It’s no secret that political candidates and parties often “spin” facts, figures and statements. They promote news stories and polls that bolster their arguments and ignore data that could help their opponents. Spinning information is arguably the most important job of any campaign’s communications director – the spin that is placed on news can make or break elections. As the saying goes, he who frames the issue wins the debate.
Throughout the 2012 general election, however, the Democratic Party’s desire to win the debate has strayed from the expected level of political spin. The Obama 2o12 campaign’s desire to frame the issues has crossed the line from over-the-top election year rhetoric to an appalling disregard for the truth.
Five recent instances in which Obama and friends have skipped the spin and flat out lied immediately come to mind.
First is Florida Rep. and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz’s claim that she didn’t know if the people behind pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA were Democrats.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the anti-Romney Super PAC is ran by Democrats, but that’s beside the point. More important is the that it’s common knowledge – especially to the chair of the Democratic Party – that the PAC is ran by two former Obama administration aides, including former White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton.
No one ever doubted Wasserman Shultz knew that Democratic operatives ran the PAC responsible for making the reprehensible ad that suggested GOP nominee Mitt Romney was responsible for a former employee’s wife’s death. At issue was that Wasserman Shultz knowingly lied about the party’s affiliation’s with the ads creators in order to avoid getting the her and the official party’s hands dirty.
The Republican National Committee jumped on Wasserman Shultz’s fib, helping to publicize the incident and forcing her to backtrack. The GOP’s quick action also helped to publicize lies told by Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, about the ad.
Cutter has repeatedly said she did not know the man in the ad and had no knowledge of the former Bain Capital employee’s personal situation before the ad was released. But on May 12, the former employee, Joe Soptic, told the true story of his wife’s death on an Obama For America conference call led by Cutter. Cutter was both aware who Soptic was and that Priorities USA had massaged the truth about his wife’s death in the despicable ad. But like Wasserman Shultz, Cutter chose to lie in order to absolve the Obama campaign of any wrong doing.
The most overlooked lie of the Obama campaign this year also comes from Cutter.
Last Sunday Cutter said on CNN’s State of the Union that the President used the $716 million to Medicare that his healthcare plan achieved in ‘savings’ to extend the life of Medicare. That is absolutely false. The non-partisan government agency responsible for analyzing the financial impact of Congressional legislation and laws – the Congressional Budget Office - and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) admit that the money harvested from Medicare through waste cutting was used to pay for new programs created by Obamacare, not to extend the life of Medicare as Cutter claimed.
The theory holds that you can tell a lot about a leader by the people he surrounds himself with. It’s no surprise, then, that even the President has misinformed the public about the recent actions of his campaign.
In a rare and unexpected briefing with reporters on Monday President Barack Obama told two boldfaced lies.
First, the President said he was not running a negative campaign, which everyone, including President Obama, knows is not true. By law, candidates have to slap the “I’m so and so and I approve this message” disclaimer on every ad he or she releases. Furthermore, Obama’s own advisers have admitted that the President personally signed off on those ads. President Obama is fully aware of the attack ads his campaign is running against Romney.
The lie itself isn’t a significant one, but it was coupled with the claim that “nobody accused Romney of being a felon.” In fact, Stephanie Cutter did say that Romney was either a liar or a felon in a conference call with reporters in July. The President even acknowledged her comment in an interview and refused to apologize to Romney, saying Cutter brought up legitimate questions Romney needed to answer.
Obama’s recent lies, which would have otherwise been the talk of the town this week had the Rep. Todd Akin debacle not stolen the show, are the most disconcerting considering Obama is the sitting President. It’s a sad day when the President of the United States has to resort to lying to win reelection. Obama’s lies, though not Nixonion, are exactly why Americans, and young Americans in particular, are generally apathetic about politics and don’t trust either political party.
As trite as it sounds, President Obama and his campaign are headed down a slippery slope of deceit. They’ve gone from ‘spinning’ to lying, and they don’t seem to recognize the difference anymore.
It’s clear that nothing the Obama campaign or the President says can be trusted on face value at this point.