A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Aug. 23-29

This week, readers sent us comments about Gov. Rick Perry's statements about secession, a special election in Nevada and an ad attacking Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts.

In the FactCheck Mailbag, we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.

Secession Statements

There are several problems with your fact-check article about Rick Perry's "secession" comments ["What Perry Really Said About Secession," Aug. 23].

First, the simple one. The article starts by saying that "the Obama team falsely suggests Texas Gov. Rick Perry advocated secession." The key word in that sentence is "advocated." In the first quote from Gibbs, he says simply that Perry "talked about" secession. That statement is unequivocally true. Perry did, in fact, "talk about" secession, and not in a derogatory manner. In the second quote from Carney, it is probably fair to say he was claiming that Perry was "advocating" secession. That is a reasonable term to equate with "wanted to" secede. However, the article seems to treat both of these the same, calling the first comment "a jab." It is not a jab to say the truth, and the truth is that Perry talked about secession openly, which is all that Gibbs said.

The second problem is that this article misses the entire point of the problem with Perry's comments. It is true that Perry did not state explicitly that he thought Texas should secede from the union right now, at this moment. It is equally true that by any reasonable interpretation he was saying that Texas had the power to do so, and that it might become necessary in the future for Texas to, in fact, secede. Perhaps Perry wasn't serious when he said this, but he said basically the same thing on multiple occasions and there is nothing false about pointing out that Perry spoke about secession and was quite plain that he felt Texas could secede and left secession open as a real possibility. There is nothing false about saying he spoke about secession, it is his fault for making those comments if he didn't want people to take them seriously.

It seems that you are trying to downplay the seriousness of the Republican front-runner making clear statements about possible future secession from the union as governor of an important state. Drawing a distinction between "we should secede now" and "we have the right to secede and may need to do so in the future" is rhetorical hair splitting.

Kent Hundley
Gravel Switch, Ky.


Analysis of Nevada Ads

Your recent report on the Nevada special election ["Taxing the Truth in Nevada," Aug. 24] seems to criticize both candidates, but your points about Democrat Kate Marshall are not fair.

You write:

Democrat Kate Marshall hammers Amodei for supporting that tax hike, but fails to note that it was offered as a less punitive alternative to another budget-balancing tax plan sponsored by the governor.

I say – why should she? Do you think an ad criticizing a Democrat who voted for the health insurance bill is required to say that it was a less expansive bill than the single-payer legislation that was proposed?

You write:

Marshall claims that Amodei would “end Medicare,” but her ad features a cast of seniors whose benefits would not have been affected by the House GOP plan.

I say that unless her ad has these seniors saying that Medicare would end for them, her ad is accurate as Amodei would support ending Medicare, just not for those currently in the system.

Jerry Skurnik
New York, N.Y.


Bobblehead Disappointment

Your FactCheck on ads attacking Sen. Scott Brown was lame. [" 'Bobblehead’ Scott Brown?," Aug. 26.]

He "promised to be an independent voice," but still votes with the Republicans 81 percent to 83 percent of the time. This is precisely what the ad is trying to point out.

It's true that most Republicans vote lock step with their party, but Brown represents a "Blue" state. It's a pretty low standard to suggest that an 83 percent voting record in line with one's party is "independent."

The Bobblehead website lists several votes that can easily be considered as votes for Wall Street and the national Republican agenda.

Meg McGowan
Honolulu, Hawaii