Far-right talking points on India trip generate pushback

FAR-RIGHT TALKING POINTS ON INDIA TRIP GENERATE PUSHBACK…. The first post-election GOP freak-out happens to be an odd one. Perhaps disappointed by the lack of voter fraud allegations, the right is seizing on President Obama’s upcoming trip to India as being overly pricey.

We talked yesterday about the tantrum, and how utterly ridiculous it is. To hear Limbaugh, Fox News, and Republican lawmakers tell it, the trip will cost Americans over $200 million a day — a figure that’s not only wrong, but appears to have been made up.

The Wall Street Journal, not exactly an outlet that’s friendly to the administration, described the allegations as being based on a “demonstrably incorrect” article in the foreign press. (In the 1990s, it was not uncommon for far-right activists to plant stories in international outlets, and then use them as the basis for domestic controversies.)

Yesterday, the idiocy got worse when Drudge trumpeted allegations that President Obama will be accompanied by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier.

The Pentagon was not amused.

The Pentagon did not mince words in dismissing as “absolutely absurd” and “comical” media reports from Indian news outlets that the US Navy was sending 34 warships off the coast of Mumbai as part of the security preparations for President Obama’s upcoming trip to India.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell … told reporters he was making an exception to the practice of not discussing Presidential security details to shoot down the reports. […]

He acknowledged that a Presidential trip requiring security needs “should not come as a surprise to anyone” and that the Defense Department “does play a role in support of Presidential missions.” He said it was customary to not discuss such security requests, but “I made an exception in batting down this absurd notion of there being 34 ships, or more than 10 percent of the Navy, deployed in support of this trip. That is most certainly not the case.”

As Steve M. reminds us, though, that Fox News and several prominent conservative blogs continue to cite already-debunked figures as fact.

There’s a reason so many Republican voters seem confused about current events — they’re lied to as a matter of course.

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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.