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FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Aug. 21-27

This week, readers sent us comments about the Republican Party’s platform on abortion and a speech President Obama gave in July on his plan to reduce the deficit.

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


GOP Platform on Abortion

I take issue with Brooks Jackson’s fact-check regarding the Obama “truth squad’s” assertion that Romney supports banning abortion without exception for rape and incest [“Another Abortion Falsehood from Obama’s ‘Truth Team,’ ” Aug. 23].

Romney explicitly supported the “personhood amendment” ballot initiative in Louisiana, which would have resulted in a ban on all abortions without exception. Furthermore, while the RNC plank on abortion is not explicit with regard to the issue of exceptions, it is impossible to read the plank in a way that does not logically lead to such a ban. If, as the plank calls for, 14th Amendment protections are extended to unborn children as a matter of constitutional decree, under what circumstances would a state have the ability to grant abortion rights at all? The current plank is nothing like the Hatch-Eagleton bill. It does not merely reverse Roe v. Wade, it overrides it. The legal implications of the RNC plank cannot be ignored simply because they chose not to spell out the rape-incest exception.

You are correct to point out that Romney has stated his opposition to bans on abortion in cases of rape and incest, however, he has also supported “personhood” bills and the RNC plank which would result in exactly that kind of ban. At best, it’s a mixed message.

Keith Blodorn
Menomonee Falls, Wisc.

FactCheck.org responds: We have received a number of objections like this one. All the writers state that they can see in the platform a call for a no-exceptions policy, even if that’s not stated explicitly.

In this they agree with some abortion foes, including “Personhood USA,” which also sees in the platform an unstated call to ban abortions in cases of rape. But rather than attributing this position to Romney, as the Obama campaign falsely does, that group attacks Romney for supporting what it calls “the death penalty for children conceived in rape,” and calls Romney supporters “a fringe group of liberals who compromise on human life.”

But the plain fact remains, there’s no mention of rape, incest or exceptions in the GOP platform plank on abortion. Romney’s position supporting exceptions in cases of rape or incest has been consistent since at least 2005. And we might add, John McCain also supported exceptions for rape or incest, and ran on this same platform language in 2008.


‘We Tried Our Plan’

Eugene Kiely seems to have not listened to all of President Obama’s speech before he wrote [“Pro-Romney Super PAC Twists Obama’s Words,” Aug. 13]. Mr. Kiely argues that President Obama was “referring to his proposal to cut the deficit using both tax increases and spending cuts,” not past job creation. But, cutting the deficit is only part of what President Obama was talking about. The focus of his speech was contrasting his “opponent’s plan” for “economic renewal” and growing the economy. President Obama contrasts this vision with his own that investments in infrastructure and education are what is needed to grow the economy from the bottom up. He then discusses cutting the deficit, and says “just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan — and it worked.” So, either President Obama was comparing apples to oranges (comparing a plan for job growth with one for deficit reduction) or he was suggesting that “his” plan was a plan for deficit reduction and growth.  It seems clear from the context of the whole speech he was talking about both, which would make the super PAC ad’s discussion of the president’s job performance completely appropriate.

J. Russell
Takoma Park, Md.


Thanks from a New Reader

I just began reading FactCheck.org and I want to say “thank you” for the quality research and data. This is a very confusing time in politics with all the spinning that goes on and I find your content legitimate. I appreciate what you are doing.

Austin Faught
Houston, Texas