McCain's Claims Skirt Facts - AP, By Charles Babbington
Well, at least he was against dishonesty before he was for it:
Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a self-proclaimed tell-it-like-it-is maverick, keeps saying his running mate, Sarah Palin, killed the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere when, in fact, she pulled her support only after the project became a political embarrassment. He said Friday that Palin never asked for money for lawmakers' pet projects as Alaska governor, even though she has sought nearly $200 million in earmarks this year. He says Obama would raise nearly everyone's taxes, when independent groups say 80 percent of families would get tax cuts instead.
Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain's skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Obama's campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.
McCain's persistence in pushing dubious claims is all the more notable because many political insiders consider him one of the greatest living victims of underhanded campaigning. Locked in a tight race with George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, McCain was rocked in South Carolina by a whisper campaign claiming he had fathered an illegitimate black child and was mentally unstable.
Shaken by the experience, McCain denounced less-than-truthful campaigning. Vowing to live up to his "straight talk" motto, he apologized for his reluctance to criticize the flying of the Confederate flag at South Carolina's state Capitol in a bid forvotes. When the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked the military record of Democrat and fellow Navy officer John Kerry in 2004, McCain called the ads "dishonest and dishonorable."
Now, top aides to McCain include Steve Schmidt, who has close ties to Karl Rove, Bush's premier political adviser in 2000.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I guess? How sad. How far the mighty have fallen.