In separate, 30-minute question-and-answer sessions sponsored by The Politico and a Washington, D.C., television station, Obama and Clinton for the most part stuck to the facts – or, often, to statements that were matters of judgment and thus out of our bailiwick. But, our mission being to point out the diminutive distortions as well as the big, fat slabs of baloney, we bring you flubs we found in last night’s non-debate:
A direct-mail piece sent to voters by the Clinton campaign twists Obama’s words and gives a false picture of his proposals: It says he “wants to raise Social Security taxes by a trillion dollars,” a big distortion. Obama has said a “good option” would be to apply Social Security payroll taxes to incomes over $97,500 a year, but that would only affect taxes paid by 6.5 percent of individuals and couples. And he hasn’t formally proposed such a move anyway.
An Obama mailer stretches the differences between the candidates on health care. Specifically: It touts measures included in Obama’s plan to help low-income individuals buy insurance but fails to mention that Clinton would provide similar financial assistance. It says Obama’s plan would save the average family $2,500 per year – an estimate provided by experts at the campaign’s request – but doesn’t say that Clinton estimates hers will save $2,200 per year.
Clinton and Obama left their recent bitterness behind at the Democratic debate prior to a nationwide series of primaries and caucuses on Feb. 5. They emphasized their areas of agreement and looked more like running mates than rivals for the nomination. By the end, both were ducking a question about whether the other would be their pick for vice president, and afterward they practically embraced in front of the cameras.
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