Friday, September 19, 2008

To Tell The Truth

This is instructive.

The McCain camp has run another anti-Obama ad, this one referencing Fannie Mae, former Clinton budget director Franklin Raines, and Barack Obama.

I think it's a pretty good ad, though I think that there's room for harsher ones on the same topic. Obama's initial choice to head his VP search committee was James Johnson, also a recent CEO of Fannie Mae.

What's instructive, however, is the Obama campaign's response.
This is another flat-out lie from a dishonorable campaign that is increasingly incapable of telling the truth. Frank Raines has never advised Senator Obama about anything — ever...
- Obama Spokesman Bill Burton

That has been their first response to everything. That was their response to McCain's sex-ed ad, and the ad was true.

But go back and watch the ad again. The ad does not state that Raines advised Obama. It says that:
Obama has no background in economics.

Who advises him?

The Post says it's Franklin Raines, for "advice on mortgage and housing policy."

Well, guess what? That statement is true.
In the four years since he stepped down as Fannie Mae's chief executive under the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, Franklin D. Raines has been quietly constructing a new life for himself. He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case's D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.
- On the Outside Now, Watching Fannie Falter, Washington Post, 7/16/08

Whether the Post was right or wrong, the McCain ad is clearly not a lie.

But the Obama campaign's devotion to, and love of, the truth is somewhat ... flexible

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