With the RNC just finished, having generated some of its biggest headlines for the pants-on-fire whoppers told by VP candidate Paul Ryan, last night’s first high-profile night at the DNC is being duly scrutinized for lies of its own.
Last night was the DNC’s first big event, with the president’s high-profile surrogates speaking—Michele Obama, Kal Penn, and keynote speaker Julian Castro. Sure there was no VP speech, but Biden is a much less significant policy player than Paul Ryan. It’s unlikely that Biden’s speech will contain more than platitudes—Castro’s speech was the one to watch.
And watched it was, as were speeches by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other miscellaneous Democratic personalities.
Fact checkers rolled up their sleeves this morning and—surprise, surprise—it turns out there were indeed some half-truths and full untruths rolling off Democratic tongues last night.
For the most part they were manipulations of the fine print in policy proposals. For instance a detailed report from Associated Press calls out Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for saying that under Obamacare health insurers will issue rebate checks back to customers if they use less than 80% of premiums, when in reality “mostly it’s the employer, not the worker, who gets the check.”
Yawn. But things did get somewhat interesting when the AP pointed out one of Julian Castro’s “lies”:
Castro said said the economy has added 4.5 million jobs on Obama’s watch. The AP writes:
While that figure has become a White House talking point, it’s only part of the story. It’s a cherry-picked number that refers just to private sector jobs created in the last 29 months, from the trough of the recession through July. Governments – especially state and local ones – have continued shedding jobs.
The economy lost 8.8 million jobs from the time employment peaked in January 2008 until it hit bottom in February 2010. Between then and this July – the most recent month for which there are figures – just 4 million jobs have been recovered.
So the real picture Castro didn’t paint is that in Obama’s term, after the $787 billion stimulus was passed the economy added 4 million mostly private sector jobs while continuing to shrink the size of government.
Wait, isn’t this exactly what Republicans always say they want?
I guess this qualifies as lie, but it’s a way different kind of lie than Paul Ryan told last week when he blamed Democrats for the S&P’s downgrade of U.S. credit, when it actually stemmed from Republicans’ creating panic by playing a game of chicken leading up to the debt ceiling deadline.
This is a lie more along the lines of buying your teenage kid his first car and forgetting to tell him it’s a Ferrari.
As the New Yorker points out, Obama himself has told at least one Paul Ryan-style lie recently, referencing an independent study that claims Romney’s tax plan would end up raising taxes on the middle class by $500 per year and passing it along as fact while hiking that number to $2,000 per year.
That’s a disingenuous scare tactic distortion about the future. But even that’s not a completely bold-faced lie where you claim your record is the opposite of what your record actually is.
Both sides will tell their fair share of lies before November, but so far it looks like the GOP’s pinocchio nose has the edge.