Fact-Free Zone

The latest effort by conservatives to lie about what Barack Obama is saying doesn’t require much exegesis, and leaves virtually nothing to legitimate differences of opinion over interpretations of words or phrases. Take it away, Dave Weigel:

At this point, getting video clips of Obama from Republican campaigns is like getting an article pitch from Jayson Blair. It might tell a good story, but you need to run down the source and triple-check. Jim Geraghty points to our latest example, a rapid response video from the RNC that clips Obama’s speech from Oakland.

“Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan — and it worked. That’s the difference. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for a second term.”

Pretty stupid! As Geraghty points out, with a smorgasboard of links, the economy is still horrible three and a half years after Obama took office. But what was the rest of the quote?

“I’ll cut out government spending that’s not working, that we can’t afford, but I’m also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history and everybody did well. Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan — and it worked. That’s the difference. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for a second term.”

What are the chances? Another radical Obama quote that’s just a clipped version of something all Democrats believe. Obama wasn’t talking, at this moment, about his own economic record. He was arguing that the economy had grown and the deficit had shrunk when marginal tax rates were higher.

Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if by sundown conservatives were arguing that this Obama quote proves he’s taken the Democratic Party away from the centrist Clinton legacy. We’re entering a fact-free zone here that cannot be described simply as spin or distortion, much less a morally equivalent tit-for-tat response to Obama campaign tactics. As Weigel concludes:

[T]he truncated version of the Obama quote is insanely misleading. At best, it’ll only appear in $10.4 million or so of TV ads.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.