This morning on the “Today” Show, Barack Obama claimied he never leveled the dishonest attack that John McCain supports a 100-year war in Iraq:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: “Senator, both you and Senator Clinton have said Senator McCain favors 100 more years of war in Iraq. On Sunday in The New York Times, Frank Rich wrote, ‘really, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of themselves for libeling John McCain.’ That in fact he never said he wanted a 100 more years of war, he just felt American troops should be a long-term presence, the way they are in Japan and South Korea. So are you willing to admit that you've distorted his statements?”
SEN. OBAMA: “No. That's not accurate, Meredith. We can pull up the quotes on Youtube. What John McCain was saying was, that he was happy to have a potential long-term occupation in Iraq. Happy may be overstating it -- he is willing to have a long-term occupation of Iraq, as long as 100 years, in fact he said 10,000 years, however long it took.” (Barack Obama, NBC’s “Today,” 4/8/08)
Like Obama said, “we can pull up the quotes on Youtube.” Well, YES WE CAN. Those YouTube quotes, in Obama's own words, show Obama’s dishonest smear against McCain and that Obama lied on the Today Show:
We have been through this before, but Obama continues the distortions, even though Obama acknowledges McCain was speaking bbout a post-war situation like South Korea, not a 100-year war:
“At The End Of The Exchange Obama Admitted That He Understands McCain Is Talking About The Korean Style Bases And Not A Hot War Like Iraq …” (Sunlen Miller, “Obama Claims Characterization Of McCain’s Statement On Iraq Is Fair,” ABC News’ “Political Radar” Blog, www.abcnews.com, 3/31/08)
Non-Partisan Fact-Checkers Call It Distortiion:
Non-Partisan Factcheck.Org calls DNC attacks on “100 Years” comment a “serious distortion” and “a rank falsehood:” “
The DNC’s message portrays McCain as bent on fighting an ‘endless’ war in Iraq. DNC: We can’t afford four more years with a President who fights an endless war in Iraq. ... On the war, McCain scoffed at Bush’s call to leave troops in Iraq for 50 years, saying ‘Make it a hundred!’ That of course is a serious distortion of what McCain actually said to a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire back on Jan. 3. ... There’s little doubt that McCain is less ea ger than either Clinton or Obama to bring troops home without further suppression of insurgent attacks. But it’s a rank falsehood for the DNC to accuse McCain of wanting to wage ‘endless war’ based on his support for a presence in Iraq something like the U.S. role in South Korea.” (Factcheck.Org Website, www.factcheck.org, Accessed 3/25/08)
Non-Partisan Politifact.Com calls Obama attacks on “100 Years” comment “false:"
”“Obama twisted McCain’s words in the Cleveland debate. He said, ‘We are bogged down in a war that John McCain now suggests might go on for another 100 years.’ As we explain above, McCain was referring to a peacetime presence, not the war. So we find Obama’s statement False.” (Politifact.Com Website, www.politifact.com, Accessed 3/25/08)
The Washington Post's FactChecker -- Obama's false claims do not pass The Pinocchio Test:
McCain has never talked about wanting a 100-year war in Iraq. … [T]hey have twisted his words, by claiming that he 'wants' to fight a 100-year war.
Numerous Media Outlets Agree That Democrats Have Mischaracterized Senator McCain’s Position:
The New York Times’ Frank Rich -- “Really, Barack Obama And Hillary Clinton Should Be Ashamed Of Themselves For Libeling John McCain.”:“Really, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of themselves for libeling John McCain. As a growing chorus reiterates, their refrains that Mr. McCain is ‘willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq’ (as Mr. Obama said) or ‘willing to keep this war going for 100 years’ (per Mrs. Clinton) are flat-out wrong. What Mr. McCain actually said in a New Hampshire town-hall meeting was that he could imagine a 100-year-long American role in Iraq like our long-term presence in South Korea and Japan, where ‘Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.’ See for yourself on YouTube.” (Frank Rich, Op-Ed, “Tet Happened, And No One Cared,” The New York Times, 4/6/08)
Columbia Journalism Review -- “Obama Is Seriously Misleading Voters -- If Not Outright Lying To Them -- About Exactly What McCain Said:”“Ever since John McCain said at a town hall meeting in January that he could see U.S. troops staying in Iraq for a hundred years, the Democrats have been trying to use the quote to paint the Arizona senator as a dangerous warmonger. And lately, Barack Obama in particular has stepped up his attacks on McCain’s ‘100 years’ notion. But in doing so, Obama is seriously misleading voters -- if not outright lying to them -- about exactly what McCain said. And some in the press are failing to call him on it. … To be clear, if Obama wants to take issue with McCain’s willingness to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for a hundred years in any capacity, that’s obviously his right. But that’s not the same as misleading voters about what McCain is proposing. This matters. Obama has given every indication that his general election strategy on Iraq and foreign policy will be to portray McCain as dangerously bellicose. If he’s going to do so by distorting McCain’s words, the press should forcefully call him out on it each time.” (Zachary Roth, “The U.S., Iraq, and 100 Years,” Columbia Journalism Review, 4/1/08)
New Hampshire Union Leader -- “It Is Not Even Remotely True -- And They Know It:”“You might have heard from the New Hampshire Democratic Party and Democratic Presidential candidates that Sen. John McCain wants 100 more years of war in Iraq. It is not even remotely true -- and they know it.” (Editorial, “McCain’s ‘100 Years’: The Democrats’ War On The Truth,” New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/6/08)
The New York Times -- Democrats “Mischaracterize And Distort” Sen. McCain’s “100 Years” Comment:“But the timetables, flippantly tossed out, have been condensed into sound bites by his Democratic opponents, turned into fund-raising appeals and mashed into YouTube parodies. Many of the sound bites mischaracterize and distort what was said in Mr. McCain’s six-minute exchange on Jan. 3 …” (Kate Phillips, “McCain Said ‘100’; Opponents Latch On,” The New York Times, 3/27/08)
The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder -- Obama’s “100-Year War” Attack “Is Simply Not What McCain Said:”“[D]emocrats imply that McCain wants to keep US troops in Iraq for 100 years under the same conditions they’re fighting right now. Which is simply not what McCain said. McCain explicitly said that US presence in Iraq long-term would be predicated on the absence of violence and on the establishment of stability in the region.” (Marc Ambinder, “100 Years Of Solitude? McCain And Iraq,” The Atlantic’s “Marc Ambinder” Blog, www.theatlantic.com, 3/31/08)
The Associated Press -- “Dems Take McCain Out Of Context On Iraq:”“[Sen. McCain] and the Democrats vying to run against him in the fall are engaged in a debate of sorts over how long U.S. troops should stay in Iraq and under what circumstances. That’s a genuine point of contention. But Hillary Rodham Clinton and especially Barack Obama have distilled McCain’s position into sound bite oversimplifications, suggesting he foresees a war without end in anyone’s lifetime.” (Calvin Woodward, “Dems Take McCain Out Of Context On Iraq,” The Associated Press, 2/29/08)
USA Today -- McCain’s Comments Being “Distorted:”“[Sen. McCain’s] offhand comment about keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for ‘100 years’ has been distorted (he said that meant as long as troops weren’t getting killed or wounded)...” (Editorial, “5 Years After ‘Shock And Awe,’ A Shallow Debate On Iraq,” USA Today, 3/18/08)
Roll Call’s Morton Kondracke -- “The Charge That McCain Wants To Carry On The War For 100 Years Is A Total Canard:”“Well, the charge that McCain wants to carry on the war for 100 years is a total canard. ... What McCain said was, yes, we could stay in Iraq for 100 years on the same basis we have been in Korea ever since the end of the Korean War or Germany ever since the end of the second world war as long as our troops aren’t being shot. And it seems perfectly reasonable. And so they [Sens. Clinton And Obama] are mischaracterizing what he said badly.” (Fox News’ “Special Report,” 3/31/08)
The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer -- “A Serious Argument Is Not What Democrats Are Seeking:”“But a serious argument is not what Democrats are seeking. They want the killer sound bite, the silver bullet to take down McCain. According to Politico, they have found it: ‘Dems to hammer McCain for ‘100 years.’” (Charles Krauthammer, Op-Ed, “A Rank Falsehood,” The Washington Post, 3/28/08)
Richmond Times-Dispatch -- Democrats’ “Hyperventilating Criticism Suggests They Either Did Not Read His Words Or Deliberately Are Distorting Them:”“Leftists claim the comments mean McCain supports a century of combat. Their hyperventilating criticism suggests they either did not read his words or deliberately are distorting them.” (Editorial, “100 Years,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/1/08)
National Review -- “This Is So Obvious A Distortion That It Must Backfire Against Democrats Over Time. . .:”“Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have suggested that this means McCain ‘wants to fight a 100-year war,’ in Obama’s words. This is so obvious a distortion that it must backfire against Democrats over time, especially if they nominate Barack Obama, who has so loudly advertised his commitment to civil discourse...” (Editorial, “The 100 Years War,” National Review, www.nationalreview.com, 3/26/08)
National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez -- “This Favorite Talking Point Of The Two Democrats Presidential Candidates Is Bogus:”“Haven’t we been listening to talk of ‘100 years’ of war in Iraq for 100 years now? It certainly feels that way. But this favorite talking point of the two Democrats presidential candidates is bogus.” (Kathryn Jean Lopez, “100-Years’ Sideshow,” National Review, www.nationalreview.com, 3/26/08)
In his book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that voters are “tired of distortion, name-calling, and sound bite solutions to complicated problems.” This is exactly the opposite of what Obama is doing with his continuing distortions and misrepresentations about what Senator McCain actually said.
Obama promised better. Obama should apologize to McCain, and the nation, for his blatant dishonesty, and join Senator McCain in his call for tolerance and respect. If Obama does perhaps we can engage in a new Politics -- a new civil politics different than Obama's Chicago rules.
Also posted at Examining Presidential Politics and RedState.
UPDATE: More at First Read, Marc Ambinder and Political Punch.