What’s this? The New York Times fact checking President Barack Obama?
But worse than what Republicans have not said, Mr. Axelrod added, is what Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have said: “a compendium of demonstrable lies,” including widely refuted claims that Mr. Obama is trying to end work requirements for welfare recipients and is “raiding” $716 billion from Medicare beneficiaries.
“The audacity of mendacity,” Mr. Axelrod called it, in a play on the title of Mr. Obama’s 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope.” He added, “It’s lying as a campaign strategy.”
The partisan operative’s critique was harsh even by the standards of the normal combat of presidential politics. But it is one that was echoed to some degree by a raft of nonpartisan fact-checking articles, commentary and editorial columns recently, especially on Thursday after Mr. Ryan, who generally has been credited as a straight-shooter throughout his career in the House of Representatives, in his prime-time convention speech on Wednesday night repeated some debunked claims by Mr. Romney and added a few widely disputed statements of his own.
Oh, wait…they’re fact checking Romney there. So where do they fact check Obama? The very last paragraph of the article:
“Sometimes they just make things up. But they’ve got a bunch of folks who can write $10 million checks, and they’ll just keep on running them,” he said. “I mean, somebody was challenging one of their ads — they made it up — about work and welfare. And every outlet said this is just not true. And they were asked about it and they said — one of their campaign people said, ‘We won’t have the fact-checkers dictate our campaign. We will not let the truth get in the way.’”
Mr. Obama was referring, as many other critics of the Romney campaign have, to a comment that its pollster, Neil Newhouse, made to reporters at the Republican convention on Tuesday, dismissive of those faulting the campaign’s television ads. What Mr. Newhouse actually said was, “These fact-checkers come to those ads with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs. We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”
Mr. Newhouse did not say, “We will not let the truth get in the way.”
They might also have fact checked his claim that “they’ve got a bunch of folks who can write $10 million checks…” — as if Obama doesn’t have bundlers who raise gobs of cash for him? As far as Obama “gutting” welfare, there is no doubt a certain amount of exaggeration in that statement. But when the president accuses Romney of “favoring” the rich, why doesn’t he get called out for similarly exaggerating Mr. Romney’s positions? The idea that Romney favors wealthy people is as big a lie as any that the GOP ticket is accused of making. Romney’s policies favor producers, so they can produce more and hire more workers to accomplish that. It is incidental that many producers happen to be wealthy. Romney’s plan also calls for closing loopholes that the rich use to avoid taxes. If he favored the wealthy, wouldn’t he support creating more tax loopholes for the rich?
It will be interesting to see these fact checkers in action during the Democratic convention next week.