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.
A radio ad sponsored by Hillary Clinton reprises her misleading claim that Barack Obama likes Republican ideas. Obama has responded with an ad that makes a half-true accusation that Clinton "championed" NAFTA. We find that both claims are misleading and that the candidates are, in fact, making mountains of molehills.
Specifically, we found that:
Clinton’s ad falsely implies that Obama supported "special tax breaks for Wall Street" and running up the deficit, and that he opposed minimum wage increases while refusing to deal with the housing crisis.
In one of the liveliest debates of the 2008 presidential campaign, the three top Democrats slugged it out in Myrtle Beach, S.C. We noted some low blows:
Clinton falsely accused Obama of saying he "really liked the ideas of the Republicans" including private Social Security accounts and deficit spending. Not true. The entire 49-minute interview to which she refers contains no endorsement of private Social Security accounts or deficit spending, and Obama specifically scorned GOP calls for tax cuts.
The Obama campaign’s new ad uses an old trick and takes quotes from newspapers out of context.
Once again, the campaign uses a quote from a news story to say Obama’s health plan would offer universal coverage. But the full article points out that his plan "does not guarantee" full coverage.
The ad also shows a clip saying that Obama has been against the war in Iraq since the beginning. True enough, but the story also chastises him for making too much of the boldness of his early stance.
Two recent ads by the Edwards campaign are quick and to the point, but they miss the mark. One claims that Edwards is the "only" Democrat who "beats" the leading Republican contenders in "the recent" CNN poll. Actually, Edwards wasn’t even included in the most recent CNN poll; the ad is referring to an older one. More recent polling has found that both Obama and Clinton are leading all of the Republican front-runners.
The three leading Democratic presidential candidates debated in Las Vegas and we noted the following:
Clinton once again mischaracterized the 2005 energy bill, saying it had "enormous giveaways" to oil and gas companies. In truth, the measure raised taxes on those industries.
Obama accused the Bush administration of failing to make "any serious effort" to encourage use of alternative fuels or raise fuel efficiency of automobiles. In fact, President Bush has signed major bills that do both.
If these two nasty e-mail messages are any indication, the 2008 presidential campaign is becoming a very dirty one.
One claims that Obama is “certainly a racist” by virtue of belonging to Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, which it says “will accept only black parishoners” and espouses a commitment to Africa. Actually, a white theology professor says he’s been “welcomed enthusiastically” at the church, as have other non-blacks.
Another e-mail claims that Obama “is a Muslim,”
During the Democratic portion of the Jan. 5 New Hampshire debate:
Obama claimed we are "back where we started two years ago" in Iraq. Actually, all indicators of violence show dramatic improvement compared with two years ago.
Clinton repeated a misleading claim that the 2005 energy bill was "larded with all kinds of special interest breaks" for the oil industry. Actually, the bill resulted in a net increase in taxes on the oil industry,
Obama's ad touting his health care plan quotes phrases from newspaper articles and an editorial, but makes them sound more laudatory and authoritative than they actually are.
It attributes to The Washington Post a line saying Obama's plan would save families about $2,500. But the Post was citing the estimate of the Obama campaign and didn't analyze the purported savings independently.
It claims that "experts" say Obama's plan is "the best."
Q: Does Obama have a real estate problem?
A: A political patron from whom he bought a strip of land is under federal indictment, but there’s no evidence Obama did anything improper.