an encyclopedia of McCain/Palin lies and distortion

by twit

There are so many it is getting hard to keep track.  This is a beginning of a list, and it will be updated as additional reports are collected.  Please feel free to leave additional links in the comments.

To begin, here’s a video that outlines some of the latest lies and distortions from the McCain campaign:

Sarah Palin lies about Troopergate:

LIE #1

In response to the allegations, Governor Palin claims that “after she took office in December 2006, she broached the subject of Wooten with her public safety commissioner, Monegan, just once, when they discussed her security detail.”

… On August 30, 2008, Monegan reports that since she became Governor, “Palin sent him two or three e-mails that referenced her ex-brother-in-law and his status with troopers.”

LIE #2

In the September 12, 2008 ABC News interview, Palin says:

“Commissioner Monegan has said the governor never asked me to fire him, the governor’s husband never asked me to fire him…”

From the Washington Post on September 4, 2008:

Monegan has said that Palin never directly told him to fire Wooten but that the message was clearly conveyed through repeated messages from Palin, her husband and three members of her Cabinet.

LIE #3

Via ABC News on September 17, 2008:

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin shifted her tactics for the second time in three weeks on the “Troopergate” investigation, this time calling to end the very investigation that she herself called for and the one the McCain campaign had said was the only proper venue for a probe.

… Despite her earlier vows of full cooperation with the [legislative] probe, she declared it unlawful. The legislature lacked the authority to investigate the matter, she said. Instead, it should be handled by the state personnel board, Palin asserted — a panel which is under her authority.

… But on Monday, Palin shifted tactics again: Her attorney, Thomas V. Van Flein moved to stop that panel’s efforts, saying the governor’s lawyers had reviewed all the evidence and saw no grounds for any investigation.

From the Associated Press on September 19, 2008:

The McCain-Palin campaign said Thursday that Gov. Palin is cooperating with a separate Alaska State Personnel Board investigation into Troopergate. Palin initiated that investigation after she joined McCain’s ticket. The three-member board is appointed by the governor.

“I can’t say it enough, the governor is an open book on this matter,” McCain spokeswoman Meg Stapleton said. “She is fully cooperating with the unbiased, legally appropriate and independent investigation of the State Personnel Board.”

LIE #4

From ABC News on September 19, 2008:

An internal government document obtained by ABC News appears to contradict Sarah Palin’s most recent explanation for why she fired her public safety chief, the move which prompted the now-contested state probe into “Troopergate.”

… “The last straw,” her lawyer argued, came when he planned a trip to Washington, D.C., to seek federal funds for an aggressive anti-sexual-violence program.

… The McCain-Palin campaign echoed the charge in a press release it distributed Monday, concurrent with Palin’s legal filing. “Mr. Monegan persisted in planning to make the unauthorized lobbying trip to D.C.,” the release stated.

… The document, a state travel authorization form, shows that Palin’s chief of staff, Mike Nizich, approved Monegan’s trip to Washington, D.C., “to attend meeting with Senator Murkowski.” The date next to Nizich’s signature reads June 18.

From the LA Times on September 21, 2008:

… Monegan had a signed authorization from the governor’s chief of staff before making what the Palin camp had called an “unauthorized” lobbying trip.

MSNBC notes on September 18, 2008:

It was at least the third different reason Palin or the McCain campaign have given for Monegan’s dismissal.

When she first fired Monegan in July, Palin thanked him for his service and said she wanted to take the department in a new direction. Then, last month, she said she fired Monegan for failing to meet recruitment goals for troopers and police departments and not doing enough to combat alcoholism in rural Alaska.

McCain lies about Obama’s record on subprime loans:

What happened: In remarks Monday in New Mexico about the economic crisis, Republican John McCain said that “as recently as September of last year” Democrat Barack Obama said that subprime loans had been “‘a good idea.’ Well, Senator Obama, that ‘good idea’ has now plunged this country into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

Why that’s wrong: Obama did say in a September 2007 speech that “subprime lending started off as a good idea — helping Americans buy homes who couldn’t previously afford to.” But in the same speech he said that the subprime market was corrupted by lenders and brokers who lowered their standards to see how much money they could make, by appraisers who inflated their estimates, and by some borrowers who claimed false income to qualify for loans.

McCain either lies or is wildly ignorant about “the fundamentals of the economy“:

McCain said: “Well, it’s obviously true that the workers of America are the fundamentals of our economy and our strength and our future. And I believe in the American worker.”

Why that’s wrong: Economists, politicians and journalists have long referred to economic “fundamentals” as quantifiable concepts, such as unemployment rates, gross domestic product, inflation, productivity and so forth.

The McCain campaign lies about Obama’s economic adviser:

Republican McCain released a new spot Thursday that quotes The Washington Post as saying Democrat Obama gets advice on mortgage and housing policy from a former Fannie Mae chief executive, Franklin Raines.

… Obama’s campaign says Raines is not an Obama adviser and that McCain’s campaign knows it because Raines said so in an e-mail earlier this week to Carly Fiorina, a top McCain adviser. Obama’s campaign provided The Associated Press with a copy of the e-mail.

via TPM, from the Washington Post on September 19, 2008:

The McCain campaign is clearly exaggerating wildly in attempting to depict Franklin Raines as a close adviser to Obama on “housing and mortgage policy.” If we are to believe Raines, he did have a couple of telephone conversations with someone in the Obama campaign. But that hardly makes him an adviser to the candidate himself–and certainly not in the way depicted in the McCain video release.

via TPM on September 23, 2008:

… now we learn from the NY Times that McCain’s campaign manager and right hand man Rick Davis bagged more than $2 million running a front group set up by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stepped up federal regulation.

McCain lies about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

McCain told a large, loud audience in Blaine, Minn., that Johnson had walked away from the mortgage giants with $21 million “of your money” in severance pay, while Raines received $25 million.

“Let’s tell them to give it back,” McCain said, and the crowd obliged, chanting “Give it back. Give it back.”

While Fannie and Freddie have held favored statuses with the federal government that have contributed to their profits, the severance packages were paid by company shareholders, not taxpayers.

McCain lies about his campaign manager’s ties to Freddie Mac:

One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager from the end of 2005 through last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The disclosure contradicts a statement Sunday night by Mr. McCain that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had no involvement with the company for the last several years.

Palin lies about the Bridge to Nowhere:

more on the Bridge to Nowhere lie can be seen here.

via the Associated Press on September 13, 2008:

The Alaska governor repeated her claim to have killed the now-famous “Bridge to Nowhere,” which her running mate, Arizona Sen. John McCain, has derided as wasteful pork. Palin first approved of the project, and turned against it only after it proved to be a political embarrassment.

Sarah Palin lies about her record on climate change:

“I think you are a cynic,” Palin said, “because show me where I’ve said there’s absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change. I have not said that…”

[…]  Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Dec. 4, 2007: “I’m not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist, blaming the changes in our climate on human activity, but I’m not going to put my head in the sand and pretend there aren’t changes.”

Interview with Newsmax, Aug. 28, 2008: “A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one, though, who would attribute it to being man-made.”

The McCain campaign lies about Obama’s plans for tax cuts:

A new 60-second television ad from the RNC and John McCain’s campaign that’s running in a dozen swing states misstates the facts about opponent Barack Obama’s stands on issues.

“Obama and his liberal allies promise higher taxes on your income, life savings, your electric bill. They oppose offshore drilling,” the ad says.

Why that’s wrong: Obama isn’t promising higher taxes on everyone’s income. He’d rescind the 2001 and 2003 income-tax cuts for individuals who earn more than $200,000 a year or families earning more than $250,000 but would give tax breaks to almost everyone else.

According to a study by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, “the Obama plan would reduce taxes for low- and moderate-income families, but raise them significantly for high-bracket taxpayers.

According to the Associated Press on September 19, 2008, McCain continues to tell this lie on the campaign trail:

McCain restated his claim that Obama had voted to raise taxes on people who make just $42,000 a year – a claim that has been widely debunked by nonpartisan fact check organizations.

The McCain campaign lies about Obama’s role in smears against Palin:

The center on Monday had posted a piece called “Sliming Palin” that debunked many of the internet chain e-mails and blog posts about Palin. The McCain campaign then released a television ad using the logo along with a voice-over saying “The attacks on Governor Palin have been called ‘completely false’ … ‘misleading.’” The logo and voice-over were juxtaposed against a photo of Obama.

Annenberg Political Fact Check’s Jackson further noted:

With its latest ad, released Sept. 10, the McCain-Palin campaign has altered our message in a fashion we consider less than honest. The ad strives to convey the message that said “completely false” attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin had come from Sen. Barack Obama. We said no such thing. We have yet to dispute any claim from the Obama campaign about Palin.

The McCain campaign lies about Obama’s record on sex education:

A new 30-second TV ad attacks Barack Obama’s record on education, saying that Obama backed legislation to teach “‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.” The announcer then says, “Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family.”

Why that’s wrong: This is a deliberately misleading accusation. It came hours after the Obama campaign released a TV ad critical of McCain’s votes on public education. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama did vote for but was not a sponsor of legislation dealing with sex ed for grades K-12.

But the legislation allowed local school boards to teach “age-appropriate” sex education, not comprehensive lessons to kindergartners, and it gave schools the ability to warn young children about inappropriate touching and sexual predators.

The McCain campaign lies about Obama’s record on immigration:

The campaign Friday launched a 30-second Spanish-language television ad charging that Democrat Barack Obama and his Senate colleagues torpedoed meaningful changes in immigration laws.

Media accounts cited two votes as effectively killing immigration reform last year — and Obama was on the same side as McCain in both.

The McCain campaign and McCain lie about earmarks:

What happened: In a new 30-second radio advertisement, the RNC says that, as governor of Alaska, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin “vetoed nearly half a billion dollars in wasteful spending and cut earmark requests by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Why that’s wrong: It’s accurate, but so incomplete that it misleads as to the truth. The ad fails to mention that Palin, as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, hired a lobbying firm to obtain nearly $27 million in earmarks, according to, a non-partisan watchdog Web site sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania. GOP presidential candidate John McCain, a longtime opponent of earmarks, even criticized some of his future running mate’s requests at the time.

As governor, Palin did reduce the number of Alaska’s earmarks, but she didn’t stop asking for them. This year, Palin’s office asked Alaska’s congressional delegation to help the state get 31 earmarks worth about $197 million.

and McCain said

“When pressed about Palin’s record of requesting and accepting such money for Alaska, McCain ignored the record and said: “Not as governor she didn’t.”

For the record Palin requested $197 million this year and $256 million last year. Per capita, that’s $288 this year and $376 last year

The McCain campaign lies about Palin’s National Guard experience:

“Can you tell me one decision that she made as commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard?” CNN journalist Campbell Brown asked Monday while interviewing McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds. “Just one?”

Bounds couldn’t, because Palin has never personally ordered the state guard to do anything.

Instead, here’s what he said: “Any decision she has made as the commander of the (Alaska) National Guard that’s deployed overseas is more of a decision than Barack Obama’s been making as he’s been running for president for the last two years.”

However, the governor has no command authority overseas or anywhere in the United States other than Alaska, said Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, the service commander of the Alaska National Guard.

here’s a clip from the Campbell Brown interview:

(McCain cited Palin’s “experience” as the “Commander” of the Alaska National Guard at his 9/17/08 Town Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan)

The McCain campaign lies about Palin’s international travel:

Following her selection last month as John McCain’s running mate, aides said Palin had traveled to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq to meet with members of the Alaska National Guard. During that trip she was said to have visited a “military outpost” inside Iraq. The campaign has since repeated that Palin’s foreign travel included an excursion into the Iraq battle zone.

But in response to queries about the details of her trip, campaign aides and National Guard officials in Alaska said by telephone yesterday that she did not venture beyond the Kuwait-Iraq border when she visited Khabari Alawazem Crossing, also known as “K-Crossing,” on July 25, 2007.

and via the Guardian:

But this weekend, the story of Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s trip to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait and Iraq began to shrink under scrutiny. Interrogated about hazy details of the itinerary – the first time she had travelled outside of north America – campaign officials acknowledged that Palin had not entered Iraq, but had instead visited Alaska national guard troops at a border crossing with Kuwait.

“You have to have permission to go into a lot of areas, and [the crossing] is where her permissions were,” Alaska national guard colonel Dave Osborn told the Boston Globe. As for the trip to Ireland, well that was little more than a refuelling stop.

The McCain campaign lies about crowd estimates:

McCain aide Kimmie Lipscomb told reporters on Sept. 10 that an outdoor rally in Fairfax City, Virginia, drew 23,000 people, attributing the crowd estimate to a fire marshal.

Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it. Wilson, in an interview, said the fire department does not monitor attendance at outdoor events.

In recent days, journalists attending the rallies have been raising questions about the crowd estimates with the campaign. In a story on Sept. 11 about Palin’s attraction for some Virginia women voters, Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher estimated the crowd to be 8,000, not the 23,000 cited by the campaign.

Via MSNBC on September 13, 2008, by way of TPM:

Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said on stage that 10,000 people were in the crowd, but parks officials said the pavilion held only 3,500 people.

McCain lies about that plane on eBay:

Via Politico on September 5, 2008:

“You know what i enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay — made a profit,” [McCain] said, introducing Palin.

… Palin did not, as the ADN reported at the time, succeed in selling it on eBay; she tried and failed.

… And the state sold it at a loss of half a million dollars.

The McCain campaign lies about the FBI background check on Palin:

On Sunday, The Washington Post quoted McCain campaign manager Rick Davis as saying the FBI conducted a background check of Palin.

But Monday, the FBI told the Atlantic Monthly no such check took place.

Sarah Palin suggests Iraq planned 9/11:

On the 7th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Palin linked Iraq to those attacks.

“You’ll be there to defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the deaths of thousands of Americans,” Palin told an Army brigade in Alaska that will ship off to Iraq later this month.

Why that’s wrong: The bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States said it found “no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States.”

Sarah Palin lies about polar bears:

The governor invoked the state’s own scientific work both in a cover letter to the state’s official polar bear comments, and in an opinion piece published in the New York Times.

But the Oct. 9 e-mail, which was released this month to a University of Alaska scientist who had filed a public records request seeking information on the state’s polar bear decision-making, shows that the head of the marine mammals program for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and two other staff biologists agreed with the conclusions of nine polar bear studies that the federal government was citing to justify a threatened-species listing for the bears.

McCain distorts Obama’s position on military technology and contradicts himself:

On Sept. 8, the Republican presidential candidate told a rally crowd in Lee’s Summit, Mo., about an Obama video message to a liberal advocacy group.

“He promised them he would, quote, ‘slow our development of Future Combat Systems,’” McCain said, according to wire reports. “This is not a time to slow our development of Future Combat Systems.”

Flashback to July, however, when his campaign furnished McCain’s economic plan to The Washington Post, declaring that “there are lots of procurements — Airborne Laser, [C-17] Globemaster, Future Combat System [sic] — that should be ended and the entire Pentagon budget should be scrubbed.”

In fact, McCain has long criticized the over-budget, behind-schedule FCS program. In 2005, he blasted the Army for allowing the program to balloon to $161 billion, and forced the service to rewrite the main FCS contract.

… Obama’s campaign maintains their candidate was speaking specifically about FCS, in which case McCain may be twisting his rival’s words.

Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute called it deceitful.

“McCain’s interpretation of Obama’s position is typical of the way in which the Republicans have twisted Democratic views in order to undercut their opponents and at the same time obscure the past positions of the Republicans,” Thompson said.

(h/t TPM)

(McCain repeated this lie at his 9/17/08 Town Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the audio file at the link, beginning at about 1:01:30)

McCain distorts how close he is to Bush on Iraq, taxes, trade and health care:

despite all his talk about independent-mindedness, McCain actually differs very little from President Bush on the serious issues of the day: Iraq, taxes, trade and health care.

… the McCain-Palin team will crow about riding into Washington with six-guns blazing to clean up a dirty town. But beyond clamping down on congressional spending — something Palin didn’t make a priority as governor of a state that is legendary for its take from the federal treasury — they offer precious few specifics of how they’ll do the deed or how their maverick personas would actually fix rising unemployment levels, energy dependence or hobbled education and health care systems.

Palin either lies or is wildly ignorant about Alaska’s energy production:

Last week, Sarah Palin told Charlie Gibson of ABC News that her state, Alaska, produced “nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy.” Yesterday, she told a campaign rally in Golden, Colorado, that she had been responsible for overseeing “nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and gas.” Both claims are way off.

From the Anchorage Daily News on September 18, 2008:

ADN business editor Bill White ran the numbers. Here’s what he found about what Alaska provides:

> About 14 percent of U.S. oil production.

> About 5 percent of the oil the U.S. consumes (counting oil imports).

> About 6 percent of U.S. oil and gas production.

> About 2 percent of U.S. energy production (counting oil, gas, coal, hydro, nuclear, wind, solar and other alternative energy sources).

and let’s not forget that McCain claims:

… his running mate “knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.”

Palin lies about her salary as Mayor of Wasilla:

… records from the city of Wasilla that confirm that Sarah Palin’s pay as mayor went up, despite her claim that she took a pay cut.

Related Commentary and Analysis:

McCain camp criticism rife with errors, 9/22/08, Politico.

Truthiness Stages a Comeback, 9/20/08 New York Times.

9/18/08 MSNBC

True Whoppers, 9/17/08, Washington Post.

The Ugly New McCain, 9/17/08, Washington Post.

McCain’s Lying Has Gone Too Far, According to… Karl Rove!, 9/14/08, TPM.

McCain Wraps Distortions Around One Truth, 9/13/08, Washington Post.

New Election Low: Distorting the Fact-Checking, 9/12/08, LA Times.

McCain Barbs Stir Cries of Distortion, 9/12/08, New York Times.

The Truth and Lies in the Ad Wars, 9/12/08, CBS News.

Analysis: McCain’s claims skirt facts, test voters, 9/11/08, Associated Press.

Blizzard of Lies, 9/11/08, New York Times.

Does the Truth Matter Anymore? 9/10/08, Washington Post.

As Campaign Heats Up, Untruths Can Become Facts Before They’re Undone,9/10/08, Washington Post.

“Just Say No” to Sarah Palin, 9/3/08, Apocalyptic Kiwi.

7 Responses to an encyclopedia of McCain/Palin lies and distortion

  1. Pingback: A link to the lies, half-truths and distortion by the McCain campaign « Girl du jour’s Blog du jour

  2. Pingback: Woe to you, Right Wing Christians, you hypocrites! « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

  3. Gary says:

    more votes for McCain.

  4. Pingback: Maybe To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books Sarah Palin would ban « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

  5. Pingback: “Just Say No” to Sarah Palin « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

  6. karen marie says:

    i’ll add this one more, even this late, just for the record.

    a week prior to the election palin gave a “policy speech” in which she made the now infamous remarks about funding fruitfly research. in that same speech she also claimed that she had been working on special-needs-kids issues for ten years.

    now, i suppose you could say that being on the pta might be some qualification to make that statement but if that is the entirety of her “work,” it is an overstatement to such a degree that it is in fact a bald-faced lie.

  7. Pingback: Congratulations to Sarah Palin « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

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