Archive for the ‘Election 2008’ Category

By Wednesday night, the Democrats calling for Al Franken’s resignation looked more like a lynch mob than political party. Over 30 Democrats were calling for his resignation. The first wave was coordinated:

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Kamala Harris of California, Patty Murray of Washington and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin kicked off the stampede on Wednesday, all putting out statements within minutes of one another saying it was time for Franken to go.

When asked, these ladies admitted that they’d coordinated their statements for maximum impact.

By late afternoon, over 20 Democrat senators were calling for his resignation. By nighttime, over 30 Democrats had called for Franken’s resignation. All this happened after another anonymous woman accused Sen. Franken accused him of sexual misconduct. Forgive me for thinking that Sen. Franken was pitched aside for political considerations.

Kirsten Gillibrand was asked how she reached her tipping point. She replied “Well, obviously, there were new allegations today and enough is enough. I mean, this is a conversation that we’ve been having for a very long time. It’s a conversation this country needs to have and I think that when we start to have to talk about the differences between sexual assault and sexual harassment and unwanted groping, you are having the wrong conversation. You need to draw a line in the sand and say ‘none of it is ok. None of it is acceptable and we, as elected leadership, need to be held to a higher standard, not a lower standard, and we should fundamentally be valuing women and that’s where this debate has to go.”

First, the allegations today were from an anonymous person. Sen. Gillibrand campaigned with Hillary, a woman whose husband had been accused by women who identified themselves as victims of Bill Clinton’s sexual appetite. Ms. Gillibrand didn’t hesitate in campaigning with the woman who destroyed other women who stood in her march to the presidency. What changed? I don’t buy that Harvey Weinstein changed everything. Ms. Gillibrand and others used the excuse that Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy were good on women’s issues. Some of these same women used that same line in defending Franken.

Again, I repeat, what changed? A month ago, Democrats thought that an Ethics Committee investigation was the right thing. Now they’re calling for Franken’s scalp. It isn’t like the Democrats suddenly developed principles and virtues.

By noon, three male Democratic senators, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez had joined their female colleagues in saying Franken should resign.

I don’t believe that Democrats suddenly became principled people who hate deviant sexual behavior. I think it’s most likely that they’re simply trying to get rid of their long-held reputation of being the ‘Evil Party’. They know that Franken’s toast and that Gov. Dayton will appoint another Democrat. In 2008, the DNC didn’t care that much about Franken until he became the potential 60th vote needed to pass Obamacare and Cap and Trade.

To Democrats, Franken’s just a replaceable part that’s about to get replaced.

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According to this article, the OLA report mentioned the loans the IRRRB made to Meyer and Associates. I’m not surprised. I wrote about Meyer in this post, which I titled “Crony capitalism & the IRRRB” and in this post, which I titled “Will the DFL repay taxpayers”?

In Crony capitalism & the IRRRB, I quoted an article that said “Meyer Teleservices in Progress Park has closed its doors on the Iron Range, leaving 104 people unemployed. The St. Cloud-based company also leaves behind a debt of about $250,000 to the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board, which had issued two loans totaling $650,000 to the business for its Eveleth facility.” Later in the article, it noted that “Meyer Teleservices also on Monday shuttered its other Minnesota offices in St. Cloud and Little Falls.”

In “Will the DFL repay taxpayers”, I quoted Kevin Allenspach’s article that said “It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an ‘…innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,’ according to the Meyer Teleservices website.” The IRRRB was foolish in granting those loans. Then again, they didn’t care because this company was helping Democrats raise money and because they weren’t loaning their money. They likely wouldn’t have made the loan if they had ‘skin in the game’.

That’s the problem with this situation. You don’t need to have a PhD in Business Finance to understand that the number of reckless loans increases when it isn’t your money. This paragraph should highlight how foolish the IRRRB was with other people’s money:

But the business model proved too outdated in recent years for today’s mobile phone society. Land lines are decreasing eight to twelve percent per year.

According to the article, Meyer Teleservices “launched on the Range in Eveleth in 2007.” It isn’t like we couldn’t see the end of the line for telemarketing companies. In 2003-04, Howard Dean used the internet to raise tens of millions of dollars for his presidential campaigns. In 2007-08, then-candidate Obama was using the internet to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for his presidential campaign.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out that these loans were made because they benefited Democrats. The motivation for these loans was to keep the company going through the 2014 election cycle.

The IRRRB has failed the people of the Iron Range. They’ve done nothing to diversify or strengthen the Iron Range’s economy. I wrote here that the statewide MHI (Median Household Income) is $60,828 and the statewide poverty rate is 11.5%. Compare that with the MHI for Hibbing, which is $38,112, and the MHI for Virginia, which is $33,143.The poverty rate in Hibbing is 20.6% while the poverty rate in Virginia is a disgusting 26.5%.

It’s time to make the IRRRB as extinct as the Passenger Pigeon. It’s failed its mission to the hard-working people of the Iron Range.

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A super PAC announced tonight that they’re hitting Donald Trump with some hard-hitting ads featuring Sen. McCain. When I read the part about Sen. McCain, I was skeptical. After reading the Our Principles super PAC probably shift strategy “to remind voters in New Hampshire about the disgraceful things that he said about John McCain”, it makes sense. Katie Packer, who was Mitt Romney’s deputy campaign manager in 2012, is now “the leader of Our Principles PAC.” She noted that “McCain has long and deep ties to New Hampshire” because “he’s considered to be a war hero.”

The great thing about Our Principles PAC is that it doesn’t attack Trump. It simply uses Trump’s own words against him. With Mr. Trump stagnating in New Hampshire and Sen. Rubio rising fast, this round of advertising couldn’t be better timed. Saying that the race is fluid is understatement. That doesn’t mean that Trump’s support will crater. I’m just saying that with 40+ percent of voters either undecided or willing to change their votes, Trump’s victory-in-waiting isn’t a certainty. It’s a likelihood but it isn’t a certainty.

Packer sees Trump as wounded, saying “He was getting a lot of great publicity because of this air of inevitability and that nothing could take him down. [But] we started seeing his negatives go up considerably almost immediately after we went up in the air and started dropping mail.”

That air of invincibility is disappearing. It isn’t entirely gone but Trump’s act is getting boring. The cable networks aren’t falling over themselves to have him on like they did a month ago. TYhis isn’t good news for Trump:

“We have a little bit more time in South Carolina, which is nice, so we will be able to hit with more content,” Packer said. “You can expect to see some more delving into his business stuff as we move into South Carolina. Because we have more time to put more lead on the target.”

South Carolina is a rough-and-tumble primary. Mr. Trump will have lots of incoming in the days before the First in the South primary. It isn’t a state that’s a good fit for him. (Before I get the emails, yes, I know he’s leading there by a gazillion points. That will change before the New Hampshire Primary and it’ll change even more after the First in the Nation Primary.)

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If I had a $10 bill for every time I heard a GOP activist or MSM mouthpiece compare Sen. Rubio with Gov. Huckabee and/or Sen. Santorum, I’d be rich. This article mentions the fact that Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Santorum won Iowa, then went nowhere after that.

That’s utterly irrelevant. The comparison doesn’t fit the situation whatsoever. Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Santorum were niche candidates that did the “full Grassley”, visiting all 99 counties in Iowa before Iowa’s caucuses. That has nothing to do with Sen. Rubio. Sen. Rubio isn’t a niche candidate like Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Santorum. Sen. Rubio is a mainstream, full spectrum conservative. I’ve started calling Sen. Rubio the “only complete package candidate in the race on either side of the aisle.” Simply put, Sen. Rubio has things going for him that aren’t going on for any other candidate.

He’s likable. He’s conservative. He isn’t constantly grumpy. He relates to people. He enjoys campaigning. He’s got solutions. He’s telling voters that America has retreated from the world during the Obama administration. He’s telling voters that this administration has crushed the economy with small businesses getting hit with too many regulations and too many reporting requirements.

Consider that the last two Republican presidential nominees, Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008, both lost Iowa. In fact, Mr. McCain placed fourth. “Remember that the people who win here do not necessarily go on to win the presidency,” said Catholic University politics professor Claes Ryn, who clustered Saturday with several hundred Rubio supporters at a town hall here at the Hilton Garden Inn. Mr. Ryn noted that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum placed first four years ago in Iowa, “and he went nowhere.”

Santorum and Huckabee never had a path to the nomination. They appealed to a large percentage of voters in Iowa. That’s where their appeal began and ended. It’s like Rand Paul and Ben Carson this time. They didn’t belong on the debate stage for more than 1 or possibly 2 debates.

This pretty much proves my point:

“I don’t want Trump. That is one thing I do feel strongly about,” said Republican voter Jennifer Hughes of Glenwood, Iowa. “I had an open mind until I saw him in person, and then I saw he was even more narcissistic. I thought that the press was possibly just spinning, just showing sound bites of him being obnoxious, but no, he’s like that all the time.” She said that leaves her with a choice between Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio. “And Cruz is in second right now. But I really like Rubio better than I like Cruz, just personally,” Ms. Hughes said.

Roger Bolte of Council Bluffs said he was “95 percent” in Mr. Rubio’s camp, in part because “I think he has the best chance to beat” Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Nobody picked Santorum or Huckabee as being electable. That’s because neither candidate was that electable. They both got in with the hope of winning Iowa, then hoping they’d catch fire. I think it’s more appropriate to say that their campaigns went up in flames after winning Iowa.

Readers of LFR know that I’ve criticized the Agenda Media for almost 10 years. I especially criticized them when they didn’t do their due diligence on then-Candidate Obama. What’s happening now with GOP-leaning commentators is just as disgusting as what lefty pundits and reporters did in 2008. One of the biggest offenders this year is Andrea Tantaros, a co-host on Outnumbered.

Each time that Outnumbered talks about Trump, her eyes glaze over and she starts rattling off utter nonsense. Normally, I don’t have much use for Media Matters but I appreciate them highlighting what Ms. Tantaros said during Tuesday’s show. Particularly disgusting is Ms. Tantaros’ statement that “He has been front runner despite these controversial comments. Republicans criticizing him but again they’re saying to a problem “nope,” even though he’s coming up with a solution, even though they don’t like it.”

Tantaros said this about Trump’s ban-all-Muslims diatribe. Calling Trump’s childish diatribe a solution is insulting. The primary definition of solution is “the act of solving a problem, question, etc.” Ms. Tantaros, how does Trump’s diatribe solve the problem of stopping Middle Eastern terrorists entering the United States when it isn’t enforceable?

Trump’s statement barely qualifies as a coherent thought. (That’s still debatable.) It certainly doesn’t qualify as a solution. If Ms. Tantaros’ blather wasn’t enough, she continued with this exchange with Fox Business’s Sandra Smith:

TANTAROS: But, Sandra, from a messaging perspective, again we see Trump, though he says something that is inflammatory perhaps, right? Discriminating based on religion, right?
SANDRA SMITH (HOST): It helps him in the polls.
TANTAROS: It helps him in the polls because it’s a solution to a problem that no one will tackle.

I don’t know if Ms. Tantaros is that stupid or that dishonest. Sen. Rubio, Mrs. Fiorina and Gov. Christie have stepped forward with plans to fix the problem. Their plans include no-fly zones so displaced Syrians don’t leave the Middle East. Trump’s blather is based on isolationism that doesn’t attack the root cause of the problem.

If Ms. Tantaros can’t figure that out, she shouldn’t be on national TV.

Other repeat offenders are Charlie Gasparino and Eric Bolling. They sing Trump’s praises constantly, too. Yesterday on The Five, Bolling praised Trump before mentioning that there were hundreds of people at his campaign rally. Greg Gutfeld interrupted, saying that you don’t have to mention numbers if you’re right, the point being that Bolling tried using numbers of supporters at a campaign event to prove Trump was right.

In 2008, tens of thousands of people showed up for President Obama’s campaign events. We’ve suffered through 7 years of economic malaise and several years of apprehension about stopping terrorist attacks. Simply put, Bolling’s argument is flimsy at best.

This trio’s critical thinking abilities don’t exist when it comes to Mr. Trump. Rather than turning this post into a rant, though, let’s provide solutions to this trio of wayward souls.

Mentioning something in that day’s news isn’t a solution. Presenting a half-baked idea that’s been modified several times in the following 24 hours isn’t a proposal, either. Here’s a hint to this clueless trio: if a candidate has to constantly modify what he said, it’s safe to say that he didn’t think things through.

Here’s another hint: I’m not looking for a candidate that mentions a timely topic but doesn’t provide a thoughtful solution. Any idiot can mention things. The United States is in terrible shape because we’ve got a president who hasn’t provided a solution to the challenges facing this nation. We don’t need another narcissist who doesn’t think in terms of thoughtful, detailed solutions.

Finally, Trump’s supporters say that he’d “get things done.” I’d challenge that because it’s impossible to solve problems when the candidate can’t put a coherent sentence together, much less provide a solution.

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Senate Majority Leader Bakk’s statements on raising the gas tax are bewildering because they’re inconsistent. Check out what Sen. Bakk told Bill Hanna in mid-January:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook, who will have a lot to see in any final road funding bill, echoed Tomassoni’s assessment about road funding.

“There’s tremendous support for fixing roads and bridges. But the funding is never popular,” Bakk said. “I don’t know what the whole thing will look like, but we will have the conversation. We’ve got a serious 20-year problem.”

Here’s what the Senate DFL proposed back then:

Senate DFL: $800 million a year through a gas tax increase at the wholesale level of 6.5 percent a gallon, which would come on top of the current 28.5 cents per gallon gas tax and a metro-only 1-cent sales tax increase, which would raise an estimated $251 million in 2016 for Twin Cities transit costs.

There’s no denying that Sen. Bakk supported raising the gas tax to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. Fast forward to Don Davis’ article. Here’s what he’s saying now:

Enter Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that he says there really is no need to approve billions of dollars in transportation improvements this year. “Transportation probably doesn’t have to happen. … We can kick the can down the road for the next Legislature to deal with. That’s what’s been happening.”

Sen. Bakk better hope that people don’t notice that he’s indicted the DFL with his statement. Since 2007, Republicans had the majority in the Senate in 2011-12. Republicans control the House this year. They also held the majority in 2011-12.

By comparison, the DFL held supermajorities in the House and Senate in 2007-2010. In 2007, the DFL held an 85-49 seat majority in the House and a 45-22 majority in the Senate. After the 2008 election those margins changed to 87-47 in the House and a 46-21 majority in the Senate. Add into that the fact that Mark Dayton was the DFL governor and that the DFL had complete control of the Legislature in 2013-14. Sen. Bakk speaking of kicking the can down the road is indicting himself. They had the perfect opportunity to fix our roads and bridges, then opted to kick the can down Minnesota’s potholed roads.

Sen. Bakk’s spin is bewildering because he won’t stake out a consistent position. That’s proof, in my opinion, that he’s playing a purely political game because he’s caught in a politically difficult position.

That’s what happens when you try to play politics instead of doing the right thing right from the start.

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Later today, the Senate Intelligence Committee will release a report on terrorist interrogations. It’s already being called the “Torture Report.” Retired CIA officer Jose Rodriguez wrote this op-ed to expose Dianne Feinstein’s and Nancy Pelosi’s dishonesty. Let’s start with this:

According to news accounts of the report, Feinstein and her supporters will say that the CIA violated American principles and hid the ugly truth from Congress, the White House and the public. When the report comes out, I expect that few of the critics who will echo Feinstein’s charges will have read it and far fewer will read or understand the minority response and the CIA’s rebuttal.

The interrogation program was authorized by the highest levels of the U.S. government, judged legal by the Justice Department and proved effective by any reasonable standard. The leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees and of both parties in Congress were briefed on the program more than 40 times between 2002 and 2009. But Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to deny that she was told in 2002 that detainees had been waterboarded. That is simply not true. I was among those who briefed her.

Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Pelosi should be tarred and feathered for their dishonesty. That Ms. Pelosi would say that she hadn’t been briefed by Mr. Rodriguez is proof of Ms. Pelosi’s utter dishonesty. She should be criticized mercilessly for being a liar. After that, Democrats should be tarred and feathered for deserting a program that saved American lives for purely partisan reasons.

Initially, Democrats insisted that the CIA do all that it could to prevent another terrorist attack:

In one ear they hear the public, the media and members of Congress raising alarms about the terrorist threat from the Islamic State: Do something! Do it now! Why didn’t you do something sooner?

The Democrats’ dishonesty is easily explained. In the days after 9/11, Democrats put the needs of the nation first. By 2006, the Democrats noticed how animated the anti-war left had become. Seeking to capitalize on the anti-war left’s enthusiasm, Democrats like Sen. Feinstein, Ms. Pelosi and candidates like Amy Klobuchar ran as anti-war lefties. The same anti-war lefties then powered Barack Obama’s presidential election victory in 2008.

Members of Congress and the administration were nearly unanimous in their desire that the CIA do all that it could to debilitate and destroy al-Qaeda. The CIA got the necessary approvals to do so and kept Congress briefed throughout.

Democrats say that waterboarding violates American principles. That’s BS. Since when does saving hundreds of American lives violate American principles? I’d love seeing a Democrat explain how saving American lives violates American principles, especially since the Constitution requires the president to protect and defend the United States.

This morning’s op-ed isn’t Mr. Rodriguez’s first op-ed. Here’s what he wrote in his April, 2014 op-ed:

On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify and release hundreds of pages of its report on U.S. terrorist interrogation practices. Certain senators have proclaimed how devastating the findings are, saying the CIA’s program was unproductive, badly managed and misleadingly sold. Unlike the committee’s staff, I don’t have to examine the program through a rearview mirror. I was responsible for administering it, and I know that it produced critical intelligence that helped decimate al-Qaeda and save American lives.

Here’s Mr. Rodriguez’s opinion of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report:

The committee’s staff members started with a conclusion in 2009 and have chased supportive evidence ever since. They never spoke to me or other top CIA leaders involved in the program, or let us see the report.

The thought that this report would be praised by Democrats as the definitive report on the CIA’s interrogation techniques is insulting to thoughtful, honest people. The Feinstein Report is a political hatchet job. It isn’t a serious review of the CIA’s interrogation techniques.

If a CIA expert said that EITs “saved American lives”, I’ll trust him, not partisan Democrat hacks like Sen. Feinstein or Ms. Pelosi.

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It’s hard to believe but today marks the 10 year blogiversary for LFR. It’s been an incredible experience. The first subject that I sunk my teeth into was the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine. These days, there isn’t much in the way of good news coming from across the ocean thanks to our incredibly inept president.

Back when I started, I did lots of writing about world events. After the 2006 election disaster, I started paying attention to state government. In March, 2007, I broke my first news story thanks to a great tip from then-Rep. Steve Gottwalt. It’s still one of my favorite posts:

I just got off the phone with Steve Gottwalt, who had some shocking news from the Capitol. Today, at a committee hearing, Cy Thao told Steve “When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.” This was Thao’s explanation as to how the DFL plans on paying for all the spending increases they promised their special interest friends.

The DFL still has the same mindset today as they did in March, 2007.

Bit by bit, I started doing original reporting thanks in large part to frustrated state legislators who were being ignored by the Star Tribune and the St. Cloud Times. In 2008, I started covering the candidate forums. They were quite memorable. I still remember Rob Jacobs telling 2 major groups that he wasn’t an expert on their issues (transportation that Monday, health care the next day) but that he was a good listener. Despite telling everyone covering the events that he was totally unqualified for the job, the St. Cloud Times endorsed him over Rep. Dan Severson. The good news from that fiasco was that the Times had egg on their face when Rep. Severson beat Jacobs by 10 points.

The last 3 years, I’ve spent lots of time being the taxpayers’ watchdog. I’ve scooped the Times so many times that I’ve lost track of how many times it’s happened. Hopefully, I’ll be around when the mismanagement comes to an end. Hopefully, it’ll happen soon.

If you appreciate the reporting I’ve done, feel free to drop a few coins in the tip jar. Thanks for being incredibly loyal followers to LFR.

Al Franken’s fundraising letters focus on the Democrats’ favorite boogeymen, the Koch brothers. Here’s the latest example of Franken’s paranoia:

The Kochs just announced they’re going to spend $125 million between now and Election Day — and I need your help to fight back. A group with ties to the Kochs has already come after me once this year, and it’s only a matter of time before the next smear.

Will you make an immediate $10 contribution right now to help us reach our $200,000 goal and prepare for the Koch brothers’ attacks? It’s not like these guys don’t have the cash. Remember, in 2012, they spent $400 million on elections.

First, it’s dishonest for Sen. Franken to say that Charles and David Koch spent $400,000,000 on elections during the last cycle. Then too, Sen. Franken isn’t honest. Here’s what Andy Barr, the director of Franken’s PAC, said during the 2008 campaign:

“It’s deeply unfortunate, kind of pathetic, and completely unsurprising that Senator Norm Coleman and his Republican allies are already dragging out decades-old quotes and taking them out of context to suggest that Al is a homophobe and a crack addict.”

Unfortunately for Barr, there’s a witness who testified against Franken:

“People used to ask me about this and I’d always say, ‘No, there was no coke. It’s impossible to do the kind of show we were doing and do drugs.’ And so that was just a funny lie that I liked to tell. Kind of the opposite was true, unfortunately – for some people, it was impossible to do the show without the drugs. Comedians and comedy writers and people in show business in general aren’t the most disciplined people, so the idea of putting the writing off until you had to, and then staying up all night, was an attractive one. And then having this drug that kept you awake in an enjoyable way was kind of tempting too. But I only did cocaine to stay awake to make sure nobody else did too much cocaine. That was the only reason I ever did it. Heh-heh.”

There’s no denying that Sen. Franken admitted he used cocaine in a book before denying he used cocaine when asked on the campaign trail.

Likewise, there’s no denying the fact that Sen. Franken is lying about how much money Charles and David Koch spent on elections in 2012.

Al Franken has changed throughout the years. As a comedian, he was a coke addict. As a politician, he’s still addicted to Koch. What hasn’t changed is that he’s still running from the truth.

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Avik Roy’s article doesn’t just highlight the fact that PolitiFact isn’t the gold standard in fact-checking, though it certainly does that. This paragraph highlights the most important thing we need to know about Politifact:

On October 9, 2008, Angie Drobnic Holan of PolitiFact published an article using the site’s “Truth-O-Meter” to evaluate this claim: “Under Barack Obama’s health care proposal, ‘if you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it.’” The article assures us in its headline that “Obama’s plan expands [the] existing system,” and continues that “Obama is accurately describing his health care plan here…It remains to be seen whether Obama’s plan will actually be able to achieve the cost savings it promises for the health care system. But people who want to keep their current insurance should be able to do that under Obama’s plan. His description of his plan is accurate, and we rate his statement True.”

Thanks to Roy’s article, what we can definitively determine is that PolitiFact rates speculation as fact or fiction. It isn’t possible to determine whether then-candidate Obama’s statement was true because the legislation hadn’t been written at that point. Without reading the legislation’s language, it’s impossible to tell whether Obama’s promise was true or false.

That’s quite damning to PolitiFact’s reputation. The statements reviewed by, by contrast, either note that something is speculative or they’re commenting on promises made by political candidates.

Simply put, PolitiFact is more about playing political favorites than it’s about fact-checking politicians’ statements. That’s why I’ve never taken their statements that seriously. Admittedly, they got President Obama’s lie of the year right. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it right until 5 years after they rated that statement as true. That’s a pretty pathetic record.

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