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Posted at 9:55 AM ET, 11/ 3/2008

Greatest Hits of the 2008 campaign

By Michael Dobbs

The original Fact Checker shut up shop on Nov. 4, 2008. Over a 15-month period, Michael Dobbs checked some 200 claims and statements relating to the presidential campaign, and received 18,000 comments, many of them vehemently disputing his verdicts. Pinocchios have entered the campaign lexicon, and are sometimes used as a verb, e.g. "You were Pinocchio'ed for that statement." Here are a few of his personal favorites from the long, winding campaign trail.


Barack the Recidivist

""We have more work to do when more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America." --Barack Obama, July 12, 2007

Obama repeated this hoary old chestnut several times, mainly in front of African American audiences. It's untrue. Four Pinocchios.

***

Rudy's Prostate

"I had prostate cancer, five, six years ago. 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, October 29, 2007

Flat out wrong, according to leading cancer experts, but Rudy kept repeating it. Four Pinocchios.

***

The NAFTA superhighway

"They don't talk about it [the NAFTA superhighway], and they might not admit it, but there's been money spent on it. " --Ron Paul, November 28, 2007

Three presidential candidates--Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, and Tom Tancredo--professed belief in the non-existant "NAFTA superhighway." Tell that one to the Martian landing in your backyard. Four Pinocchios.

***

Marching with MLK

"I saw my father march with Martin Luther King." --Mitt Romney, December 6, 2007

Sorry, Mitt, your Dad certainly supported the civil rights movement, but he never marched with MLK. Four Pinocchios.

***

Danger: Sniper Fire

"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." --Hillary Clinton, March 17, 2008

Remember how she stopped to greet that cute little girl at Tuzla airport. You read it here first. Four Pinocchios.

***

John the Tax-Cutter

"I can eliminate $100 billion of wasteful and earmark spending immediately--35 billion in big spending bills in the last two years, and another 65 billion that has already been made a permanent part of the budget." --John McCain, April 23, 2008

Your figures don't add up, my friend. And I have a "bridge to nowhere" I want to sell you. Four Pinocchios.

***

Highway Robbery

John McCain and Sarah Palin "are proposing the largest increase on middle class taxpayers in American history....It will cost the middle class over one trillion dollars in additional taxes. It is almost unbelievable." --Joe Biden, September 25, 2008.

It is not "almost unbelievable." It is "unbelievable." Uncle Joe left out the part about the offsetting tax credit. Four Pinocchios.

***

Troopergate

"I'm very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there." --Sarah Palin, October 11, 2008

Except that the independent report found that you breached the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Four Pinocchios.

By Michael Dobbs  | November 3, 2008; 9:55 AM ET
Categories:  4 Pinocchios, Barack Obama, Candidate Record, Candidate Watch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama's Spending Cuts
Next: Welcome to the new Fact Checker

Comments

THANK YOU for your Pinocchios! We need to enmesh this into the fabric of our elections process. Perhaps after each TV or radio ad, a Pinocchio rating should be given. The torrent of lies is killing the democracy. Can't these parties be sued for false advertising?

Posted by: jgluke | November 3, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

THANK YOU for your Pinocchios! We need to enmesh this into the fabric of our elections process. Perhaps after each TV or radio ad, a Pinocchio rating should be given. The torrent of lies is killing the democracy. Can't these parties be sued for false advertising?

Posted by: jgluke | November 3, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Top 5 reasons to vote for Barack Obama:
1. He's black
2. He has a pleasant-sounding voice.
3. He is buying your vote
4. He supports the American Dream for those who cannot afford it--much to the detriment of the economy
5. He is a deeply-religious Christian and goes to church every Sunday to listen to his spiritual guide, Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | November 3, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the fact checking! It's been a great resource during this never-ending campaign.

Posted by: thequeenofawkward | November 3, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

It is good that you do this work!McCain and Palin's ads seem the most egregious, what about 1/2 truths where they state their opponent said "this and that" but it is only a fragment of what was said. Truly when the whole statement is given it wouldn't support the position they are putting forth?

Posted by: observations | November 3, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

It is good that you do this work!McCain and Palin's ads seem the most egregious, what about 1/2 truths where they state their opponent said "this and that" but it is only a fragment of what was said. Truly when the whole statement is given it wouldn't support the position they are putting forth?

Posted by: observations | November 3, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

If the candidates were as scrupulous as you, in their claims and the authorities on which they should base them, you'd be outa business -- not just back again next season! But thanks for drawing the line at the things said by the defense in the Ted Stevens trial. You properly left that for the Prosecution, although some fact-checking there might have meant Uncle Ted would have to sweat his reelection more.

Posted by: boesc | November 3, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Apparently some last-minute fact-checking is in order:
afsljafweljkjlfe (which, spelled backward is efljkjlewfajlsfa, in case you were wondering) sez of the reasons to support Sen. Obama--
1. He's black (only 1/2 true)
2. He has a pleasant-sounding voice (well, who doesn't compared to McCain and Palin?).
3. He is buying your vote (Not if my mind was made up after debate 1)
4. He supports the American Dream for those who cannot afford it--much to the detriment of the economy (sorry, more to the American Dream than a boat w/ an inboard-outboard motor -- remember the 2 happiest days in the life of a boater are a) the Day He Bought the Thing and b) the Day She Sold the Thing)
5. He is a deeply-religious Christian and goes to church every Sunday to listen to his spiritual guide, Pastor Jeremiah Wright (Not true [anymore] or don't you read the papers?)

Posted by: boesc | November 3, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance!

Posted by: MarkInAustin | November 3, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Why leave? Politicians will continue to bloviate, pontificate and obfuscate. It was great to have one place to go to find out the truth, instead of having to chop our way through the tall grass of the 'analysis' story that gives equal weight to both truth and un-truth. Take a nice vacation, then get back to work! Please!

Posted by: jac2jess | November 3, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

afsljafweljkjlfe: Four Pinocchios.

It seems the repubs are determined to leave everything on the field- including their dignity.

Posted by: Vizier6 | November 3, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

The Pinocchios have been the mainstay of this election campaign for me. If they continued, as they should, for the next four years then I would gladly follow them.

Posted by: The-Duke | November 3, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey! When are you coming back?

We'll still have facts that need checking on November 5 and beyond.

Posted by: wistlo | November 3, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

afsljafweljkjlfe
Hes black
(Mccains family is also black,great gandad own slaves and they are the offsprings)

hes pleasant sounding
mccain scratchy and too old to do this anymore.

hes buying your votes
Well millions donated to his coffers say otherwise

And the American Dream
well for the last 8 years its been a nightmare

And hes deeply religous.
Well mccain never goes to church and he represents the religous right wings what does that say,as for Wright read the papers fool

Posted by: Mariewest111 | November 3, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to see the feature go... perhaps comments could be disabled so that facts could continue without trolls. I have really enjoyed this.

Posted by: cherylot | November 3, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I haven't always agreed with your conclusions but it's important and I'm surprised the WaPo is putting Pinocchio to bed. I urge you to keep up the good work; even though politicians aren't running for office, their mouths are moving (on both sides of the aisle). A little truth telling could do us all some good. Thanks.

Posted by: Omyobama | November 3, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Why let a little truth get in the way of a good story. Keep up the good work

Posted by: cyberfool | November 3, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

NEVER EVER EVER WILL I VOTE FOR BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA-I'M WITH JOE LIEBERMAN ALL THE WAY-JUST LOOK AT THE POST'S ELECTORAL MAP, WHERE THEY HAVE THE TWO CANDIDATES? AND THEIR RESUMES POSTED? AMAZING! MCCAIN HAS A LONG RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND NEXT TO OBAMA'S NAME THERE IS "LAWYER" "US SENATE-2004"
ILL. SENATE-1997-2004"

GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! OBAMA AS LEADER OF THIS NATION, SOMEONE WHO HAS DONE NOTHING, AND I MEAN NOTHING HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO PREPARE HIM FOR THIS? NEVER NO WAY! NOBAMA!

Posted by: Spring_Rain | November 4, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe how stupid people are who vote for Obama. This man had a very personal relationship with Rev. Wright until the news reported how anti-white he is and now you people say he has nothing to do with him, come on. I am sick of hearing how he is for the middle-class and poor when he is really about himself and his own agenda. He has NO experience and now you people think he is ready to be President? He was a lawyer for God sakes and instead of picking a true American Hero who fought for this country you decide to pick a person who has a middle name "Hussien", wow, what happen to our patriotism? Obama will make things worse and trust me, middle-class taxes will be fair game once he is in office. He has already went against his promises so thanks you Obama brainwashed idiots for thinking he is the answer when he will be the final downfall of our great country. I would rather pick a person with experience rather then a person we know very little about. I guess the Democrats will rule and nothing will stop them now from creating Socialism. Farewell you Obama lovers and God help us all if he is our next leader.

McCain/Palin is who we are and what this great nation was built upon. Blacks only vote because he is black and not because of the issues and that just shows you how pathedic they really are. If they would deal with family values and education they would be better off and not because we will have a black President in office.

Posted by: jumland | November 4, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Fact Checking - I checked it out regularly to keep myself from sticking my foot in my mouth too often! See you next election, I hope.

Posted by: HelensGirlKid1 | November 4, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

If you are going to mention Romney and MLK, then I think it only fair to target Obama on how the Selma marches brought his parents together. (Obama was born before Selma.)

Posted by: nickyle | November 4, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your diligence in providing this resource, whether we wanted to accept your results or not. You have been fair and unbiased, which, in the current national media atmosphere, has become a rarity.

I agree with writer who said you should stay on the job. After the election, we need you to help us keep them all honest.

Posted by: disenfranchisedamerican | November 4, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

It is awesome that some hard core republicans are tired of... REPUBLICANS!!!

http://www.greenfaucet.com/politics/win-back-the-party-by-losing-the-election/81372

Posted by: macebruce | November 4, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Mister Geppetto could not have done a better job creating a well-balanced creature capable of walking the line between reality and fantasy. Regarding Pinocchio's future, where there is a will I suspect WaPo will find a way. Great job Mister Dobbs!

Posted by: thw2001 | November 4, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I join others in thanking you for your efforts. It's indeed a sad commentary on our political process that we need you.
Perhaps there should be a permanent Federal Elections Commission position called "Advocate for the Electorate" that can serve as a watchdog with powers to enforce honesty in matters so important to the U.S. and the world community.

Posted by: beeman | November 4, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

First of all thanks for all you hard work. I've used the site often to show my friends and co-workers what the real truth is.

Jumland, wow! You couldn't keep the racial bias out of your posting, could you?

Check out Sen. McCain's resume. He graduated at or near the bottom of his USNA class, he was shot down, I believe seven times before being captured. What is his degree in? Probably engineering of some type.

Don't get me wrong, I honor and respect Sen. McCain's service to his country. But I just don't see how being a POW qualifies him to be President.

Believe me, McCain-Palin is not who I am. I sure don't want Gov. Palin to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Anyway Jumland, I'm sure our votes cancelled each other.

cvan42

Posted by: cva42 | November 4, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Ignorance is what distroyed our country when voters elected Bush not once but TWICE! Now we see it continuing even in the face of total country melt down when people say things like "Blacks only vote because he is black and not because of the issues and that just shows you how pathedic they really are. If they would deal with family values and education they would be better off and not because we will have a black President in office." You are pathetic my friend. I am a 19 year old WHITE person wih two AA's and a BA working on my masters and just applied for my doc. program and my whole family has been in the military and military service is an aweful reason to vote McCain for president. The worst tyrants in the world all have one thing in common, a military uniform. Furthermore, "experience" does not necessarily necessitate a persons ability to run this country, Bush's father was president and look at what a gosh darn wonderful dang job he did... look at Hilary, she had a long history of experience and her husbands but we didn't put her on the ballot. And as far as your misinformed rant about blacks, go to the welfare office and guess what there are more whites than blacks. Oh, and you are saying they need to do this that and the other thing about education etc etc, well... Obama did but nothing will ever satisfy you because you are to ignorant to open your eyes and see reality. And who cares what the heck his middle name is, I bet you didn't even know who Hussein was until 9/11 because you are the kind of person who focuses on wha the media pukes out instead of broadening your own horizons. FYI the media in the United States is sensored and extremely biased. Since you are to lazy to look at the truth of the world, at least try BBC news, it isn't a whole lot better but it's a start. If you want to be stupid, go for it but dont put out your garabage where we have to look at it.

Posted by: mrnmrshavery | November 4, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance, "fact checker." Your outward pro-McCain bias and unprofessional reporting during this process will not be missed one iota.

Posted by: WilliamJ1 | November 4, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mr. Dobbs. The press needs more of you.

Posted by: jhhoffman | November 4, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your column. I don't think I dispute your qualitative analysis as much as the particular quantities your allotted. Specifically, I think you went a little light on the Republicans(in terms of numbers of Pinocchios per unit of falsehood) to dodge the accusations of media bias, sadly, I think this actually constructed an artificial bias.

Posted by: zosima | November 5, 2008 3:46 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your work with this column, it's been an enjoyable read. I hope you do it again in the future.

Posted by: df198081 | November 5, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I guess the black people of this great country only come out to vote when there is a black person running for President, how pathedic. I also don't understand how someone who couldn't even speak a word English was able to vote...hmmm...this election voting is crap because you should have to prove your are a citizen. This country is going to be over run by more poor people from Africa, Mexico, Cuba because now they all think they can become President when in reality, it about family and education. I have a feeling now that most small businesses will either have to unload workers or completely shut down because they will have to pay huge tax burdens with Obama's plan. I guess this way he can give our money to the poor people who don't want to work or are here illegally. God help us all because jobs are going to be lost, businesses will go overseas, and black people will still be where they are at now, no education and no family values. The Democrats will turn this society into a socialist country so get in line to wait for a doctor along with illegal immigrants who won't have to pay because you will take care of that.

Posted by: jumland | November 5, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for all your fine work. It is truly appreciated.

Posted by: jiggssma2 | November 5, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Thankfully this column will end. It was one of the sillier things the Post has done.

It was generally biased and often not accurate in criticizing the candidates.

Posted by: peterdc | November 6, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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