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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/19/2007

True But False

By Michael Dobbs

Obama in an Indonesian 'madrassa'.

"I've watched the blogs try to say that you can't trust [Obama] because he spent a little bit of time in a secular madrassa. I feel quite the opposite."

--Hillary Clinton supporter Bob Kerrey, CNN 'Situation Room', December 17, 2007.

"Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

--Mike Huckabee, New York Times magazine article, December 16, 2007.

Sorting out truth from falsehood is the basic mission of the Fact Checker. But politics is a complicated game, and often times politicians make statements that cannot be pigeonholed so neatly. The above quotes are examples of statements that are both "true" and "false" at the same time. "True" in the sense that they are technically accurate. "False" in the sense that they create a misleading impression that can be as powerful as an outright lie.

Let's analyze each of those two statements.

The Facts

Barack Obama lived in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather between 1967 and 1971. He attended a public school in a middle-class district of the capital, Jakarta. The students wore western clothes and included a mixture of Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists. On the basis of that experience, the conservative Insight magazine ran a story falsely asserting -- to great public fanfare -- that Obama had attended an Islamic "madrassa." The claim was quickly debunked by a CNN reporter who visited the school in question.

"Madrassa" is a word with different connotations in English and Arabic. In English, it is now associated with the Islamic fundamentalist schools that have served as incubators for the al-Qaeda movement. In Arabic and other eastern languages, the word has a neutral, even positive connotation. As this post explains, "dras" means "teach." The first and last syllables in the word mean "place." Literally translated, a "madrassa" is a place where teaching occurs, i.e. a school.

To say that Obama attended a madrassa, using the Arabic meaning, is thus a technically true statement. Bob Kerrey, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney also could be said to have attended madrassas.

What makes the "Obama attended a madrassa" statement false is the politically charged sentiment it evokes in contemporary America, complete with images of bearded fanatics spewing anti-Western hatred. Whether the intent is to attack Obama or to praise him, damage is done.

For the record, Kerrey says he believes that Obama would make a good president (although he has endorsed Clinton). The former Democratic senator from Nebraska told me yesterday that he had not cleared his statements with anyone in the Clinton campaign. He made a similar statement about Obama being educated in a "secular madrassa" back in October in an interview with the Economist.

"I like Obama and don't want to create problems for him," Kerrey said from New York, where he is president of the New School. "But this is a fact of his life. He will have to deal with this if he becomes the Democratic nominee in the general election."

[Photo of Mormon temple]
Mormon temple in Salt Lake City

Moving on to Huckabee's not-so-innocent question about Mormon doctrine, it is also technically true that Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are "spirit brothers." (I was mistaken in a previous post when I labeled this suggestion "false.") But Mormons say that the statement does not reflect "the nuances of our belief."

"We believe that everybody, Jesus and Satan included, are all children of the heavenly Father," said Scott Gordon, president of a Mormon educational group called FAIR. "Satan was cast out, a fallen angel. To say that Satan is the brother of Jesus is like saying that you are the brother of Hitler. We are all part of the same family under God."

According to Gordon, the Mormon belief that Satan (like everybody else) is a younger brother of Jesus is "often used as a smear" by Christian evangelical groups seeking to denigrate Mormonism. "There is nothing wrong with it as a theological statement," he told me. "We are all brothers. But Mormons have become sensitive to it because it has been used to attack our beliefs."

That is certainly how Mitt Romney, the first credible Mormon candidate for president, viewed Huckabee's statement. He sidestepped the doctrinal question, saying that Mormon leaders had already addressed the subject. But he told the NBC Today show that "attacking someone's religion is really going too far. It's just not the American way." Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, later apologized.

The Pinocchio Test

Neither of the above statements fall into my neat Pinocchio/Geppetto rubric. So I am hereby inventing a new category: TRUE BUT FALSE. If you have any ideas or suggestions for an appropriate icon, please let me know. Also join me on-line today at noon for a live chat. You can also submit your comments and questions here in advance. I will attempt to answer as many as I can.

By Michael Dobbs  | December 19, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama, Candidate Record, Candidate Watch, Social Issues, True but False  
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Next: Romney's 'Flip, Flop, Flip'



According to American judicial principles, a half-truth is effectively a lie. That is why every "expert" witness swears to tell the truth, the WHOLE truth and nothing but the truth.

Therefore, 'True But False' is not only an oxymoron, it is also politicially convenient nonsense.

Posted by: DFinFL | December 19, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I would put the word true for this term in quotes.

Also, as an icon, how about an apple with a rotten core? Or two faced figure of some kind?

Posted by: David S | December 19, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I think it is and interesting concept as it does apply to the current political arena. There are things that are truths - ie, the madrassa situation that are mis-defined (is that even a word or phrase?) to lead the unwitting/uninformed public to react a certain way to a otherwise benign fact. So as the statement is true, the reaction is false.

Posted by: Doug B | December 19, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Since a "True but False" statement is a trap, designed to be perfectly straightforward, but to perform an action that it hides, how about a "Bear Trap"

And, since it will inevitably happen, a "False, but True (in spirit)" (where, for example, someone makes a statement like "Hurricane Katrina was caused by Global Warming") should be an area to address, as well. I'm not sure what to use unless you want to have an open oyster shell; Not a pearl, but pretty close.

Posted by: Bill | December 19, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Interesting how Kerrey, WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PRIOR COORDINATION WITH HRC's CAMPAIGN, still manages to exactly parallel Shaheen's comments to the Post. 1. Speaker does not condemn Obama for this. 2. It is just the sort of thing those dirty thugs at GOP might use against the nominee. 3. This is solely my own thinking. 4. I like the guy, just trying to help him out with a little friendly advice.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I think the icon should be a pinched nose, as in "Ew, that stinks."

Posted by: iB | December 19, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Strange how Kerrey's comments on Obama are just like Shaheen's. Fool me once, ...

"But this is a fact of his life. He will have to deal with this if he becomes the Democratic nominee in the general election."

"The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight ... and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use,"

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

it is interesting to see the washington post jump on huckabee, along with the rest of the elite washington establishment.
of course neither romney nor the mormon church wants the whole jesus/satan relationship to be discussed. it outs their religion as the weird cult that it is.
but, putting aside the spin offered by church representatives, there is nothing false about the statement.
is it considered odd by non-mormons?
does it put the religion in a bad light to non-mormons?
would mormons prefer not to have christians know about that aspect of their doctrine?
the answer to all of those questions is yes.
but it does not make it false.
also, it is very revealing that romney goes on meet the press and tells a flat out lie - that he received the nra's endorsement when he ran for governor of massachussets - and you mention not ONE WORD about that flat out lie. instead, you pick on a statement by huckabee which is admittedly true, but inconvenient.
your bias could not be more clear

Posted by: frankie d | December 19, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Kerrey's use of a word from a foreign language ("madrassa"), when an English word with the same universal meaning ("school") more accurately describes the situation is clearly an intent to mislead.

Morman theology, traced to its roots, apparently holds that Jesus and Satan were actual brothers in the sense of their DNA, not just in some "spiritual" sense. Huckabee's reference is therefore accurate and not misleading, although his raising the issue certainly opens him up to closer scrutiny of some of the whackier theological tenants of his own patented and copyrighted brand of "Christianity".

Posted by: Stonecreek | December 19, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but false is false, period. Stop making excuses. We've been through seven years of "true but false," making excuses all along the way. It has not served our country well. Call it like it is: false. Period. If you haven't got the cojones to hand out the Pinocchios, let someone else do it.

Posted by: John | December 19, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I like the idea of a bear trap for the "Technically true but misleading" statement. Another possible icon would be a broken set of scales, where both pans are on the table.

The thing is...

Pretty much ANY true statement is by nature incomplete.

Posted by: Vaxalon | December 19, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The only possible explanation for using the Arabic word for school (madrassa) in the context that it was used was to be pejorative. Why else would the speaker use that word, with its known connotation in English, in a statement in English to an English speaking audience? People select words to impart meaning, and given the audience the intent of this speaker's word selection is absolutely clear; to perpetuate a known falsehood and plant doubt in the minds of those who have not looked into the issue themselves, or are looking for affirmation of the falsehood.

You are much too lenient with former Senator Kerry on his statement. In order to further to political objectives of the candidate he is endorsing he consciously choose to perpetuate a known lie in the hopes that it would resonate with his audience. He lied.

If you doubt this think about how likely it would be that Senator Kerry would have made the following statement in his endorsement of Senator Clinton: "I've watched the blogs try to say that you can't trust [Obama] because he spent a little bit of time in a secular school." Not likely.

Posted by: Dallas | December 19, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

How about using an illustration of a Moebius strip, that topological icon which is a unity, but not a unity. (not being a mathmentician, please forgive any incorrect analysis here).

It is something that appears to be something else-- it only has one side, but it appears to have two. (and does, at any section of it, but not as a whole)

I think it would explain your true, but not true conundrum.

or not.

Posted by: symbol (leaning) | December 19, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I just got a forwarded message in my email all about the "secret" muslim plot by Barack Obama to take over America and turn it into a radical islamic state. These sick and vicious lies are out there circulating amongst the freaks in this country that will use ANY hint of "scandal" to take down a candidate. When the Post runs stupid stories about Obama's supposed "muslim family ties" it adds fuel to the fire. Bob Kerrey is WAY out of line with his remarks and it is sad that people are so stupid and paranoid that someone went to grade school for a few years in a majority muslim country is automatically branded an islamic terrorist. How stupid has this country become?

Posted by: maria | December 19, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

One further note on the linguistic issues surrounding the word "madrassa". Yes it is true that it is the Arabic word for school -- but that is irrelevant because Indonesia is not an Arabic speaking country!

In Indonesian, the word is "Sekolah" -- as far as I know, the word "madrassa" would never routinely be used to describe a public school in Indonesia.

Yes, Indonesia is the world's most populous Islamic country -- but that is not the same as being an Arabic country. Can it really be that Americans have such a limited view of the world, that even after all the events of the last 7 years, we are unable to distinguish between a religion and a language??

Certainly Bob Kerrey should know better -- the man is a university president after all. Offering a highly charged Arabic word to describe a public school in Indonesia is nothing more than reparting ugly right wing talking points.

More to the point, it is patently false. The word "madrassa" has no legitimate use in the context -- this is not a true/false situation -- it is simply FALSE.

Posted by: terje3 | December 19, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

If the intent is to deceive then the statement is false. It may be difficult to discern the intent of someone engaged in a casual conversation but I think we can feel reasonably confident that all political statements serve a not so hidden agenda.

Ther is no need to seek another icon. But if you must, how about the proverbial woodshed where all liars and cheaters receive their just due.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The madrassa smear is intended to exploit Americans' ignorance of the Islam religion and the Muslim culture, in much the same way that Goerge Bush and Dick Cheney falsely conflated Iraq and Saddam Hussein with 9/11 and al Qaeda in order to exploit Americans' anger with Middle Easterners. A madrassa that doesn't preach Wahabi theology and hatred is nothing more than a run of the mill school, and Wahabi theology of the type practiced in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan did not exist in Indonesia at the time Obama was in primary school there thirty years ago.

The press/media should more carefully and thorougly explain these elemental concepts to the public and put a nail in this empty coffin once and for all. On the other hand, perhaps they enjoy confusing the public as it makes the "horse race" more compelling, analogous to their failure to refute the Swift Boat lies against John Kerry until long after the damage had been done.

Posted by: skyeirvin | December 19, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Have you stopped beating your wife yet??

Posted by: JT | December 19, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I cringe whenever I hear my fellow Democrats make such critical comments. But from the literal translation of "madrassa", couldn't one infer the Mr. Kerrey runs a madrassa?

Posted by: Glenn Hoge | December 19, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Based on this article, perhaps you need another category: True, but intentionally misleading.

Posted by: Larry Beckon | December 19, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

how's about "shocked to realize you misunderstood me?"

Posted by: shabbycynic | December 19, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

What not call the true but false comments "Trulies", for true lies!

Posted by: ronald e fox | December 19, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

It is one of the peculiarities of the American contemporary political scene that candidates must establish their "faith" while at the same time should not have to get specific about their beliefs. I would certainly want to know if a candidate had looney beliefs as some obviously do or claim to do. There have been enough nutbars in the White House but pandering to nutbars who believe Jonah was in the whale is almost as frightening

Posted by: R D Reid | December 19, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

This was excellently clarified. Thanks. The idea, however, that experienced pols innocently spout half truths about rivals strains credibility. DFinFL above is 100 % correct. An old Yiddish saying goes, "A half truth is all lie."

Posted by: jhbyer | December 19, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

How about Truthiness? :-)
Seriously though, doesn't Mormonism itself commit this pretense when it presents itself as compatible with historical Christianity?

Mitt's problem is larger than his own beliefs; it is how door-to-door Mormonism knocks Christian beliefs and then claims in public to share all the core values... It is a truthiness issue...

Being Mormon doesn't disqualify Mitt from being president, but I don't know if I'd vote for a Scientologist either.. Not that there is anything wrong with that :-) I just question the mental agility of those who subscribe to comic book philosophies.

Posted by: jefferis peterson | December 19, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"For example is no proof," is another Yiddish saying worth remembering.

Posted by: jhbyer | December 19, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I have great concern about a religion that has the gall to posthumously baptize anyone they please, such as holocaust victims. I too would not make my vote purely contingent on religion but I would like to hear any candidate repudiate the repugnant practices of his/her faith.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

For an icon, how about a wolf's face or head on a sheep's body?

Posted by: jhbyer | December 19, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that Kerry was trying to smear Obama. I don't know his intonation when he said it. If it was written with "secular madrassa" in quotes then I think he might be both criticizing the mistrust of bloggers, and the BLOGGERS use of "madrassa."

Posted by: Erin | December 19, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

40 YEARS later they checked out obama's school and said it wasn't a muslim education? 40YEARS?

geesh, i doubt it was a muslim education, but don't tell me it wasn't because it isn't 40 YEARS later?

Posted by: t.rasc | December 19, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I believe if you look in the Bible, you will find that the angel cast into hell was in the old testament. Therefore, how can Jesus be the older brother?
It is a shame that Kerrey has to lie about Obama. If people would stop looking at color,this would be a better country. Mr. Obama would make a great President because he is for change, and is honesty, has plenty of integrity and cares about all people. The only thing I don't like about him is his stand on the war. I still might vote for him because there is no way I would vote for the LIAR CLINTON. Now she is trying to show a nice side. I don't know how that is possible because she doesn't know what the word means.

Posted by: ed | December 19, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I am simply using the word "madrassa" Bob Kerrey knows that it will have a negative impact. I guess its true what they say about the Clintons..but especially for Hillary....they don't take too kindly to a strong challenge and they will destroy you if it has to come to that.

Posted by: Bostonia | December 19, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

Posted by: JakeD | December 19, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

One of our candidates attends a racist church and has pledged allegiance to the following principles...

Obama would serve us well but should distance himself from the exclusionary practices of Trinity United Church of Christ and it's Black Value System:
1. Commitment to God
2. Commitment to the Black Community
3. Commitment to the Black Family
4. Dedication to Education
5. Dedication to Excellence
6. Adherence to the Black Work Ethic
7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"
9. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the Black Community
10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions
11. Pledge allegiance to all Black leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System
12. Personal commitment to embracement of the Black Value System.

Posted by: Amanda | December 19, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Choosing your facts to fit your agenda makes your arguments just as true but then again false.

Just cause you won't fight to overturn an existing law that allows abortion does not make you pro-choice. Romney has always been against abortion. Don't get confused by the labels.

Can you support the NRA and gun reform? Sure, why not, I own hunting rifles but still would like handguns off our streets!

Lowering taxes gets caught up in statistical interpretation, was it lower per capita, in total, for a given year, at a point in time, for a particular bill passed, does it include tax on gasoline?

I am also in favor of "gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly" in the military. But like Mitt it may not make sense to interfere with the "don't ask, don't tell policy." Must he change everything he doesn't agree with, is there a chance that others are more suitable for some decisions, even military leaders should be trusted with some decisions.....what would the impact be on the troops serving?

When it comes to pardons, I think we should let the judges judge and let the governors govern. We shouldn't have governors judging or judges governing! If you want to be found innocent of past wrongs...TALK TO THE JUDGE!


Posted by: Tim | December 19, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Nominate a "Straw Man" as your icon. These are simply disguised ad hominem attacks.

Posted by: dijoe | December 19, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I love my Mormon belief because it embraces truth and beauty in all things (including science) and highly values education and the arts. "The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth," is something all learn early. Our doctrine is complex and enlightening.

The Mormon belief about Satan is biblical and is found in Isaiah 14: 12-19 and Luke 10: 18. These scripture state that Satan (Lucifer) and Jesus existed in a pre-mortal state, in the same realm, before Satan was cast out.

I admit I am ignorant about Baptists' believe on the origin of Satan. Do they believe that God created him?

Thank you for the great fact checker article.

Posted by: Virgie Day | December 19, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Jesus in part of the trinity. He is God. Satan is a fallen angel. Can you see the difference?

Posted by: palpepper | December 20, 2007 1:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a theologian, but John equates Christ with the word that was there in the beginning with God. So in terms of our understanding of the trinity, Christ is indeed older than Satan.
And this has -- what -- to do with politics or governance?

Posted by: Viejita del oeste | December 20, 2007 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Response to Sen. Bob Kerrey's comments about Sen. Barack Obama on 12/17/07:

I worked for Bob Kerrey and he has been my favorite politician since 1988. I have prayed that he would be elected President ever since then. I am shocked to find that today, with his underhanded smear of Obama, that I will never trust anything he says again. I imagine the Clinton's purchased his subtle smear for a high price. Karl Rove could have written the same comments. I feel like a naive child who just found out his hero is the opposite of a hero. Maybe I should seek counseling at a cult awareness group. I hope there is a limit to the number of Robert Hansen's in the Democratic Party.

Posted by: HumbleTruthSeeker | December 20, 2007 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Neither statement is in anyway false, so "false" should not be included in the new term, which, I believe, is necessary for cases like these. Although true statements, they are constructed to engender negative reactions based on existing misconceptions in the public. This is why I think they should be called "Surface Truths" or maybe even "Sneaky Truths." In some ways they are constructed like myths, intentionally or unintentionally, are constructed; "Mythically True" would be appropriate also.

Posted by: Ludwig | December 20, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

To show that what you see is not what you get, i.e. True But False, I'd like to see Pinnochio wearing a ballroom mask.
Although, as an easily recognized icon, the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' is a terrific suggestion.

Posted by: Dave | December 20, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Five Pinocchios. Half-truths are the worst kind of lies. They are not a different category in need of a different symbol.

Posted by: cosmopolitiician | December 20, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Fact checker, check your facts - wasn't Romney's father the first serious Mormon candidate for president?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 20, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

hey how about the ying/yang symbol or a mask face with two sides on side shaded and the other white maybe one eye open and the other closed or a frown on one and a smile on the other? something like that

Posted by: Eskiegirl302 | December 21, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Legend has it that Pinocchio had a sister named Ipocrita -- "the Elder" that
Geppetto had crafted earlier out of the same block of wood from which Pinocchio was later fashioned. He had put her on a lower shelf and didn't notice the strange transformation until somewhat later, after it was pointed out by the shiftless fish monger Giovanni Pesceco. Ipocrita was attractive at first appearance, but when she was picked up by Pesceco her nose would actually wrinkle and shrink, making her look older and grayer. When Pesceco showed the gifted craftsman Geppetto this strange phenomenon, he shrieked and exclaimed, "Oh no!! It is that she senses something smells fishy here!! Now get out of my shoppe, before everything in it stinks!!"

Geppetto later gave Ipocrita to Pesceco to keep at his fish market to warn him when the fish passed three days old.

Posted by: Silverspoon | December 21, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I understand that some call Kerrey's assertion about how Obama is someone to admire, etc. despite having the name Barack Hussein Obama as a backhanded compliment. I dunno. I think Kerrey is a thoughtful leader of the one-legged veteran pantload quitter segment of society. For that he should be admired.

Posted by: Steve Boyington | December 21, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Why was it acceptable to trash Stevenson and Kennedy for their Catholicism and Lieberman for his Jewishness and now Romney for his Mormonism (which is actually like calling a Roman Catholic a Missilarian) or LDSerness but not to question Huckabee on his Baptist faith? The Baptists have some pretty nasty ideas themselves, such as a sin is only a sin if acted against another Baptist. Fine to lie, cheat and steal from Jews, Catholics or B'hai but you go to H-E-double hockeysticks for doing it to a Baptist. Sneaky questions about Mitt's "Holy Underwear" abound but where are the Enquirer pictures of Mike at his baptism? (Baptists perform full emmersion baptism of adults in small pools while wearing lightweight, white cotton shifts. Talk about a wet t-shirt contest!)

I know of lots of little Jewish and Protestant kids who attended Catholics schools but it doesn't make them closet Papists anymore than attending a Muslim funded day school makes Obama a closet Shia. The name "Obama", on the other hand, kinda ranks up there in the 'sure to inspire confidence' charts with Adolf and Idi. He should be glad to have spent elementary school abroad - The Name Song would have been his own personal theme song at Peoria Elementary.

Meanwhile, back to Truth but Lies or Dare to Tell the Truth or whatever this silliness is: a sin of omission is still a sin.

Posted by: pat | December 21, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Some true and false statements may just be statements to complicated to parse, but the two used here are of the "This Candidate still hasn't stopped beating his wife" format, wherein the attacker gets to put derogatory information into play while denying its validity. The whole purpose is to get negative at the same time you pretend to be getting on the positive side of things.

Some of them fall into the class of conundrums that make up Russel's Paradox, in this case they are only true if you try to show that they are false, but they are false if you try to show that they are true. Perhaps an Escher self transforming ideogram would do. Or a Moebius strip.

Posted by: | December 21, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

"attending a Muslim funded day school makes ..."

Obama school, the Bakusa School- ( Sekulah Bakusa) was not funded by Muslims, up into the early sixties it was funded by the Dutch until a few years before Obama attend it was taken over by the state. Indonesia has a secular-based government. NOT MUSLIM FUNDED.

The FALSE implication being that the school was financed by the Wahabbist Saudis that finance the militant madrassas in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Posted by: Sky Pete | December 22, 2007 5:05 AM | Report abuse

A half truth is far more dangerous than a bold faced lie. We reasonable humans always reflect with doubt as to whether we know for certain it's a lie via the plausibility issue of the half that is true. Often we end up believing it as the truth and often we are hoodwinked. The fact that Obama spent time in a madrassa as a little boy who had utterly no choice in the matter is really reaching for a negative. I had no choice of where I would spend my elementary school years.
I am not a supporter of Obama but come on people...find a real negative issue to debate. The fact that we don't know enough about Obama should be enough incentive to keep digging. If there is nothing there to verify then don't vote for him. Simple.

Personally, I support Joe Biden because he is the more qualified. (There has never been a perfect president or candidate and we will not find one.) Biden has been a senator since before Obama was 12 years old. That certainly speaks to Bidens' qualifications and his tried and true loyalty as an American.

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | December 22, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Biggest Lie of 2007????

That the Washington Post is checking facts for anything more than entertainment purposes.

The Washington Post is still calling torture an "aggressive interogation technique".

The Washington Post has never accounted for the lies they echoed from the administration that led us into Iraq. Instead, they carried the same administration lies about Iran and dropped the story about the president knowingly lying about Iran's nuclear threat.

The Washington Post cited John Edwards becasue he said that "NAFTA had cost millions of American jobs". NAFTA has indeed cost millions of jobs, but the Post counted new jobs created in the hamburger flipping industry against the total and called him a liar!!

The Washington Post constantly quote anonnymous sources who lie for the administration and then deny accountability themselves because "somebody else" said those things!

The winner of the 2007 LIAR of the Year Award goes to the biggest spreader of corporate manure in the world, "The Washington Post".

Posted by: Fishingriver | December 24, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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