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Posted at 1:52 PM ET, 10/22/2008

Just a Four-Letter Word?

By Michael Dobbs


McCain "proud" of anti-Obama mailer.

"Barack Obama Thinks Terrorists Just Need a Good Talking To."
--John McCain mailer.

Barack Obama "said [William Ayers] was just a guy in the neighborhood. He wasn't just a guy in the neighborhood. We need to know the full extent of that relationship." --John McCain, Fox News Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008.

Politicians routinely twist each other's quotes. Sometimes, all it takes to construct a false straw man argument is the addition of a single, seemingly inconsequential word to an otherwise accurate quote. Take the common, four-letter, word "just." Surreptitiously inserting the "just" word into a quote can transform a bland statement into a falsehood or a dangerous policy position. The sentence "He is just a guy in my neighborhood" has an altogether different meaning from "He is a guy in my neighborhood."

The Facts

William Ayers is a former leader of the Weather Underground movement that carried out a series of small-scale bomb attacks against government targets, including the U.S. Capitol, in the early '70s to protest the Vietnam War. Now a professor of education in Chicago, he contributed $200 to help reelect Obama to the Illinois state Senate in 2001. The two men also served together on a couple of charitable boards.

Obama was questioned about his relationship with Ayers in a Democratic primary debate in Philadelphia back in April. He described Ayers as "a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis." He made the point that he was "8 years old" at the time that Ayers committed his "detestable acts" while acknowledging that they had served together on the board of an education fund.

In other words, Obama conceded that he had a casual relationship with Ayers, a truthful statement. Had he said what McCain says he said -- "He's just a guy in the neighborhood" -- and left it at that, that would have been an untruthful statement.

The McCain mailer attacking Obama for allegedly favoring dialogue with "terrorists" also takes liberties with the "just" word. The claim rests on an exchange in another Democratic primary debate, in July 2007, in which Obama was asked whether he would be "willing to meet, without precondition, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea." He replied with the one word answer, "Yes." He has tried to walk back that answer ever since, insisting that careful preparations are necessary for such meetings.

It is reasonable enough for the McCain campaign to attack Obama for expressing a willingness to meet with the leaders of countries that have been accused of encouraging terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies. But it is a complete distortion to claim, as the McCain mailer does, that Obama thinks that "terrorists just need a good talking to." The addition of the word "just" has the effect of reducing Obama's policy toward the leaders of rogue states with merely talking with them, which is obviously not the case.

Note also the use of the "terrorist" label to describe the leaders of countries that the United States doesn't like. Although there might be some overlap, the two categories are not exactly the same. Obama never said that he was in favor of talking to "terrorists."

The Pinocchio Test

Beware apparently innocuous words that alter the meaning of a rival politician's quote. If you can think of other examples, from either the McCain or Obama campaigns, please send them along. In the meantime, three Pinocchios for the master of the "Straight Talk Express."

(About our rating scale).

By Michael Dobbs  | October 22, 2008; 1:52 PM ET
Categories:  3 Pinocchios, Barack Obama, Candidate Record, Candidate Watch  
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Next: McCain, Obama, Biden, and JFK

Comments

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: Jennifer | October 22, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if you have done your homework. The Conservative party (Republican) have a history of bullying
and they have done a wonderful job smearing their Democrate opponent just as when Bush was running. Who in the hell cares about Kerry's miliary carrer.
And if you read about McCain you would know that Daddy got him in the airforce (NAMY) and he wreacked 3 planes while he was training because he would stall them in mid flith and is probably why he was shot down in vietnam. While he was a prisoner he went on Vietnam TV and confessed. I don't hold that against him for becoming president. But like you said, lets get the story straight.


The American People are tired of it.
He doesn't have a clear plan. All he can do is talk about Obama and Joe the Plumber You probably aren't going to read this. But I feel better.

Posted by: Barbara French | October 22, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

But what is Ayres philosophy on education? Did they discuss this? Obama had to know about his past and his awful remarks after 9/11. This is why so many question Obama's judgement in who he associates with.

Posted by: concerned08 | October 22, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Go McCain/Palin!

Posted by: DCMOM | October 22, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

But what is Ayres philosophy on education? Did they discuss this? Obama had to know about his past and his awful remarks after 9/11. This is why so many question Obama's judgement in who he associates with.

Posted by: concerned08 | October 22, 2008 2:48 PM

Oh grow up. It was a non profit organization to benefit poor children. Good grief! You McSamers act like Obama and Ayers were the only two people at the meeting.
Here is Obama trying to help poor children while McSame is out buying $600 shoes, or flying his private plane to one of the 7 homes bought by his heiress wife, (the one he married after dumping his first wife and mother to his children), and all you can think about is Obama's relationship with someone who did something when Obama was 8 years old! You people are really unbelievable. You are all so desparate to get a Mcnut and Hockeymom-pitbull-vice nut in the whitehouse that you can't even think straight. It's embarressing!

Oh and by the way Obama '08!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

How can we believe Fact-check when it is known to be tainted?

Posted by: van Jacobi | October 22, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The Ayers talk is just a "safe" way for the McCain campaign to get the terrorist-Muslim implication into the minds of people who so want to believe it. The word "just" isn't just the problem. The problem is Senator McCain and his clan have shown themselves to severely lacking in judgment, character, and even honor. He is without question a liar and a hate-monger.

Oh, and by the way, when Mr. Ayers said he "wished he had done more," he specifically stated this was in reference to ending the Vietname war, not in planting bombs. Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD | October 22, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Democrats for Obama/Biden 08

Posted by: Pam | October 22, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

But what is Ayres philosophy on education? Did they discuss this? Obama had to know about his past and his awful remarks after 9/11.
__________________________________________
So did the students in his class, his university colleagues, his board colleagues-both democratic and republican. So are you saying they are all tied to a terrorist and should have gotten up from the table and walked away.

Posted by: Elenore | October 22, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Elenore:

Very good points. And should have Senator McCain turned down the endorsement of the Honorable Leonore Annenburg, who funded the education projects in question? Likewise, should have himself participated in a similar education reform program funded by the Annenburg Foundation, well after that Foundation funded Mr. Ayers? Maybe Senator McCain should call the Foundation and ask them to take his name off their Web site if he is so indignant about those who associate with Mr. Ayers.

Hypocrisy seems too mild of a charge for Senator McCain and his campaign. Incitement and race-baiting are more like it.

Posted by: JakeD | October 22, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd type this, but:

What JakeD said.

Posted by: zukermand | October 22, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

What a crock of crap about one word -- just. No wonder things are so off-course. Biden or Obama could yell BOMB in an airport, and it wouldn't ever make the news, not unless Fox News heard about it. The hypocracy of the media is chilling.

Posted by: IA faithful | October 22, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Fact checking the fact checker Obama wh-ores at WaPo.

Actually, Obama has developed a more complete answer over time. But his first response was that he was just a guy from his neighborhood. The response WaPo showed was a more developed response after people started to point out that Obama was not exactly truthful.

Since then, also not told to us by Obama or the Obama wh-ores at WaPo is that Obama served on two different boards with Ayers, that Obama got his political start in Ayers living room, that Ayers is the guy that recruited Obama from NYC to come to Chicago, that Ayers and Obama worked in the same office building on the same floor for at least three years and that Ayers is the guy that actually wrote Dreams From My Father for Obama since Obama could not write worth crap and his original writing was rejected by the publishers for being too amateurish.

Also not researched or reported by the Washington Post Obama wh-ores is a comparison of socialist oriented beliefs between Ayers and Obama, with similar beliefs on education, drug crime punishment, not using scores to measure students, having teenagers never tried as adults, the re-distribution of wealth, the Ayers Obama connections to Jeremiah Wright and the Ayers-0bama connection to ACORN.

Hell, there are books of connections between Obama and Ayers and all the Obama wh-ores at Washington Post have been able to print on the subject is to repeat the lame shallow response from Obama.

The Obama Wh-ore fact-checkers at WaPo get 10 pinocchios out of 5 for them obviously being so deep in the tank for Obama that they have become self-deluded and dont know up from down.

Posted by: KMichaels | October 22, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

……………… MCCAIN …………. OBAMA
Income ……. Avg tax bill ……. Avg. tax bill
Over $2.9M …. -$269,364 (-4.4%)… +$701,885 (+11.5%)
$603K and up…. -$45,361 (-3.4%)… +$115,974 (+8.7%)
$227K-$603K…… -$7,871 (-3.1%)…….. +$12 (+0.0%)
$161K-$227K…… -$4,380 (-3.0%)….. -$2,789 (-1.9%)
$112K-$161K…… -$2,614 (-2.5%)….. -$2,204 (-2.1%)
$66K-$112K …… -$1,009 (-1.4%)….. -$1,290 (-1.8%)
$38K-$66K …….. -$319 (-0.7%)….. -$1,042 (-2.4%)
$19K-$38K …….. -$113 (-0.5%)……. -$892 (-3.6%)
Under $19K ……… -$19 (-0.2%)……. -$567 (-5.5%)

Posted by: radical_moderate | October 22, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I am a life long Republican who has never voted for a Democrat. John McCain is not a likeable person so he started off in the minus side with me. I don't like how he treated the MIA/POW wives and families. He was instrumental in getting the investigations closed, leaving the POW's in Viet Nam to their fate. That made his hole with me deeper. He lies and says he doesn't which is another lie. He left his wife, who has stuck by and waited for him, for a rich tart. The selection of the dumb broad, Sarah Palin, dug the hole so deep the bottom can't be seen. I sent a contribution to Obama and yesterday I voted for him.

Posted by: Jimmie | October 22, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

The American People are tired of this bull .Im Amercan when will they ask me what I think?
I dont want to listen to the news anymore . Today was the best Osama Bin Laden and his people said they want McCain to win. This is what they said . Do you really think they want him to win. No No .They know stupid people will belive this and not vote for him . People we are about to give up everything if we pick Obama .

Posted by: Jimmy | October 22, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Jimmy,

I couldn't disagree with you more. If we pick McCain, we will be digging ourselves so much further in the hole that it will be impossible to get out. McCain has no plan - haven't you noticed that every day he attacks some other statement Obama or Biden has made? That's why so many members of the GOP have endorsed Obama.

A McCain win would be a victory for the gutter, slamming politics we have seen fro him and from Palin, the politics of guilt by association, of disrespect, and a victory of ignorance.

Why do Republicans believe in conspiracy theories? Why can't something be just as it appears? You wrote:

"Today was the best Osama Bin Laden and his people said they want McCain to win. This is what they said . Do you really think they want him to win. No No .They know stupid people will belive this and not vote for him ."

What utter nonsense. Obviously, terrorists think that a McCain presidency would "be good for business" so to speak, because he will be willing to bankrupt the country to get even with Bin Laden. This is what the terrorists want. This is not rocket science.

Put on your thinking cap. Jimmy.

Posted by: CHANGE | October 22, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

REPUBLICANS FOR OBAMA-BIDEN!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Regards your entire web site.....


(Don't have enough Pinochios to list for you...

Posted by: Jack Dillon | October 22, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

What a ridiculous distinction without any difference this so-called "Fact-Checker" is saying here, WHAT A WASTE OF TIME & PRINT,..all in order to once again PASTE McCain while never laying any glove on Obama (or to further investigate his very SMELLY radical relationships!). WHERE were any media trucks as never ONCE parked outside Ayers house in Obama's neighborhood? Meanwhile, these media satellite trucks were instantly outside poor "Joe The Plumber's" house, and in order to very unfairly/dishonestly PASTE that pro-McCain working guy.

The main-stream MEDIA is now utterly CORRUPT, and quite dangerous to our national interests in its now blatantly biased propaganda role as the so-called "5th Estate" during this election...NOW by being contracted into much smaller corporate conglomerates, owned by a few,.. which outlets are thoroughly liberal & lefty due to their newsy staff! Eighty percent of ALL journalists/editors vote Democratic Party line, according to all surveys. Now, even Howie Kurtz at Washington Post is admitting the very severe BIAS against John McCAin in media reporting generally during this election, see:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/22/study_coverage_of_mccain_much.html

Watch out America!

Posted by: stsquires | October 22, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Those people who insist on thinking that everyone who has a bad thing to say about McCain and Palin are lieing need to get real. The media has been NICE, VERY, VERY, VERY NICE to those to... people. An man who dumped his disfigured wife the moment he got back from Nam, a woman who waited for him for 5 years... and in is book he admits it was an act of selfishness. Palin.... oh goddess where do I even start... conections to the AIP, book banning, fireing people for personal reasons, useing state money to take her kids all across the country, praising Pastor Thomas Muthee and giving him credit for helping to make her Govener... a sick twisted man who's claim to fame is chasing an old woman (he called her a witch) from her home with over 200 people....

Give it up.... The news has been down right nice to those two warped, lying sleezy bags!

Posted by: GirlfromAlaska | October 22, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama said he would meet with leaders of countries like Iran, which are states that sponsor terror.....that their leaders condone or initiate.

That makes the leader a *terrorist*, and means that Obama wants to talk to terrorists. It's no stretch to say so, not worthy of a single pinocchio.

Dobbs blew this point, which is a shame because his columns can be great when he keeps his bias under control.

Posted by: The Angry One | October 22, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Its understandable how economic policies have become the forefront of qualifications for this presidency. Whats disapointing is how people still haven't been asking themselves, where is obama going to get the money for all those checks he's going to cut. But hey!... why should we complain right? , don't look a gifted horse in the mouth. 95% percent of the country will recieve a tax "cut"? Doesn't seem to add up to me, not with the programs he's proposing. People do the math.

Posted by: John Gault | October 22, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama was a guy who shared an office with Ayres for three years. Ayres was more than just a guy who lived up the street. It seems odd that Obama said his young children went to school with Ayres children who are 10 years older than Obama's. And now Obama reveals he lied about visiting his dying mother. What kind of man is he?

Posted by: Sigmond | October 22, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

"An man who dumped his disfigured wife the moment he got back from Nam"

Get your facts straight before making such a statement. MCcain and his first wife divorced 8 YEARS after he returned from Vietnam. They also are still friends today. Why do you feel the need to make such ridiculous comments?

Posted by: Sigmond | October 22, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

In reference to the post from Barbara French. How dare you even question McCain's service! I served 4 years in the Air Force during the Vietnam era . . all state side.My husband spent 32 months in Southeast Asia. Even if I dont agree with Senator McCain all the time, when it comes to his time in the Hanoi Hilton, no one has a right to second guess his motives on his statements. How dare you! Try having your legs and arms twisted out ot the sockets and see how long you last befor you are ready to say what ever your captors want! You are a liberal idiot who will swallow the daily dose of crap from the socialists. I dread to think of what is going to happen to this great country of ours if Obama wins this election! He scars the hell out of me! I plan on purchasing a Glock befor he imposes gun control on us! Stopping the purchase is one thing, Taking them away from people who already have them is another! Desperate people do desperate things and I intend to be prepared to protect myself and my family! Things are gonna get real ugly real soon if he is elected!

Posted by: Marie in Phoenix AZ | October 22, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

The very first statement in this piece needs to be "fact-checked."

"William Ayers is a former leader of the Weather Underground movement that carried out a series of small-scale bomb attacks against government targets, including the U.S. Capitol, in the early '70s to protest the Vietnam War."

This statement is FAR MORE MISLEADING than what you claim McCain has done by adding the word "just" to Barack Obama's statement that Bill Ayers is a guy who lives in the neighborhood. This statement makes the Weather Underground look like a small and ineffective fringe group that only protested the Vietnam War. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A. The Weather Underground carried out well over TWO DOZEN bombings. Some of them killed people. The bomb that blew up and killed Bill Ayers' girlfriend was meant to kill and maim large numbers of people at an Army dance at Fort Dix.

B. Fewer than half of the bombings had anything to do with the Vietnam War. They also bombed police stations and U.S. courthouses. They firebombed the home of a judge.

C. The Weather Underground was NOT a Vietnam protest group. It was a revolutionary group dedicated to the overthrow of the U.S. government, the end of "imperialism" and institution of a socialist dictatorship of the proletariat. They proudly called themselves Communists. Their manifesto "Prairie Fire" was written primarily by Bill Ayers and his eventual wife, Bernardine Dohrn. It says almost nothing about the Vietnam War. You can read about it at http://www.zombetime.com.

I give this post Four Pinocchios for an almost complete whitewash of Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground.

Try getting your own facts straight before "fact checking" John McCain!

Posted by: Tired of the BS | October 22, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Bill Ayers was just doing scout projects to earn his badges if you read the "Fact Check" Being against the Vietnam War that was started and run by the Democrats in the 60's seems to provide Ayers with a get out of jail card. Getting a balance report from the Post or the New York Times is like expecting to find a virgin in a house of ill repute. He's black, we know. But I guess when one tries to judge a man by the content of his character (his associations/past political ties/two books/campaign comments legislative voting record)we get the color of his skin/race card thrown in our face. Did anyone read a follow up to the story of the someone at a McCain Rally yelling "kill him" here recently? Seems that after an extensive investigation by the secret service, interviewing over 20 people, the only person who heard the statement was the reporter who wrote the article. Fact check? Oh yea I forgot where I was. The paper of Woodward and Berstein has passed the torch to a newer version of Randolph Hearst. Don't report the news TELL the people you think is news.

Posted by: Estaban1960 | October 23, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

McCain has more recently started eliminating 1 important word from an Obama quote. He says Obama will give tax breaks to "95% of Americans" and that the math doesn't work because 40% of Americans don't pay taxes. What Obama actually states is that "95% of WORKING Americans will get tax breaks." It would be nice if McCain could get his facts straight, but that wouldn't support his misleading scare tactics. My huband and I used to have a high level respect for McCain; what a difference a smear campaign and a crappy VP pick can make. Obama has done a great job of staying above all this. See you all in January!!

Posted by: HMiller | October 23, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

MIKE KLONSKY >COMMUNIST
WILLIAM AYERS > Self-confessed Anarchist and Marxist in 2002

Small School Workshop + both klonsky and Ayers worked there. Same address a Annenberg below for 3 years.

Mr. Barack Obama - Chair
Chicago Annenberg Challenge
115 S. Sangomon St., 3rd floor
Chicago, IL 60607-2615
This is the building.
http://www.verumserum.com/media/2008/10/115-sangamon.jpg

Notice the Letters spelling out HOPE int the windows.
Is this where Ayers wrote Obama's Book.


CONNECT THE DOTS PEOPLE......

Posted by: Texas Tea Party | October 23, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

This ARTICLE needs 20 Pinocchios

OBAMA is a LIAR
or
OBAMA is just a LIAR


OBAMA is a LIAR
or
OBAMA is just a LIAR


OBAMA is a LIAR
or
OBAMA is just a LIAR

- Sounds pretty much the same to me.... TRUE.


OBAMA is NOT surrounded by commuinsts who have spoken in Commuinst China in the 70's ( Mike Klonsky), then becomes and educator, then was main blogger on OBAMA's Website.

MIke KLONSKY partnered with William Ayers to found "Small School Workshop" in the same building, same floor as the Annenberg Challenge that OBAMA was the Chairman of.


http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OTQzMDIxZjlmMTM5N2ZhNzlmY2IyZDYxMWQ5NjQ2NDM=&w=MQ==


WAPO kows this and do the rest of the MSM and they are HIDING it from the PUBLIC.... DEMAND HONESTY......

They are RIGGING an ELECTION.

Posted by: Texas Tea Party | October 23, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/081017light.html

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
By Orson Scott Card

"If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city."


DEMAND AN INVESTIGATION

Posted by: Texas Tea Party | October 23, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE ITSELF IS A LIE. Ayers is not just a "former" terrorist. He remains a rabid self-identified commie who thinks government-run schools should be political indoctrination centers. He has been praised and feted by Hugo Chavez. AND HE WORKED CLOSELY WITH OBAMA to squander tens of millions of dollars intended for education reform but that, in true Chicago fashion, was shoveled out with nothing to show.

The suggestion that the word "just" somehow changes the meaning of Obama's quote is absurd. Obama lies and covers up his relationship with Ayers because he knows he would lose votes if he told the truth. He deliberately and falsely minimizes that relationship. Just a guy in the neighborhood.

I can't put it better than this:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/2293196/pinch-yourself.thtml

You have to pinch yourself – a Marxisant radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshipped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is on the verge of becoming President of the United States. And apparently it’s considered impolite to say so.

Posted by: zjr78xva | October 23, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Obama hates white people

Posted by: JakeD | October 23, 2008 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Nice fact check...not. PLEASE exercise some intellectual honesty! If you look at Obama's original statements about Ayers. In light of what is now widely reported in the media, he obviously minimized his relationship with Ayers. "Look, he's a guy in my neighborhood." Factually correct but the vast amount of missing information causes it to be deceptive. Obama get's pinnochios for that. Then McCain contrasts what we currently know with what Obama first stated. I think the word "just" helps to clarify the point. Here is an example for you to help your understanding. Candidate Fred is asked if he has ever stolen anything. Frred says, "Look, when I was 7 years old, I once stole a candy bar from a convenience store." Later in the campaign, it becomes widely known that candidate Fred is actually a thrice convicted burglar. His opponent, candidate Jane, then calls attention to this saying, "My opponent, Fred, claims 'I just stole a candybar when I was 7 years old.' But now we know better. Fred hasn't been honest with us. I wonder what else he is hiding." Is Jane lying? I would say that she is clearly summarizing the truth of the situation. Any clear thinking person would come to the same conclusion. In fact if anyone claimed Jane was lying, they would in fact be the liar. What a shame if it were a news reporter. Instead of calling attention to the real deception in Fred's original statement they would be falsely accusing Jane of lying. What a crappy hypothetical world to live in; where those who are supposed to report the truth in an unbiased fashion, instead help propagate a lie. It's a good thing WE don't live in a world like that... oh wait, we do!

Posted by: Daddio | October 23, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding? Either the "Fact Checker" reporter of this piece is willfully distorting the truth (creating his/her own narrative, perhaps?), or the author is irreperably stupid and doesn't understand that rhetoric does not constitute just the written words on a page, but the tone, the cadence, and the appeal to emotion by which statements/arguments are made. Any casual listener of Obama's statement will immediately recognize that the way Obama's statement originally sounded (doubtless, too, the way he intended it to be heard) was something very much along the lines of "just a guy..." He was discounting his association. Period.

Let's look briefly at the association(s):

1) Ayers attended Bank Stret College, just across from Columbia at the same time Barack Obama was at Columbia. Obama refuses to make public his Columbia records (nor will he release his Occidental records). Did they know each other? we can't know without seeing his course selection at Columbia. Apparently he studied with Edward Said (an anti-Israel, anti-American Professor at Columbia), who was also friends with another Ayers/Obama co-acquaintance, one Rashid Khalidi, now the Caired E. Said Prof of Mid east Studies at -- you guessed it! -- Columbia. Ayers helped Khalidi write a book, while they lived in Chicago (same neighborhood);

2) The famous appointment of Obama to the CAC (details of this are mostly absent only in mainstream media stories, but for a careful study google Stanley Kurtz and Obama and Ayers);

3) Obama blurbed Ayers' book. wait... that's worth repeating -- HE BLURBED AYERS' BOOK! That should be enough, buut wait... there's more, still:

4) William Ayers may have even ghost written the Big "O's" first book, Dreams of my Father. Google Jack Cashill (a Prof of American Studies at Purdue Univ.). There's more, as some of you are aware, but I've gott'a run. Work calls.

All this, and not a word in the mainstream about any of it. Yet we're told Palin's daughter is prego? You journalists are shameful. Really, you're disgusting people, and I just won't even be seen with any of you any more.

Posted by: Thrasybulos | October 23, 2008 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Since when is paraphrasing a quote considered "twisting" it? Michael Dobbs, you could have saved yourself a whole lot of verbiage by simply penning "I love Barack Obama and John McCain sucks." Not only is this clearer and more succinct than what you wrote, it essentially says the same thing.

By the way, I have been recommending the following procedure to journalists:

(1) Take a large bottle of Tabasco Sauce and apply a liberal coat of Vaseline to the bottle.
(2) Remove the cap from the bottle and insert the bottle fully into your anus.
(3) Ride a pogo stick vigorously for at least 10 minutes.

This simple procedure will clear your mind, allowing you to better reason with what passes for a brain on a journalist.

Posted by: marvl | October 23, 2008 3:21 AM | Report abuse

just the fact that the "fact checker" used the phrase "small-scale bombings" proves that the "fact checker" is more interested in creating distortions than determining the truth. bombings are bombings, particularly when some of them are FATAL. so then, what compelled the "fact checker" to try to charaterize the bombings as "small scale"? how are the bombings small? people died from some of those bombs. i'll bet the bombs didn't seem small to the dead people. absolutely pathetic.

Posted by: tim | October 23, 2008 3:31 AM | Report abuse

Wow, looks like the republican operatives have their people working the blogs. But most of what has been written here (the last 10 entries or so) is utterly false. Where do you people get this stuff? Estaban? Texas Tea party? Is this like the robocalls?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 23, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Well how about these FACTS.

From the article:

"Note also the use of the "terrorist" label to describe the leaders of countries that the United States doesn't like. Although there might be some overlap, the two categories are not exactly the same. Obama never said that he was in favor of talking to "terrorists.""

The last time I heard about this Hamas was one of the *Leaders* Obama was willing to talk with without precondition. You remember Hamas, don't you? The terrorist organization that won power in the Palestinian election. I think the writer of this article could do some fact checking before opening his big ink well.

Also interesting to point out is Hamas, Hizbulla, AlQueda, Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and the Taliban have directly, or indirectly in the case of AlQueda, endorsed Obama.

And the writer of this article is "just" more worried about four letter words. Probably because it didn't have a vulgar connotation to go with it like so many lefties favor.

Posted by: John Campbell | October 23, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey - Mr. "Fact" checker - did you forget to mention that Mr. Obama launched his political career (i.e. - 1st announced his political campaign for state senate) at a party at Mr. Ayers home. Also, they didn't "just" serve on a board together, Ayers hand-picked Obama to dole out the 50 million bucks he received from Annenberg foundation. Obama also blurbed Ayers book.

You state "In other words, Obama conceded that he had a casual relationship with Ayers, a truthful statement. " Are so partisan and blind, that you actually think a Obama's statement was "truthful" , that their relationship is "casual" and that John McCain's insertion of the word "just" is the only dishonest part of this? Do you really think that word is what makes the sentence so much different? Do you really think that Obama was being deliberately open and honest with the American public? I have trouble believing that, sir.

Posted by: leej34 | October 23, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I found a typo in the WashingtonPost today. Now shut down your newspaper.

Wipe your mouths...your Obama drool is showing.

Posted by: painintheass97 | October 23, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

McCain is spinning untruths like a whirling dervish.

Posted by: JaneB08 | October 23, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

During the last debate, McCain made an off-hand and rather disparaging remark about Canada and our health care system. Am I to assume from this that he is NOT in favour of universal, high quality health care for everyone - from Joe the Plumber to Millie the Millionairess. Has McCain ever BEEN to Canada and investigated our superb health care system? All people are entitled to accessible health care . We've got it right up here. Go Obama!!

Posted by: HeatherinVancouver | October 23, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

These anti-Obama comments are symptoms of truly deranged paranoid, conspiracy theorists. You folks really need serious psychiartric care. Get some help before you hurt someone or yourselves. You sad creatures have created, with the help of your Gods like Limbaugh and Hannity, your own artifical reality and only feel safe being able to live in a world where you can literally create you own facts and your own version of the truth. By every rational measure, Obama is a far better person than any of you and certainly has more integrity, intelligence, and stability than the pathetically unhinged
McCain. odug

Posted by: odug | October 23, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Let's get something clear here about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), the charitable foundation, on the board of which, Barack Obama and William Ayers served jointly. It was indeed funded by the media magnate Walter Annenberg, who was in fact an ambassador under Nixon and Regan, and was a paradigmatic Regan conservative. There were other Republicans serving on the board as well. That said, the CAC was highjacked by Leftist leaders (v.z. William Ayers) and abused the trust of Annenberg's generosity. The Republicans who served had far, far, far less influence than both Obama and Ayers, both of whom were key policy makers for the 5 million dollar endowment. They squandered the money on frivolous identity politics such as Afro-centric school curriculum, diverting moneys away from useful areas where the dollars might have been well spent. The result was NO IMPROVEMENT whatsoever in the educations of the children the money intended to help. Walter Annenberg was in his late 80s when the CAC was created in 1995, and he died at age 94 in 2002 less than a year after the CAC came to an ignominious end. Obama and Ayers sought to "reform" education in a manifestly Leftist/socialist/ethnocentric mode -- at the expense of the poor children they pretended to help. Many -- though not all -- of the Republicans on the board (who can account for every kind of opportunistic political creature Republicans and Democrats alike?), and Walter Annenberg especially, would have been appalled at the result of the CAC.

The Question we have to ask about this is how, Barack Obama, having never previously held any serious position, was appointed Chairman of an education reform board, on which two University Presidents also served?

Obama Blurbed Ayers' book. Think about that for a moment! -- he BLURBRED AYERS' BOOK! I want to shout this from the highest mountain:

BARACK OBAMA (the Left's Messiah) BLURBRED AYERS' BOOK!

The CAC connection is but one of many links (and this by no means exhausts the long list) between Obama and Bill Ayers. And to point out that Annenberg was a Republican is to skirt the issue at best. And at bottom, it is merely a ploy to deceive the electorate. Obama is lying his way into the White House, and journalists are turning a blind eye; or worse, they're complicit in the deception.


Posted by: Thrasybulos | October 23, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Let's get something clear here about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), the charitable foundation, on the board of which, Barack Obama and William Ayers served jointly. It was indeed funded by the media magnate Walter Annenberg, who was in fact an ambassador under Nixon and Regan, and was a paradigmatic Regan conservative. There were other Republicans serving on the board as well. That said, the CAC was highjacked by Leftist leaders (v.z. William Ayers) and abused the trust of Annenberg's generosity. The Republicans who served had far, far, far less influence than both Obama and Ayers, both of whom were key policy makers for the 5 million dollar endowment. They squandered the money on frivolous identity politics such as Afro-centric school curriculum, diverting moneys away from useful areas where the dollars might have been well spent. The result was NO IMPROVEMENT whatsoever in the educations of the children the money intended to help. Walter Annenberg was in his late 80s when the CAC was created in 1995, and he died at age 94 in 2002 less than a year after the CAC came to an ignominious end. Obama and Ayers sought to "reform" education in a manifestly Leftist/socialist/ethnocentric mode -- at the expense of the poor children they pretended to help. Many -- though not all -- of the Republicans on the board (who can account for every kind of opportunistic political creature Republicans and Democrats alike?), and Walter Annenberg especially, would have been appalled at the result of the CAC.

The Question we have to ask about this is how, Barack Obama, having never previously held any serious position, was appointed Chairman of an education reform board, on which two University Presidents also served?

Obama Blurbed Ayers' book. Think about that for a moment! -- he BLURBRED AYERS' BOOK! I want to shout this from the highest mountain:

BARACK OBAMA (the Left's Messiah) BLURBRED AYERS' BOOK!

The CAC connection is but one of many links (and this by no means exhausts the long list) between Obama and Bill Ayers. And to point out that Annenberg was a Republican is to skirt the issue at best. And at bottom, it is merely a ploy to deceive the electorate. Obama is lying his way into the White House, and journalists are turning a blind eye; or worse, they're complicit in the deception.

Posted by: Thrasybulos | October 23, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

HeatherinVancouver ,

Somehow, I doubt you're Canadian. Everyone -- every single one of my Canadian friends, some of whom live in BC --I know who travels between Canada and the US for treatment find themselves coming across the border to the US side for serious treatment. I guess if you've never needed health care in any serious way, you wouldn't know good services if you saw 'em. I can think of NOT A SINGLE AMERICAN going up to Canada for treatment. The proof of the pudd'n is always in the eat'n, is it not?

Posted by: Thrasybulos | October 23, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

HeatherinVancouver ,

Somehow, I doubt you're Canadian. Everyone -- every single one of my Canadian friends, some of whom live in BC --I know who travels between Canada and the US for treatment find themselves coming across the border to the US side for serious treatment. I guess if you've never needed health care in any serious way, you wouldn't know good services if you saw 'em. I can think of NOT A SINGLE AMERICAN going up to Canada for treatment. The proof of the pudd'n is always in the eat'n, is it not?

Posted by: Thrasybulos | October 23, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Michael Dobbs gets four Pinos for this whopper.

"Something touched me deep inside, the day journalism died..." (with apologies to Don McLean)

Posted by: GEAH | October 24, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Here's one of the most hilariously hair-splitting "fact checks" we've seen so far this campaign...
If you look at McCain's statement closely, it's not even clear that he was quoting Obama when he said "just." He was speaking rather than writing, so we have to punctuate the sentence for ourselves, but one plausible punctuation is: "[Obama] said [Ayers] was just 'a guy in the neighborhood.' "

Clearly McCain's point of contention is not whether Obama used the word "just" but whether there was more to his relationship with Ayers than he claimed. The Post seems to believe that there was not, but solely on the basis of Obama's say-so. That's not fact-checking, it's campaigning for Obama.

From "Best of the Web Today" by James Taranto October 24, 2008

Posted by: lure1 | October 24, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Fact-Check Follies

"Clearly McCain's point of contention is not whether Obama used the word "just" but whether there was more to his relationship with Ayers than he claimed. The Post seems to believe that there was not, but solely on the basis of Obama's say-so. That's not fact-checking, it's campaigning for Obama.

Here's one of the most hilariously hair-splitting "fact checks" we've seen so far this campaign. The Washington Post gives John McCain three "Pinocchios" for something he said on "Fox News Sunday":

"[Barack Obama] said [William Ayers] was just a guy in the neighborhood. He wasn't just a guy in the neighborhood. We need to know the full extent of that relationship."
Wait, didn't Obama say that about Ayers? Not quite. According to the Post, he did not say "just":

Obama was questioned about his relationship with Ayers in a Democratic primary debate in Philadelphia back in April. He described Ayers as "a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis." He made the point that he was "8 years old" at the time that Ayers committed his "detestable acts" while acknowledging that they had served together on the board of an education fund.
In other words, Obama conceded that he had a casual relationship with Ayers, a truthful statement. Had he said what McCain says he said--"He's just a guy in the neighborhood"--and left it at that, that would have been an untruthful statement.

If you look at McCain's statement closely, it's not even clear that he was quoting Obama when he said "just." He was speaking rather than writing, so we have to punctuate the sentence for ourselves, but one plausible punctuation is: "[Obama] said [Ayers] was just 'a guy in the neighborhood.' "
Wall Street Journal

Posted by: zoie_m | October 25, 2008 2:00 AM | Report abuse

The 67-page report is called "An Examination of Obama's Use of Hidden Hypnosis Techniques in His Speeches."

I know it sounds crazy.

YOU HAVE TO READ THIS EVIDENCE. It is 67 pages of the most mind-blowing analysis of Obama's major speeches, revealing complex hidden hypnotic language patterns. The document is spreading all over the internet.

I know there is no way I will convince you, so just read the document.

Google for the document - it is all over the web.

Everyone who hasn't read it agrees it sounds absurd, yes it does, and apparently the media is pretending like they haven't read it.

Psychologists, hypnotists and NLP experts are coming out saying this document is "exceptional", having cracked a hidden linguistic code in Obama's speeches like those developed by a Dr. Milton Erickson, the father of modern hypnosis.

Obama conjures up images of your children and JFK, and then uses hidden hand gestures to transfer those feelings onto him, and uses complex hypnotic language patterns to sideline rational judgment. Not just subliminal messages, but complex engineered hypnotic patterns, non-dominant hemisphere programming, and clinical hypnotic trance inductions, all buried in his speeches.

As crazy as this sounds, imagine how mind blowing to find out it is real. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever read in my whole life.

It is on scribd here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/7470439/Obamas-Use-of-Hidden-Hypnosis-Techniques-in-His-Speeches

also here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/7470439/Obamas-Use-of-Hidden-Hypnosis-Techniques-in-His-Speeches

I know everyone is going to make fun of this because of how absurd it sounds. So go ahead and read it.

If the media chooses to ignore this, after the election they will have a lot of explaining to do.

In other words, if you consider yourselves objective, especially the media, go ahead. I dare you. Fact-check this document.

Posted by: besquared28 | October 25, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

The New York Times, October 15, 1994
Remains of Alaska Separatist Are Identified
...............................................................................
The blue tarp and duct tape in which the remains were wrapped, officials said, matched a description given by a convicted thief, Manfred West, who confessed last summer that he had killed Mr. Vogler in a plastic-explosives sale gone bad and had then buried him.
...............................................................................

Here are some choice Joe Vogler quotes:

"The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won't be buried under their damn flag."

"My government is my worst enemy. I'm going to fight them with any means at hand."

"I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

"Alaska First! Alaska Always!" -- motto of the Alaskan Independence Party

Note: Todd Palin joined the AIP one year after the story about Vogler's murder while buying plastic explosives appeared in the New York Times.

Country First? You betcha!

Posted by: wunderwood | October 25, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Did Ayers ever serve any time in jail? How did he become such a leader in education? With all of those respectable pals?

As Letterman pointed out, McCain was pals with G. Gordon Liddy, one of the Watergate burglars, who did do time. McCain said he did not deny being friends with Liddy.
I guess if you were a crook in behalf of the Pubbies, that made it okay, even if you did serve time.

Then there is Charles Keating.

Let's concentrate on who would make the best president. Obama by a mile.

You were bad winners, and it seems you are going to be worse losers.

Posted by: dunbargone | October 26, 2008 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Let that Barack Hussein Obama be ashamed of himself for talking as if president George W. Bush has been anything other than a great president who has kept this country safe and fended off economic woes for quite some time and took moral stands on issues affecting this country, among other great stands. If Obama were any wise politically, in his positions on the issues, (Isn't that a laugh?) Would he not do exactly the opposite of how he does on about everything one could name?

Posted by: PROFINDS | October 26, 2008 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008

Posted by: hclark1 | October 26, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Just a Four-Letter Word?

Democrats for Obama/Biden 2008. Obama is the best elect despite the fact of the high amount of rhetoric manifesting. Get a grip folks, worldwide speaking, none other could deliver the world from such a chaotic atsmosphere as present other than Obama. With all due respect, if you people knew the political history of our country and it's standing in the world now, you would flop out by the millions to vote for Obama. God Bless America!

Posted by: Nisey01 | October 28, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Just a Four-Letter Word?

Yes, just a four letter word "VOTE". V for VOTE, O for OBAMA, T for TIME is now and E for EVERBODY. Don't forget to vote on November 4, 2008. "DEMOCRATS FOR OBAMA/BIDEN 2008! "REPUBLICANS FOR OBAMA/BIDEN 2008! GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Posted by: Nisey01 | October 28, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Who is checking your facts? You need a fact checker to check out your erroneous claims!
Obama/Biden 08

Posted by: jackieblu | October 29, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Democrats 4 McCain & Palin, now that's an Oxymoron!!! Please just switch to GOP.
Obama/Biden 08

Posted by: jackieblu | October 29, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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