Kyl starts walking back bogus claim

KYL STARTS WALKING BACK BOGUS CLAIM…. There was an odd dust-up earlier this week, with Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) alleging that President Obama had told him, privately and directly, that the White House would ignore border security unless it was part of a comprehensive immigration reform package.

In a video that made the rounds, Kyl said a town-hall meeting, “Here’s what the president said. ‘The problem is,’ he said, ‘If we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.’ In other words, they’re holding it hostage.”

The White House responded fairly quickly, coming awfully close to calling Kyl a liar, but the far-right senator stood by his remarks.

Every aspect of the senator’s story seemed literally unbelievable, but conservatives ran with it, probably because Kyl told them a tale they wanted to believe.

Today, the far-right Arizonan decided to shamelessly walk back clarify the claims that never really made sense anyway.

Kyl tells us that the comments were “taken a bit out of context,” and that the “they” he was referring to was the Left, “the president’s base,” and not the administration. “I did not try to start a fight….”

As Matt Finkelstein noted, “That’s a far cry from Kyl’s original claim, which pretty clearly implicates Obama.” Quite right.

So, here’s the question for Fox News and other conservative media outlets that heavily pushed Kyl’s original story: will you be equally diligent in letting the public know about his revised version of the events?

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.