There’s nothing more hated by a politician than a fact-checker. Recently, Paul Ryan (Republican VP candidate and discoverer of the Fountain of Youth) made a speech in Tampa at the Republican National Convention. One of the first bits of commentary came from CNN’s Erin Burnett who said:
“We were jotting down points. There will be issues with some of the facts. But it motivated people.”
Well, it turns out that Erin was absolutely right. Since the speech was delivered, America’s apparent army of fact-checkers tore the speech apart. It turns out, despite repeated assertions by the Romney campaign that they can “win based on facts”, “stretching the truth” is easier to rely on.
In his speech Paul Ryan asserted that a GM factory in his home town was shut down as a direct result of President Obama’s policies. He neglects to mention that the factory closed while George W. Bush was still in office and, ironically, his running mate encouraged letting the American auto-industry go bankrupt. But we can probably forgive Paul Ryan for that one, he was just off by a year and a presidential administration. Semantics.
Ryan asserted that President Obama has said that private industries and their successes are all thanks to the federal government. His basis for his assertion was the president’s statement that government “Invested in roads and bridges, if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” Ryan just left out the first part so that everyone could hear, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” But we can probably forgive Ryan for that one, it’s a political campaign, he’s got to take his opponent’s words out of context.
But what about Ryan’s assertion that America’s AAA rating drop was because of President Obama? Last year the credit rating of the United States was dropped a level. Paul Ryan said that it was the president’s fault, but Standard & Poor wrote, in detail, why they dropped the credit rating (report). It turns out it had very little to do with Presidential policy, and everything to do with political rhetoric from Paul Ryan’s party about intentionally defaulting on loans.
“Another official with Standard & Poor’s, director Joydeep Mukherji, told POLITICO that the stability of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default.” He didn’t mention who those people were. “That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”” -Politifact.com
Paul Ryan even had FOXNews pundits wagging a finger at him, with Sally Kohn stating:
“to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.”
As a Republican Vice Presidential candidate, the last thing you want is FOXNews looking at you funny. If Mitt and Paul have as much to work with as they claim in regards to attack the President, then they better actually use it instead of making stuff up.
Because the truth has a way of biting you in the back.