- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Hillary Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
Candidate mistakes muddy the race
While Henry Kissinger” href=”/themes/?Theme=Henry+Kissinger” >Henry A. Kissinger traveled to China twice before President Nixon’s famous visit in 1972, it’s tough to argue that represents the “many times” John McCain” href=”/themes/?Theme=John+McCain” >Sen. John McCain claimed during Friday night’s presidential debate that the then-national security adviser visited the communist state.
And a scholar of the Middle East says Barack Obama” href=”/themes/?Theme=Barack+Obama” >Sen. Barack Obama may have slipped when he indicated there had been a history of violence between Sunnis and Shi’ites in Iraq before the current war.
There were no big whoppers, but each candidate in the first presidential debate made his share of mistakes, flubs and fact-shaving, helping muddy what for many voters must seem an already murky campaign.
Mr. Obama was briefly stumped by the name of the fallen U.S. soldier whose bracelet he wears, while Mr. McCain stumbled over the name of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and got wrong the name of the new Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, calling him “Kadari.”
“Let’s be clear: earmarks account for $18 billion in last year’s budget,” Mr. Obama said, arguing they are important but pale in comparison to the size of the budget deficit. But Mr. McCain said that figure doesn’t actually capture the true extent of earmarks.
“It’s a lot more than $18 billion in pork-barrel spending. I can tell you it’s rife. It’s throughout,” Mr. McCain said. He also said earmarks have “tripled in the last five years.”
The problem is that there’s no standard definition of what constitutes an earmark, much less which earmarks should be given the pejorative label of pork-barrel spending. The Office of Management and Budget says there were 11,524 earmarks in fiscal year 2008 for a total of $16.5 billion, while Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a watchdog group that produces the annual “Congressional Pig Book,” counted 11,610 projects for a total of $17.2 billion.
Complicating matters, some lawmakers use statistics from the Congressional Research Service to argue that the totals are far higher - as much as $64 billion in fiscal year 2006. By comparison, CAGW calculated earmarks at $29 billion in 2006.
But no matter the figure, Mr. McCain’s assertion that earmarks have tripled is inaccurate. CAGW said there were 9,362 earmarks in 2003 for a total of $22.5 billion, meaning the number has risen 24 percent while the dollar amount has actually fallen 24 percent.
On foreign policy, where the debate was complicated and extensive, a scholar says Mr. Obama got it wrong when he blasted Mr. McCain as naive for saying there hadn’t been a history of Sunni-Shi’ite violence in Iraq.
Reidar Visser, a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, writing at historiae.org, called that “an unfounded attack on Iraq’s record of coexistence.”
Still, for purposes of fact-checking, it helps when the referee is a supporter - as was the case when Mr. Obama said Mr. Kissinger has called for talks with Iranian leaders without precondition, backing up Mr. Obama’s vow to meet as president with rogue foreign leaders.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Congress bans taxpayer funding for political conventions
- Intelligence chairwoman accuses CIA of intimidation, snooping on Congress
- CPAC 2014: Poll shows GOP discontent, Congress frustration
- U.S. has lost track of tens of thousands of foreign students who came study to then took jobs
- Border Patrol Chief: Agents can still shoot at rock throwers
Latest Blog Entries
Virginia homosexuals attempt to bully McAuliffe's choice of Jones for party chief
- House Democrats trying to force unemployment insurance vote
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS after months of talks
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- Redskins keeping Santana Moss, agree to terms with two others
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again