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Let’s Fact-Check Obama and Debate:

Fact-checking the debate and the “bamboozler“:

UPDATE: Factcheck – Sen. Obama’s Iraq War Record

In 2004, Sen. Obama said he didn’t know how he would have voted on the Iraq War resolution.

‘When asked about Senators Kerry and Edwards’ votes on the Iraq war, Obama said, “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘What would I have done? I don’t know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made.’

In 2004, Sen. Obama also said there was little difference between his position and George Bush’s position on Iraq:

In a meeting with Chicago Tribune reporters at the Democratic National Convention, Obama said, “On Iraq, on paper, there’s not as much difference, I think, between the Bush administration and a Kerry administration as there would have been a year ago. […] There’s not much of a difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.” [Chicago Tribune, 07/27/04]

While running for Senate, Sen. Obama acknowledged that he took his anti-war speech off his campaign website, calling it “dated”:

Specifically, State Senator Obama maintains that an October 2002 anti-war speech was removed from his campaign web site because “the speech was dated once the formal phase of the war was over, and my staff’s desire to continually provide fresh news clips.”

Finally, Sen. Obama and Hillary have almost identical voting records on Iraq:

In fact, Obama’s Senate voting record on Iraq is nearly identical to Clinton’s. Over the two years Obama has been in the Senate, the only Iraq-related vote on which they differed was the confirmation earlier this year of General George Casey to be Chief of Staff of the Army, which Obama voted for and Clinton voted against. [ABC News, 5/17/07]

2/26/2008 9:44:42 PM

Factcheck – Hillary on NAFTA

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Hillary has been critical of NAFTA long before she started running for President. For example, here’s Hillary in March 2000:

What happened to NAFTA I think was we inherited an agreement that we didn’t get everything we should have got out of it in my opinion. I think the NAFTA agreement was flawed. The problem is we have to go back and figure out how we are going to fix that. [Working Families Party, 3/26/00]

Last night former Clinton adviser, David Gergen, confirmed that Hillary ‘was extremely unenthusiastic about NAFTA’:

GERGEN: “I was actually there in the Clinton White House during the NAFTA fight and I must tell you Hillary Clinton was extremely unenthusiastic about NAFTA. And I think that’s putting it mildly. I’m not sure she objected to all the provisions of it but she just didn’t see why her husband and that White House had to go and do that fight. She was very unhappy about it and wanted to move on to health care. So I do think there’s some justification for her camp saying, you know, she’s never been a great backer for NAFTA.” [David Gergen, Anderson Cooper 360, 2/25/08]

Sen. Obama has sent mailers misrepresenting Hillary’s position as pro NAFTA. The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Politico have called these mailers “erroneous” and “bogus.”

Sen. Obama stands by healthcare mailer that falsely attacks Hillary

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During tonight’s debate, Sen. Obama stood by an Ohio campaign mailer that mimicked Harry and Louise ads that the health care industry used to scare people into opposing universal health care. The ad claims “Hillary’s health care plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it.”

Here are the facts:

Sen. Obama fails to mention Hillary’s plan cuts costs just as aggressively as Sen. Obama, if not more so.

Hillary’s plan contains more generous subsidies than the Obama plan. Noted health expert Ken Thorpe of Emory University concluded that under the Hillary plan, everyone will be able to afford coverage.

The Obama plan leaves 15 million people out, which drives up costs because everyone else ends up subsidizing their emergency care.

Paul Krugman called the mailer “ugly” and “destructive.

2/26/2008 9:18:27 PM #

UPDATE – Obama Continues Misleading Attacks on Trade, Former Clinton Advisor Confirms that Hillary was critical of NAFTA

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“Senator Obama’s insistence on repeating attacks that have been demonstrated to be false by independent entities proves once and for all that his speeches about the new politics are just words. That’s not change you can believe in.”
—Clinton spokesman Phil Singer

On Sunday, Sen. Obama said the following:

And yesterday, Senator Clinton also said I’m wrong to point out that she once supported NAFTA. But the fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for President.

This is false. Hillary criticized Sen. Obama for sending out a mailer that claimed she said NAFTA was a “boon to the economy” when she never did. FactCheck.org concluded “We do judge that the Obama campaign is wrong to quote Clinton as using words she never uttered, and it has produced little evidence that she ever had strong praise of any sort for NAFTA’s economic benefits.”

Hillary has been critical of NAFTA long before she started running for President. For example, here’s Hillary in March 2000:

What happened to NAFTA I think was we inherited an agreement that we didn’t get everything we should have got out of it in my opinion. I think the NAFTA agreement was flawed. The problem is we have to go back and figure out how we are going to fix that. [Working Families Party, 3/26/00]

Sen. Obama touts his consistent opposition to NAFTA. But speaking in Illinois in 2004 Obama said the United States “benefited enormously” from exports under NAFTA and talked about the need to continue to pursue trade agreement like NAFTA that support “a system of free trade in this nation that allows us to move our products overseas.”

UPDATE: Last night former Clinton adviser, David Gergen, confirmed that Hillary ‘was extremely unenthusiastic about NAFTA’:

GERGEN: “I was actually there in the Clinton White House during the NAFTA fight and I must tell you Hillary Clinton was extremely unenthusiastic about NAFTA. And I think that’s putting it mildly. I’m not sure she objected to all the provisions of it but she just didn’t see why her husband and that White House had to go and do that fight. She was very unhappy about it and wanted to move on to health care. So I do think there’s some justification for her camp saying, you know, she’s never been a great backer for NAFTA.” [David Gergen, Anderson Cooper 360, 2/25/08]

Watch the segment here:

2/26/2008 10:51:58 AM #

Obama’s Negative Campaigning

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Today, Howard Wolfson said the following about the Obama campaign on a conference call:

“I think it is true that every time the Obama campaign in this campaign has attacked Senator Clinton in the worst kind of personal ways, attacked her veracity, attacked her credibility, said that she would say or do anything to get elected, the press has largely applauded him.”

All of this is factual. Details below—

Attacked her veracity

Obama campaign accuses Hillary of ‘incredible distortions.’ [USA Today, 1/22/08]

Obama campaign: ‘people have heard a lot of things that just aren’t true from the mouth of the First Lady, from the mouth of the former President, from the mouth of the campaign.’ [Politico, 1/21/08]

Obama accused Hillary of ‘not being straight’ with the American people on many issues. Sen. Obama: “Hillary’s idea is that we should force everyone to buy insurance. But this is yet another issue where she is not being straight with the American people because she refuses to tell us how much she would fine people if they couldn’t afford insurance.” [AP, 11/25/07]

Obama called Hillary ‘disingenuous.’ Sen. Obama: “Her response was certainly inadequate…She can release these papers…I think she was being disingenuous.” [Newsweek, 11/12/07]

Obama told reporters to ask Hillary ‘the difference between disingenuous and dishonest.’ Q: “What’s the difference between disingenuous and dishonest?” Obama: “You’ll have to ask her.” [Newsweek, 11/3/07]

Attacked her credibility

Obama campaign Truth Squad member says Hillary and Bill Clinton are ‘all about deceit.’ [Washington Post, 1/25/08]

Obama says ‘Senator Clinton started off trying to make history, and now she’s trying to rewrite it.’ [Las Vegas Review Journal, 1/14/08]

Obama accused Hillary of not putting ‘honesty first.’ “The real choice in this election is between conventional Washington thinking that prizes posture and positioning, or real change that puts judgment and honesty first.” [Politico.com, 11/20/07]

Obama said Hillary has not ‘been truthful to voters about what she would do as president. NYT: “Has she been truthful to voters about what she would do as president?” Obama: “No.” [New York Times, 10/27/07]

Obama said Hillary doesn’t stand for anything. “Obama has criticized rival Hillary Rodham Clinton on both issues, and he said not taking strong stands ultimately doesn’t work. ‘People want parties to stand for something,’ he said.” [AP, 11/7/07]

Said that she would say or do anything to get elected

Obama campaigns says ‘Hillary Clinton will do or say anything to win an election’ [Plouffe Statement, 1/25/08]

Obama Radio Ad says ‘Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected.’ [Obama South Carolina Radio Ad, 1/23/08]

Obama says he’s up against a candidate who will ‘say anything or do anything to win an election.’ [Economist, 1/25/08]

Obama said Hillary is more concerned ‘about getting through an election than actually solving the health care problems.’ “The Illinois senator said it is another instance of political maneuvering on Clinton’s part. ‘So unless she can answer those questions this is yet another calculation that’s more about getting through an election than actually solving the health care problems,’ he said.” [AP, 11/25/07]

Obama said Hillary’s positions are all based on ‘what’s popular or politically convenient.’ “Now, Senator Clinton is certainly not the only one in Washington to play this game. It’s gone on for years, and I understand the reasoning behind it. It’s a game that usually gets politicians where they need to go. But I don’t believe it gets America where we need to go. When it comes to issues like war and diplomacy, energy and health care, I don’t believe we can bring about real change if all we do is change our positions based on what’s popular or politically convenient.” [Barack Obama, ‘A Change We Can Believe In,’ 11/3/07]

2/25/2008 5:49:59 PM #

Obama Advisor Makes Three False Attacks On Hillary’s Foreign Policy Record

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Today on a campaign conference call, Susan Rice, a senior adviser to Sen. Obama, issued three false attacks on Hillary’s record:

RICE: And unfortunately on three of the key issues that have arisen over the past several years Senator Clinton has exhibited wrong judgment. The most obvious example of course is the decision to support the Iraq War- not just back in 2002 but several years since. Secondly, voting to give the president the benefit of the doubt by voting to give Iran the benefit of the doubt on the Lieberman amendment and being part of the neo-conservative drum beat of war with Iran. And thirdly on Pakistan, when last summer Senator Clinton argued has President Bush and Senator McCain often have, that our man in Pakistan is Musharaff and we in fact do have to put our eggs in his basket because the only thing between us and disaster is Musharaff.

First: Rice falsely claims that Hillary exhibited the wrong judgment in Iraq ‘several years since 2002.’ But with the exception of Sen. Obama’s vote to promote Gen. George Casey — one of the Iraq war’s chief architects — Sen. Obama and Hillary have identical voting records on the Iraq war.

Second: Rice misrepresents Hillary’s position on Iran. Hillary was one of the earliest and staunchest opponents of Bush’s saber rattling on Iran. She spoke out on the issue back in February, and co-sponsored the Webb bill prohibiting use of funds for military action in Iran without congressional authorization.

Sen. Obama missed the vote Rice is now using to attack Hillary. The bill was also supported by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a staunch anti-war Bush critic and prominent Obama supporter. Read more here and here.

Third: Rice falsely asserts that Hillary supports the Bush Administration’s policy regarding Musharaff. This is incorrect. Hillary actually issued a release calling Musharraf to cancel the state of emergency, and criticized the Bush administration’s failed policies in Pakistan:

I call on General Musharraf to cancel the state of emergency, restore the Constitution, release arrested opposition leaders, and hold free and fair elections on schedule. The failed policies of the Bush administration are part of the reason we are in this difficult and dangerous position. The policies of this administration have diverted resources and attention from the fight against terrorism on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, while inciting radical elements inside Pakistan. We now find ourselves having to cope with yet another threatening challenge made worse by the failed policies of this President.” [Clinton Senate Office press release, 11/5/07]

2/25/2008 1:26:52 PM #

Obama Continues To Mislead on Hillary and NAFTA

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“Senator Obama’s insistence on repeating attacks that have been demonstrated to be false by independent entities proves once and for all that his speeches about the new politics are just words. That’s not change you can believe in.”
—Clinton spokesman Phil Singer

Today, Sen. Obama said the following:

And yesterday, Senator Clinton also said I’m wrong to point out that she once supported NAFTA. But the fact is, she was saying great things about NAFTA until she started running for President.

This is false. Hillary criticized Sen. Obama for sending out a mailer that claimed she said NAFTA was a “boon to the economy” when she never did. Today, the University of Pennsylvania’s FactCheck.org concluded “We do judge that the Obama campaign is wrong to quote Clinton as using words she never uttered, and it has produced little evidence that she ever had strong praise of any sort for NAFTA’s economic benefits.”

Also, Hillary has been critical of NAFTA long before she started running for President. For example, here’s Hillary in March 2000:

What happened to NAFTA I think was we inherited an agreement that we didn’t get everything we should have got out of it in my opinion. I think the NAFTA agreement was flawed. The problem is we have to go back and figure out how we are going to fix that. [Working Families Party, 3/26/00]

Sen. Obama touts his consistent opposition to NAFTA. But speaking in Illinois in 2004 Obama said the United States “benefited enormously” from exports under NAFTA and talked about the need to continue to pursue trade agreement like NAFTA that support “a system of free trade in this nation that allows us to move our products overseas.”

2/24/2008 1:50:58 PM #

Independent Voices: Obama Tactics Resurrect Harry and Louise

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At his media availability earlier today, Senator Obama implied that the only health care experts who have criticized the Obama health plan’s failure to provide universal health coverage were Hillary supporters:

Senator Obama: “There are many people who support Senator Clinton, health care experts, who believe in mandates who didn’t like the characterization of it, but there wasn’t anything inaccurate in what was said.”

Senator Obama’s suggestion is false. Many independent experts who have not endorsed Hillary have criticized the Obama health plan and the Obama campaign’s Harry & Louise tactics.

INDEPENDENT EXPERTS ACKNOWLEDGED AND CONDEMNED OBAMA’S USE OF HARRY & LOUISE STYLE ATTACKS

Harbage, 2/23/08: “As Senator John Edwards former Healthcare Advisor and a currently unaffiliated healthcare reform proponent, I think that anyone familiar with the Harry and Louise campaign from the early 1990s would immediately recognize the similarity between the insurance industry’s attacks and the Obama Campaign’s mailer. This attack simply drives the debate to the lowest common denominator of generating fear.”

Ezra Klein, American Prospect: “When I say that Obama is demagoguing universal health care, this sort of campaign literature is what I’m talking about…The Obama campaign kept their hairstyles and barely even changed their clothing — which is really quite unfair to Harry and Louise, who probably let go of the plaid years back. What’s worse is that the argument they’re making is applicable to any kind of universal health care arrangement, including the arrangements Obama himself will eventually have to adopt.”

Paul Krugman, New York Times, 2/1/08: “Sorry, but this is just destructive — like the Obama plan, the Clinton plan offers subsidies to lower-income families. And BO himself has conceded that he might have to penalize people who don’t buy insurance until they need care. So this is just poisoning the well for health care reform. The politics of hope, indeed…I know that Obama supporters want to hear no evil, but this is really, really bad.”

Factcheck.org 2/4/08: “We agree that there is a resemblance between the photo on the Obama mailer and the [Harry and Louise] TV spots. In those ads actors portraying a white, middle-class couple expressed grave concerns about how the Clinton administration’s health care plan would affect them. The ads were part of a $17 million campaign by the insurance industry that was widely credited – rightly or wrongly – with contributing to the defeat of the Clinton plan, and the ads still anger many advocates of broader government efforts to provide health insurance.”

Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Review of Journalism, 2/4/08: “[Obama’s] new mailer attacking [Senator Clinton’s] proposal resurrects the ghosts of Harry and Louise, the infamous pair in TV commercials sponsored by the insurance industry, which helped sink Bill Clinton’s efforts at reform. In those ads, a man and woman seated at the kitchen table worry that under his plan they wouldn’t be able to choose their doctor. The message: “If we let the government choose, we lose.” In Obama’s mailer, a man and a woman are seated in the same positions at a kitchen table—the woman even has the same long, blonde hair. The message: “Hillary’s plan forces everyone to buy insurance even if you can’t afford it. Is that the best we can do for families struggling with high health care costs?”

2/23/2008 6:41:17 PM #

Fact Check: Hillary’s Plan Would Make Health Care Affordable For Everyone

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Today an Obama spokesperson released the following statement: “And [Hillary Clinton] herself has said that under the Clinton health care plan, she would consider “going after the wages” of Americans who don’t purchase health insurance, whether they can afford it or not.

This is false and misleading. Hillary has never said she would make Americans purchase health insurance they can’t afford — The Obama campaign is taking her words out of context in an effort to mislead voters and the press.

First, Hillary’s plan contains more generous subsidies than the Obama plan. As a result, independent experts — including Emory University’s Ken Thorpe — have concluded that, under Hillary’s plan, everyone would be able to afford coverage.

Second, Hillary has consistently said she would consider a range of ideas to ensure everyone was covered, including automatically enrolling people who use hospitals and other government services, and working with employers to enroll uninsured employees and go after a small portion of their wages to cover the cost of healthcare. This is similar to the withholding structure that many employees use for their 401(k)s.

Third, while criticizing Senator Clinton, Senator Obama himself has said he would fine parents to enforce his mandate on kids and would fine sick people if they don’t get health care coverage until their sick.

More details HERE.

2/23/2008 4:57:30 PM #

Obama Campaign Distributes Two Dishonest Mailers In Ohio

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The Obama campaign is distributing two dishonest mailers in Ohio. The first mailer falsely claims that Hillary said NAFTA was a “boon” to the economy. Hillary never said that. The Obama campaign is basing the quote on a 2006 Newsday article that characterized her views this way without any substantiation. In fact, Newsday recently said that the Obama campaign’s use of their article was “misleading.” The Politico called the Obama campaign’s use of the quote “bogus.

The second mailer from the Obama campaign mimics Harry and Louise ads that the health care industry used to scare people into opposing universal health care. The ad claims “Hillary’s health care plan forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it.”

Here are the facts:

Sen. Obama fails to mention Hillary’s plan cuts costs just as aggressively as Sen. Obama, if not more so.

Hillary’s plan contains more generous subsidies than the Obama plan. Noted health expert Ken Thorpe of Emory University concluded that under the Hillary plan, everyone will be able to afford coverage.

The Obama plan leaves 15 million people out, which drives up costs because everyone else ends up subsidizing their emergency care.

Paul Krugman called the mailer “ugly” and “destructive.

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  • ChrisXP

    Hillary supporters may want to voice their opinions in here…

    http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/27/news-media-unfair-to-clinton/

    Can’t stand this guy’s coverage of Hillary. Swear leeches are better parasites.

  • Andy

    This is a MUST read. Yes I know it is in The New Republic… But is quite an interesting piece about the dirty politics teh Obama camp has been playing.

    “Race Man” by Sean Wilentz
    How Barack Obama played the race card and blamed Hillary Clinton.
    Post Date Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=aa0cd21b-0ff2-4329-88a1-69c6c268b304

  • ybnormal

    The so called ‘close’ healthcare plans.

    Consider that what we have now is the highest cost – lowest benefit healthcare-for-everyone system imaginable. It’s called ER.

    Clinton is dead on about the only affordable way to pull it off is to insure everyone – and not wait until they get to an emergency room to get the coverage.

    • kenoshaMarge

      And doesn’t everyone know that if Social Security wasn’t mandated it wouldn’t have worked either. It’s got to be taken all the way or it will never work for all of us. Course those that all ready have good health insurance and don’t have to worry about this issue can happily bemoan mandates.

  • ybnormal

    When Obama says (though not in this debate, but often enough) there’s no shortage of good ideas, just the lack of will to get it done…

    My response is,
    there’s no shortage of will or desire to get things done; what we lack is the leaders with the proven experience to do it.

    IMHO Obama is ironically the one supplying the best arguments against Obama, but for some reason lots of people like him regardless.

    • Nellie

      ybnormal,

      Great Points. I may steal some of them.

      Truth is Obama has never had an original idea, he just plagarizes the hell out of everyone elses and claim their HIS.

  • jason_in_sf

    susan,

    i am just curious what are you going to do when hillary finally loses?
    it seems hard to believe she is going to make that much of a comeback

    thanks
    jsf

  • Eddie

    Great job Susan. Here’s one more. C.I. points out B.O. lied in the debate:

    http://thecommonills.blogspot.com/2008/02/barack-obama-lied-in-debate.html

    Quote: “My objections to the war in Iraq were simply — not simply a speech. I was in the midst of a U.S. Senate campaign. It was a high-stakes campaign.”

    He wasn’t running for the US Senate. He was running for re-election to the state senate.

    C.I.: “He lied. This isn’t “mispoke.” He said “US Senate.” It made him sound better. And it was a lie. That speech is not something new to him, he has referenced it over and over. He knows when he gave it. He’s reference that over and over. He was not running for the US Senate. He thought he could get away with it (and during the debate he did).”

  • Mr.Murder

    IRS Investigating Obama’s Church

    Establishment Clause? First Amendment?

    Going after churches? That’s quite a breach there. Liberty is broad, restrictions are imposed upon grants of government and civic authority, not the license of liberty.

    • ybnormal

      It’s part of the deal. Churches want to maintain non-profit tax-exempt status – balanced against the desire to preach something meaningful.

      You can preach against the evil of war, or the unfairness of politics, but for the IRS you cross the line if you preach a call for specific political action. It renegs the deal on non-profit tax-exempt status.

      All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena CA is a frequent flyer for IRS attention. Example, not long ago the pastor preached a message calling for impeachment of Cheney.

      • TeakWoodKite

        Can the Pope do that?

        • ybnormal

          Well, since Vatican City is officially a country, I don’t believe taxes are one of the Pope’s major concerns.

  • S. Markom

    Excellent and concise analysis.

    There was a moment during the debate that Hillary missed over the 2002 Iraq War vote.

    Obama has people believing that he was opposed to the war from the beginning and would have voted that way. The problem is that he was not there in the Senate and was therefore not privy to the information available that led to those votes.

    But consideing his 100% down the line voting record with all other Democrats why should anyone believe that he would have suddenly been independent enough to vote differently ont he Iraq War than his fellow Democrats?

    It’s called Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

  • mimi

    Here’s a link I found. Don’t know what to make of it.

    http://www.nowpublic.com/world/obama-worked-terrorist-expert-says

    • Mr.Murder

      WorldNet Daily isn’t exactly worth linking to, as you link does from its story. It’s basically hiding a site name that sets hair on fire from a perspective of partisanship.

      In fairness to the topic.

    • TeakWoodKite

      Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2001.

      I would like to see the entire donors and recipient list. Pocket lint.
      Isn’t it just wonderful to know the current administration doesn’t need a warrent to get this information? And there is a high probabilty no one will ever know where that “picture” came from?
      Oh swell. VP Cheney said everything leaks eventually. I guess it will be a case of “For Whom the Bell Leak TollsTrolls”

  • Patrick Henry

    WOW..

    Nice Job Susan..!

    Lots of Data..must hve been alot of work..to put that together..Obama does go out of his way to make Hillary look bad..constantly takes his jab..while liestening to her Plans and then comes back with something similar..and then uses the cheer lines to make a case for himself..rather True or Not..

    Typical attorney..Trial Lawyer tactics..You gotta sell yourself to win over the Jury…and see what you can get away with..and hope there are no OBJECTIONS..