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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/24/2007

The Fibs of 2007

By Michael Dobbs


Rudy Giuliani with Margaret Thatcher, September 19, 2007.

One of the five "most famous" Americans?


In the spirit of the holiday season, I am inviting nominations for the "Top Ten Fibs of 2007". There are two categories in the competition: "Presidential Candidates" and "Best of the Rest." Post your nominations in the comments section or use the "Contact the Fact Checker" form. Also feel free to cast a non-binding vote for your favorite fib. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 28. A panel of crack Fact Checkers will select the Top Five Fibs in each category and post them online on Monday, December 31. We will also make a Geppetto truth-telling award in the "Presidential Candidates" category.


To kick the competition off, here are some early nominations (in no particular order):

Presidential Candidates:


  • "I'm probably one of the four or five best known Americans in the world."
  • --Rudy Giuliani, in London, Sept. 19. He mentioned Bill and Hillary Clinton as two other "well known Americans," but was whisked away by security men before he could be asked about Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Bill Gates, George H.W. Bush and a host of others. (Nominated by Fred Shapiro, Editor, The Yale Book of Quotations.)

    ***

  • "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King."
  • --Mitt Romney, "Faith in America" address, Dec. 6. Debunked by the Boston Phoenix. Romney later said he was speaking "figuratively." (Nominated by Stephen Holmes.)

    ***

  • "I don't want to wake up four years from now and discover that we still have more young black men in prison than in college."
  • --Barack Obama, fund-raiser in Harlem, Nov. 29. Challenged by the Fact Checker. It is untrue that young black prisoners outnumber young black students.

    ***

  • ""They don't talk about [the NAFTA superhighway], and they might not admit it, but there's been money spent on it."
  • --Ron Paul, CNN-YouTube Debate, Nov. 28, challenged by the Fact Checker. The NAFTA superhighway is a myth.

    ***

  • New Mexico is "the only state that follows the Kyoto treaty."
  • --Bill Richardson, Stephanie Miller Radio Show, Nov. 7. Challenged by the Fact Checker. New Mexico is a long way from the Kyoto targets.

    ***

  • "My chances of surviving prostate cancer and thank God I was cured of it, in the United States, 82 percent. My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England, only 44 percent under socialized medicine."
  • --Rudy Giuliani, New Hampshire radio advertisement, Oct. 29. Challenged by the Fact Checker. Instead of correcting his mistake, Giuliani repeated it here.

    ***

  • NAFTA ... has cost us millions of jobs."
  • --John Edwards, CNN debate, Nov. 15, challenged by the Fact Checker. According to the Congressional Research Service, NAFTA had "little or no impact" on aggregate employment in the United States.

    ***

  • "Our first president and our first commander in chief prayed every day. [George Washington] had a field manual of prayers."
  • --Duncan Hunter, Fox News Channel, Oct. 31. Challenged by Politifact, which debunked the story about George Washington's personal prayerbook.

    Geppetto "truth-telling" Nominations:


  • "I am not perfect."
  • --Mitt Romney, YouTube/CNN debate, Nov. 28.

    ***

  • "The point was to inhale. That was the point."
  • --Barack Obama, Dec. 13, after the Clinton campaign raised questions about his drug use as a young man.

    ***

  • "I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be."
  • --John Edwards, Democratic Debate, Oct. 30.

    ***

  • "I wasn't there. I am sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time."
  • --John McCain, Republican debate, Orlando, Oct. 21, criticizing Hillary Clinton for earmarking $1 million for a Woodstock museum.

    ***

  • "I am not a perfect candidate."
  • --Rudy Giuliani, campaigning in Michigan, Sept. 20.

    ***

    Best of the Rest:


  • "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. ... In Iran we do not have this phenomenon."
  • --Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Columbia University, Sept. 24.

    ***

  • "If we reported it, it's a fact."
  • --Lou Dobbs of CNN, interviewed by CBS's 60 Minutes, May 6, standing by a false claim that there had been 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the United States between 2002 and 2004, as a result of illegal immigration. His source: "medical expert" Madeleine Cosman.

    ***

  • "I'm a fairly wide guy. I tend to spread my legs when I lower my pants so they won't slide."
  • Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), June 11, telling an undercover police officer in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport why their feet touched in a public bathroom.

    ***

  • "Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers,"
  • --Bill Clinton, Nov. 27, insisting while campaigning with his wife in Iowa that he opposed the Iraq war, a claim at odds with his own statements at the time. (Nominated by Washington Post staff writer Peter Baker.)

    ***

  • "A lengthy occupation was, I believe, the single biggest mistake the United States made in Iraq."
  • --Douglas J. Feith, speech to American Enterprise Institute, Dec. 10, overlooking other bungled decisions on Iraq in which he played a key role as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, including the original decision to invade the country. (Nominated by Washington Post staff writer Thomas E. Ricks.)

    ***

  • "Last question."
  • FEMA press secretary Aaron Walker, winding up a fake press conference on Oct. 23, at which the only questioners present were FEMA staffers. (Nominated by Washington Post staff writer Spencer S. Hsu.)

    ***

  • "The government does not torture people. ... We stick to U.S. law and international obligations."
  • President Bush, Oct. 5, responding to disclosure of a 2005 government memo that authorized simulated drowning, or "waterboarding." The United Nations Convention Against Torture, which came into force in 1985, defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession." (Nominated by Fred Shapiro.)

    By Michael Dobbs  | December 24, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
    Categories:  Barack Obama, Candidate Record, Candidate Watch, Education, Gov Watch, History, Iraq, Social Issues  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Four Pinocchios for Romney on MLK
    Next: Obama vs Clinton on Foreign Policy

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