Friday, January 18, 2008

Looks who's making stuff up

All political debates produce distortions. But look at the difference between the whopping distortions told by Democrats in a recent presidential debate compared to the less blatant ones told by Republicans at another debate. As a reporter friend once told me, "They are Democrats. They lie."

Credit goes to the Tribune's Swamp for pointing this out. The comparisons were done by the Annenberg Public Policy Center's


Clinton once again mischaracterized the 2005 energy bill, saying it had "enormous giveaways" to oil and gas companies. In truth, the measure raised taxes on those industries.

Obama accused the Bush administration of failing to make "any serious effort" to encourage use of alternative fuels or raise fuel efficiency of automobiles. In fact, President Bush has signed major bills that do both.

Edwards said he dropped his support for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site in part because of a scandal over forged documents. But he switched his position in 2004, and the scandal came along a year afterward.

The three candidates made sweeping claims about their intentions to remove troops from Iraq quickly, but all three admitted under questioning that they could have U.S. combat troops fighting in Iraq for years to come.

Clinton puffed up her role in stopping the "Bush administration" from taking back signing bonuses from those later wounded too seriously to complete their enlistments. Actually the Pentagon said its policy has been not to reclaim such bonuses and that a bill the Army sent to one soldier was an isolated case that was reversed.

Edwards said "you should learn to speak English" before becoming a U.S. citizen. In fact, the law already requires, with few exceptions, that applicants for citizenship "must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language."

Huckabee repeated his claim to have made 94 tax cuts including the "first broad-based tax cut" in the history of Arkansas, though he actually signed tax bills that resulted in a net increase in taxes of $500 million.

Romney said his increases in "fees" only amounted to $240 million in Massachusetts. But his own administration and others have put them higher. He also failed to mention $174 million in corporate tax "loophole" closings.

Giuliani falsely claimed that one of his tax cuts more than paid for itself, and he generally used incorrect figures when boasting of his record on taxes in New York City. And he claimed credit for too large a reduction in welfare cases.

Thompson said, "I never said that I was cutting Social Security." That's true, but he is proposing to slow the growth of benefits to those who retire in the future.

McCain said he had never asked for a single "pork barrel project" for Arizona, but we find a few that could qualify for that characterization.

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