The Record Blog



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Claire McCaskill, Liar?

[ Patrick Tuohey ]

On a lazy summer day in 2011, Sen. Claire McCaskill let fly a press release in which she said,

We must protect our nation’s seniors from ending Medicare as they know it, and forcing them to cover the rising costs of healthcare, even if they don’t have the means to do so. While it’s crucial we focus on deficit reduction, this proposal to destroy Medicare is irresponsible and unacceptable.

Missouri Democrats, taking a cue from their Washington overlords, parroted the attack, using the phrase,"Republican Plan to end Medicare" at least ten different times on their website.

Except, according to PolitiFact, the charge that Republicans were trying to end Medicare isn't true. According to a story on their site,

PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members.

Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.

PolitiFact, a project of the St. Petersburg Times, listed three specific examples of Democratic overreach:

They ignored the fact that the Ryan plan would not affect people currently in Medicare -- or even the people 55 to 65 who would join the program in the next 10 years.

They used harsh terms such as "end" and "kill" when the program would still exist, although in a privatized system.

They used pictures and video of elderly people who clearly were too old to be affected by the Ryan plan. The DCCC video that aired four days after the vote featured an elderly man who had to take a job as a stripper to pay his medical bills.

The story also contains a quote from Jason Peuquet, a policy analyst with the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

In terms of creating a national conversation about fiscal reform, the last thing we need is demagoguing attacks against people who have put forward serious policy proposals. It’s very worrying.

We don't expect our friends over at FiredUpMissouri.com to themselves promote "serious policy proposals;" their charge is to tow a partisan pro-Carnahan Democratic line. And they did so in this case, promoting the "end Medicare" trope at ever opportunity.

But the writers at FiredUp know better. They rely on PolitiFact often, or at least when it fits their political agenda.  They even cited PolitiFact's 2010 Lie of the Year the day after it was announced.

Given that PolitiFact announced this year's lie today, we eagerly await FiredUp's post on the matter. Heck, we're eager to learn of McCaskill's response, too.

12/20/2011 4:47:38 PM

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