of McCain and has attacked him repeatedly. He hounded McCain for his stance on immigration, among other issues. In January, Limbaugh said that a McCain nomination would "destroy the Republican party," and said he would vote for a Democrat over McCain. Limbaugh has attacked McCain specifically for being too friendly to illegal immigrants from Mexico, saying McCain "supports amnesty and open borders."
Only in recent weeks has Limbaugh swung to supporting McCain. Limbaugh and McCain "Republican friends"? Hardly. Yet this ad tries to hold McCain accountable for the words of one of his most vocal antagonists.
Rush to Judgment
Furthermore, Limbaugh says the ad takes his words out of context, and that he did not call all Mexicans "stupid."
In an opinion article in the Sept. 19 Wall Street Journal, he calls the ad's sound bites "a deception." He says the "stupid" quote comes from "a 1993 humorous monologue poking fun at the arguments against the North American Free Trade Agreement."

The actual words, according Limbaugh, are these:
Limbaugh, 1993: If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine 'cause those are the kinds of jobs Nafta is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I'm serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do -- let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.
We'll leave it to readers to judge how humorous that might or might not be. But those words do fall short of calling all Mexicans "stupid and unskilled" as the ad says. Limbaugh says his point "which is obvious, was that the people who were criticizing Nafta [sic] were demeaning workers, particularly low-skilled workers."
Limbaugh defends the "shut up" quote in a similar way, saying he was satirizing Mexican immigration laws. We've checked the transcript on this one, and Limbaugh has a point. Here's the key part of what he actually said on his April 6, 2006 show. After proposing a long list of odious-sounding "Limbaugh laws" on immigration, he concluded:
Limbaugh, April 6, 3006: You're a foreigner. You shut your mouth or you get out, and if you come here illegally, you go straight to jail and we're going to hunt you down 'til we find you.
I can imagine many of you think that the Limbaugh Laws are pretty harsh. I imagine today some of you probably are going, "Yeah! Yeah!" Well, let me tell you this, folks. Every one of the laws I just mentioned are actual laws of Mexico, today. I just read you Mexican immigration law.

We're not experts on Mexican law, so we can't say whether or not Limbaugh correctly described those provisions. But we know satire when we see it. The Obama-Biden ad misleads by suggesting that Limbaugh was hectoring Spanish-speakers to "shut up or get out" of the U.S.
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Old 09-20-2008   #3
 
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Obama's Lying Game, Continued

Obama's Social Security Whopper


He tells Social Security recipients their money would now be in the stock market under McCain's plan. False.

Brooks Jackson
factcheck.org
Sep 20, 2008 | Updated: 6:20 p.m. ET Sep 20, 2008
Summary
In Daytona Beach, Obama said that "if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week." He referred to "elderly women" at risk of poverty, and said families would be scrambling to support "grandmothers and grandfathers."
That's not true. The plan proposed by President Bush and supported by McCain in 2005 would not have allowed anyone born before 1950 to invest any part of their Social Security taxes in private accounts. All current retirees would be covered by the same benefits they are now.
Obama would have been correct to say that many workers under age 58 would have had some portion of their Social Security benefits affected by the current market turmoil – if they had chosen to participate. And market drops would be a worry for those who retire in future decades. But current retirees would not have been affected.

Analysis

In our "Scaring Seniors" article posted Sept. 19 we took apart a claim in an Obama-Biden ad that McCain somehow supported a 50 percent cut in Social Security benefits, which is simply false. Then, on Saturday Sept. 20, Sen. Barack Obama personally fed senior citizens another whopper, this one a highly distorted claim about the private Social Security accounts that McCain supports.
What Obama Said
In Daytona Beach, Florida, Obama said in prepared remarks released by the campaign:
Obama, Sept. 20: And I'll protect Social Security, while John McCain wants to privatize it. Without Social Security half of elderly women would be living in poverty - half. But if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week. Millions would've watched as the market tumbled and their nest egg disappeared before their eyes. Millions of families would've been scrambling to figure out how to give their mothers and fathers, their grandmothers and grandfathers, the secure retirement that every American deserves. So I know Senator McCain is talking about a "casino culture" on Wall Street - but the fact is, he's the one who wants to gamble with your life savings.
That's untrue. All current retirees would be covered by exactly the same Social Security benefits they are now under what the Obama campaign likes to call the "Bush-McCain privatization plan," which Bush pushed for unsuccessfully in 2005.
Who Would Have Been Affected
As the White House spelled out at the time, on page 5 of the document titled "Strengthening Social Security for the 21st Century," released in February 2005:
Bush Plan: Personal retirement accounts would be phased in. To ease the transition to a personal retirement account system, participation would be phased in according to the age of the worker. In the first year of implementation, workers currently between age 40 and 54 (born 1950 through 1965 inclusive) would have the option of establishing personal retirement accounts. In the second year, workers currently between age 26 and 54 (born 1950 through 1978 inclusive) would be given the option and by the end of the third year, all workers born in 1950 or later who want to participate in personal retirement accounts would be able to do so.
Nobody born before Jan. 1, 1950 could have participated, and anyone born on that date would be 58 years old now. The earliest possible age for receiving Social Security retirement benefits is 62, for early retirement at reduced benefits. Full retirement age is currently 66, and scheduled to go up to age 67 in coming years.
It is certainly true that the stock market carries risks, as recent events remind us. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down nearly 17 percent for this year, for example, and despite gains in other years it is still barely above where it was at the start of 2000. But historically there have also been rewards for those who make diversified investments and hold for long periods. When Obama spoke, the Dow Jones average still stood 305 percent higher than it had at the start of the 1990's.
Disappearing nest eggs?
Also worth noting here:
The private accounts would have been voluntary. Anybody fearful of the stock market's risk could simply stay in the current system.
Obama's reference to "casino culture," disappearing "nest eggs" and gambling with "your life savings" are also misleading exaggerations. Only a little over one-fourth of any workers' total Social Security taxes could have been invested (a maximum of 4 percent of taxable wages, out of the total 15.3 per cent now paid, split equally between worker and employer.)
Speculation in individual stocks would not have been permitted. Workers would have had a choice of a few, broadly diversified stock or bond funds.
While McCain has voted in favor creating private Social Security accounts in the past, and endorsed Bush's 2005 proposal (which never came to a vote in Congress), he is not making a strong push for them as part of his campaign. In fact, a search for the term "Social Security" on the McCain-Palin Web site brings up the following: "No documents were found."
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Old 09-21-2008   #4
 
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TT, glad you brought up FactCheck.org. It's a great website for Americans who are interested in the truth. I noticed that you overlooked the overwhelming majority of entries on that website that feature McCain's LIES. Guess we both have agendas to promote, eh?
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Old 09-21-2008   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DurangoSteve View Post
TT, glad you brought up FactCheck.org. It's a great website for Americans who are interested in the truth. I noticed that you overlooked the overwhelming majority of entries on that website that feature McCain's LIES. Guess we both have agendas to promote, eh?
I just don't want McCain to get all the credit.
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Old 09-21-2008   #6
 
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Seems like Team SwiftBoat thinks there ain't enough room in the gutter for two candidates. Sucks to be misrepresented, doesn't it?

Rush is to McCain as Jeremiah Wright is to Obama. Simple analogies seem to work for Neocons, so that sounds about fair to me.

In the end, I don't think these kinds of ads are necessary, when there's so much more concrete issues on which to attack McCain. But after all the shit that McCain, Bush, and the GOP 527s have run this year and '04, and the resulting effect on this country; it only bother me just a little. I'll get over it.

Oh- by the way; this is the most telling nugget from the article:
In fact, a search for the term "Social Security" on the McCain-Palin Web site brings up the following: "No documents were found."
Very telling. A pending crisis when the surpluses end in 2017 (end of a 2nd term) and he has NO PLAN. Yeah. Sounds about right.
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Old 09-22-2008   #7
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I hate to get tit for tat but each side is guilty. To bad no one talks policy and if that acutal details and budgets.

Out of Context on Health Care
September 22, 2008
Obama ad twists McCain's words on health care "deregulation."
Summary
An Obama-Biden ad falsely claims McCain says he wants to "do the same to our health care" that "Wall Street deregulation" has done to the banking industry.

The ad relies on a single phrase from a journal article under McCain's byline, in which he said he would reduce regulation of health insurance "as we have done over the last decade in banking." But the full context reveals that McCain was referring narrowly to
his proposal to allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines.
Analysis
The Obama-Biden campaign released the ad Sept. 22 and said it will air on national cable TV networks. It claims that McCain said he would "reduce oversight of the health insurance industry ... just 'as we have done over the last decade in banking.' " But the ad takes the comments out of context, failing to explain what exactly McCain meant by the comparison to banking. He was talking specifically about allowing the sale and purchase of health insurance plans across state lines.

Obama-Biden Ad:
"Article"



Obama: I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message.

Announcer: We’ve seen what Bush-McCain policies have done to our economy. Now John McCain wants to do the same to our health care. McCain just published an article praising Wall Street deregulation. Said he’d reduce oversight of the health insurance industry, too. Just "as we have done over the last decade in banking." Increasing costs and threatening coverage. "A prescription for disaster." John McCain, a risk we just can’t afford to take.

McCain's words come from an article under his byline in the September/October issue of "Contingencies," a journal of the American Academy of Actuaries. Here's what the McCain article actually said, in full context:
McCain: I would also allow individuals to choose to purchase health insurance across state lines, when they can find more affordable and attractive products elsewhere that they prefer. Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation. Consumer-friendly insurance policies will be more available and affordable when there is greater competition among insurers on a level playing field. You should be able to buy your insurance from any willing provider—the state bureaucracies are no better than national ones. Nationwide insurance markets that ensure broad and vigorous competition will wring out excess costs, overhead, and bloated executive compensation.
Note that McCain began by speaking of buying insurance "across state lines." His comparison with banking regulation was limited to "opening up the insurance market" to "nationwide" competition to "provide more choices" to consumers.

McCain has in fact touted this aspect of his health care plan for months. His Web page on health care prominently says:
McCain health care plan: An important part of his plan is to use competition to improve the quality of health insurance with greater variety to match people's needs, lower prices, and portability. Families should be able to purchase health insurance nationwide, across state lines.
Obama used this misleading accusation on the campaign trail over the weekend. In Daytona Beach, Florida, on Sept. 20, Obama said: "So let me get this straight – he wants to run health care like they've been running Wall Street."

The analogy to banking in the article was poorly timed, given recent financial events, though it's likely it was written well before Wall Street's crisis reached its climax last week.
McCain senior adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin complained to reporters that Obama misunderstood what McCain meant: "If Barack Obama thinks that today's financial troubles were caused by policies which allowed Americans to use an ATM anywhere in this country, then it is better that he continue to be silent about solutions to the crisis on Wall Street," he said. Holtz-Eakin told the Wall Street Journal that the article was talking about provisions that allowed for banking across state lines, which were approved in 1995 – not "over the last decade," as the article said.

Obama adviser Jason Furman said that it seemed to him that McCain was referencing 2004 rules that, the Journal reported, "pre-empted state banking regulations and that, [Furman] argues, helped bring on the current financial meltdown." McCain did not cite specific legislation. But it is clear he was comparing such regulations to his proposal to allow the sale of health insurance across state lines.

We’d also note that this was not "an article praising Wall Street deregulation," as the ad says. Wall Street itself is never mentioned, and the only reference to banking or the financial industry is that one line about regulation over the past decade.

This ad reminds us of another by the Democratic National Committee that took McCain's comments out of context. That ad charged that McCain wanted to stay in Iraq for 100 years, but his full remarks showed that he was talking about a peaceful presence in the country, much like U.S. troops' presence in Japan or South Korea, two examples McCain used in his remarks. McCain said staying in Iraq for a hundred years "would be fine with me, as long as Americans, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed." The DNC left that part of the quote out of the ad.

An Accurate Quote

The Obama-Biden ad ends by calling McCain's plan "a prescription for disaster," as those words, credited to the Boston Globe, flash on screen. Unlike the first quote cited in the ad, this one is accurate. It comes from a Sept. 21 Globe editorial that compared McCain's and Obama's health care plan, raising objections to McCain's. Here's the quote in context:
Globe editorial (Sept. 21): There is no comparable lab test, however, for the radical revision of healthcare that McCain is proposing. For all of his moderate positions on immigration and climate change, on healthcare he has endorsed a right-wing ideologue's vision: destroy employer-based coverage and turn Americans over to the tender mercies of private nongroup insurers in an unregulated environment. It's a prescription for disaster.
Obama and Biden may share that assessment of McCain's plan, as their ad says. But the ad's main criticism rests on distorting McCain's words rather than evaluating an actual component of his health care proposal.

– by Lori Robertson and Brooks Jackson
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Old 09-22-2008   #8
 
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One last time

Seriously here folks. I haven't even been keeping up on posts here...but... If you really hate McCain so bad... please just keep in mind we don't need Obama as president. He has been neutral, or not even voting (called a "present") for the majority of his political career. This man has run along with a democratic governor who has run a state into being the second or third poorest in the US (illinois..which damn near went bankrupt this last year(does that mean Illinois becomes Ohio?). He has ties to Rezko (scandal...SCANDAL.... that he is going to trial for here soon). MY GOD.... OPEN your eyes. Dear god people, the last thing we need is 30-40% hike in taxes as we are going into a very unstable financial period....great idea... HELL YEAH more TAXES!!! I love them). I'm sorry... it is just amazing how dumb some people are. OPEN YOUR F$%kin eyes. EVEN IF YOU don't want McCain....FOR GOD SAKES...don't vote for that SOB.
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Old 09-22-2008   #9
 
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Originally Posted by 14kayaking2 View Post
Seriously here folks. I haven't even been keeping up on posts here...but... If you really hate McCain so bad... please just keep in mind we don't need Obama as president. He has been neutral, or not even voting (called a "present") for the majority of his political career. This man has run along with a democratic governor who has run a state into being the second or third poorest in the US (illinois..which damn near went bankrupt this last year(does that mean Illinois becomes Ohio?). He has ties to Rezko (scandal...SCANDAL.... that he is going to trial for here soon). MY GOD.... OPEN your eyes. Dear god people, the last thing we need is 30-40% hike in taxes as we are going into a very unstable financial period....great idea... HELL YEAH more TAXES!!! I love them). I'm sorry... it is just amazing how dumb some people are. OPEN YOUR F$%kin eyes. EVEN IF YOU don't want McCain....FOR GOD SAKES...don't vote for that SOB.

MY GOD. OHMYFUGGINGGOD. GOD!!!!!

You seriously need to get a grip. If Rezko was a flash point of truthfulness, Hillary would have lit him up 6 months ago. No story there, just a name you heard from Michelle Malkin or some other firebrand. And show just one citation where you got that 30% tax increase number. He's proposing lowering taxes for everyone but the top 5% (and I KNOW a guy like you ain't making $250K+ in Frisco. Even still - Obama is talking about about reverting back to 39% (from 36%) for those at the very top end of the income brackets. You liftchair-scooping ass would get a tax cut under Obama.

And you're not even close on Illinois: States of the United States of America by income - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

MY......GOD.....you're the dummy. Think for yourself- don't just repeat what some asshat says on the radio.
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Old 09-23-2008   #10
 
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14kayaking2, thank you for showing us just damaging paint huffing is. Very scary stuff. We will learn from your example.
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