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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 02/ 7/2008

John McClinton?

By Michael Dobbs

Even Bill Clinton says, [Hillary] "and John McCain are very close." Don't we need a leader who agrees with conservatives?"
--"Very Close," Web ad for Mitt Romney.


Mitt Romney has a new ad circulating on the web that attempts to demonstrate that there is not much difference politically between John McCain and Hillary Clinton. The sub-text of the ad, available on YouTube, is that Republican voters should stick with the former Massachusetts governor, as "the full spectrum conservative."

The web ad omits a few pertinent areas where McCain and Clinton are poles apart, such as the Iraq war (McCain is ready to stay in Iraq "a hundred years," Clinton wants to start withdrawing troops within 60 days of becoming president) and whether or not to extend the Bush tax cuts (McCain says yes, Clinton says no.) It distorts McCain's positions on other issues as well. Let's look at the charges one by one.

The Facts

Here is the script of "Very Close," as provided by the Romney campaign, complete with factual support here.

Is John McCain really the heart and soul of the Republican Party? Imagine a debate between McCain and Hillary Clinton.
So far, so good.
On amnesty for illegal immigrants, they agree.
It is true that both McCain and Clinton voted in favor of a bill, sponsored by McCain, to grant illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Supporters of the bill have rejected the "amnesty" label, arguing that they are required to pay $5,000 in fines, learn English, and wait in line. During a debate in New Hampshire in January, Romney agreed that the measure was "not technically amnesty" because "it provides for a penalty" for illegal immigrants. He has now reverted to the "amnesty" label.
On voting against President Bush's tax cuts, they agree.
It is true that both McCain and Clinton voted against the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.
On imposing an additional 50 cents a gallon cost on gasoline: they agree.
Romney has distorted the likely economic effects of a proposal, co-sponsored by McCain, to introduce a cap-and-trade system for carbon-based fuels. I dealt with this previously in this post. According to a study by the Energy Information Administration, gas prices could rise by 40 cents a gallon by 2025 under the measure. But other government studies have predicted smaller increases. By switching to fuel-efficient technologies, American families would purchase less gas.
On blocking conservative judges, they agree.
This charge stems from McCain's support for a May 2005 compromise in the Senate that cleared the way for three Bush nominees to the appellate court at the expense of two other conservative judges who the Democrats had been blocking. The compromise was brokered by a so-called "Gang of Fourteen" Republican and Democratic senators to break a months-long stalemate. Republican leaders had threatened to push through a vote on the Senate floor on the nominees over the objections of the Democratic minority. Clinton gave tentative support to the compromise while complaining that it would probably lead to the "confirmation of people who are very extreme." McCain was not part of the Democratic filibuster "blocking conservative judges," as Romney implies.
Even Bill Clinton says, "She and John McCain are very close."
The ad takes Bill Clinton's words completely out of context. The former president did not say that his wife was "very close" to McCain politically. As the full clip makes clear, he was referring to the fact that the two senators "like and respect each other." He was talking about their personal relations, not their political relations.
Don't we need a leader who agrees with conservatives?


The Pinocchio Test


The Romney campaign has used this ad to try to make John McCain look like a closet Democrat. They have omitted issues on which he differs sharply with Hillary Clinton, and distorted the record on other issues.

(About our rating scale.)

By Michael Dobbs  | February 7, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  2 Pinocchios, Ad Watch, Candidate Record  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama's voting record on abortion
Next: Who has the most delegates?

Comments

So, are you saying it is possible that gas prices could rise by 40 cents a gallon by 2025 under the measure, but IMPOSSIBLE they could rise by 50 cents? As for "blocking conservative judges" the Gang of 14 (including McCain) agreed to block at least TWO judges. The ad never says how many judges.

Try again.

Posted by: JakeD | February 7, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney should have at least two Pinocchios attached to ANYTHING he says. Hell, they should be on his business card.

Posted by: bokonon13 | February 7, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Two pinochios?

These claims by Romney are way more than Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Particularly with the blocking of Judges, there are obvious contradictions.

Romney's position that the immigration bill was "not technically amnesty" is a clear contradiction from what he says now.

3 Pinnocio's seems to fit better.

The Bill Clinton claim is also horribly out of proportion. Personnally I haven't seen anything more dishonest, but judging by your criteria, 4 Pinnocio's would not be appropriate (although I think it would be deserved)

Posted by: Paul S | February 7, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Many years we swallow our pride and vote for the lesser of two evila. We try to descern who will represent us most closely to our beliefes. For me, A vote for Hilary Clinton is liking asking to be stabbed in the heart. I know she is going to do it and I can see it coming. A vote for John Mccain is being stabbed in the back. I also know it is going to come but I will never see it coming. I can be a great flip-flopper on issues myself. Especially if I take the time to study an issue. I also am practical, sometimes you just have to take a position that is not exactly what you want but it is the best that is being offred. As I have studied Mitt Romney's record I have become convinced that he has changed his positions on some issues. But not to the degree and as freguently has been out by the press and the Huckabee/McClain campaign committees. If Governor Romney does not obtain the nominations, there is absolutely nothing Senator McCain can say that will convince me that he supports my values. Intergrity is my number one value I look at when voting. I can only hope that if Governor Romney does not obtain the nomination that Senator Obama gains the nomination because I will cross over and vote for him. Otherwise it will be a third party vote for me. If I could build a platform and put who represents all that I detest about the leaders of congress today both Senators McCain and Clinton would be on that platform. It would be a crowded platform but they would be right in the front row.
Thank you for reading

Posted by: kelly | February 7, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

There are those in America who think the war is murder, terrorists should be handled with kid gloves like our own citizens, and yet it's perfectly OK to murder the unborn! Our priorities are fouled up in my humble opinion.

Posted by: JG | February 7, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney is right, and if it comes down to it, Hillary is a more reliable conservative Republican than left leaning McCain.

I can't believe I'm saying this about Hillary, whose real problem is Bill.

I will feel more patriotic staying at home on election day than I would voting for John McCain.

Posted by: Jed Merrill, ConservativeRepublicans.com | February 7, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Do not worry, all indicators (money the least of them) are pointing to an Obama appointment by the Democrats:

Barack vs. Hillary- The Google Effect:
http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=47

Posted by: davidmwe | February 7, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"So, are you saying it is possible that gas prices could rise by 40 cents a gallon by 2025 under the measure, but IMPOSSIBLE they could rise by 50 cents?"

-- Now that the campaign is over... here is some more info on this:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/322/
"The EPA concluded in July 2007 that if the bill passed, it would increase gasoline prices about 26 cents per gallon by 2030; 68 cents per gallon by 2050."
...
"Romney's claims didn't give a time frame, but we bet voters would be surprised to hear that he's talking about 20, 30, maybe even 40 years from now. We rate his statement Barely True."

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