Obama's New Ads Fail Scutiny and Honesty Tests
by susanhu, Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 07:21:58 PM EST
[NOTE: I am combining two articles I wrote today for this blog's two-per-day diary restrictions. Both are on Obama's new ads, one about lobbying, the other about health care plans.]
PAID LOBBYISTS CONFLICT WITH OBAMA'S SPIN
[In a new ad] titled "Listening," Obama says he is "in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over."
He goes on to claim "I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists-and I have won." -- The Baltimore Sun's blog, The Swamp.
Uh huh. Yeah, right. Here's a reality check:"ABC News reports that an ad the Obama campaign released yesterday on lobbying reform excised a quote in which 'Obama promised to ban lobbyists from working in his White House -- a pledge the Illinois Democrat seemed to have backed off from earlier this month'." (TPM) Also check out, "ABC News: Obama Ad Omits Lobbyist Reference." Then there's the just-posted report from the NYT's The Caucus that a month after Obama promised there'd be NO lobbyists in his White House, "he later amended his position, saying that lobbyists would not 'dominate' his White House."
History Can Be a Bitch: "Barack Obama may be talking the talk on the campaign trail as he attacks special interests and lobbyists in Washington,"noted ABC News's The Blotter in July, "but last year Senator Obama introduced bills-at the request of lobbyists-that would save foreign companies millions in customs fees and duties."
Then There's Reality, Again, Chomping Up Those Fine Words: There are "Lobbyists on Obama's '08 payroll,"reportsThe Hill. "Three political aides on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) payroll were registered lobbyists for dozens of corporations, including Wal-Mart, British Petroleum and Lockheed Martin, while they received payments from his campaign, according to public documents." That's right. Obama has paid lobbyists who are "double dipping" while his campaign tries to deny it.
No wonder Obama excised his remarks from a speech used in the new TV ads:
A new television ad released Friday by the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., uses excerpts from a well-received November speech by the candidate in which he attacked corporate lobbyists.
But the campaign notably excised from the excerpt one mid-sentence clause in which Obama promised to ban lobbyists from working in his White House -- a pledge the Illinois Democrat seemed to have backed off from earlier this month.
The ommission, first reported by ABC News Saturday morning, provided an opportunity for Obama's rival, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., to make that very pledge to ban lobbyists from working in his White House on Saturday afternoon.
The Obama campaign insisted the cut was made purely for time, and not because the senator had been called out on over-reaching rhetoric.
"It was a 30-minute speech and a 60-second ad, so of course we had to make cuts," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. "Sen. Obama has the strongest record and the furthest reaching proposals when it comes to curbing the influence of special interests and lobbyists of any candidate in this race."
By making that cut, however, the Obama campaign, in the last week before the crucial Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, risks focusing attention on an issue that can be used to portray the senator as just another politician.
After the ommission was reported on ABCNews.com, Edwards pounced. Sensing an opportunity to differentiate himself from Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and in particular from Obama, with whom he is competing for Iowa caucus-goers, Edwards called a press conference in which he made the pledge Obama seemed to have backed away from. ... Read all at ABC News.
John Edwards is having too much fun with this. See also the new post at the NYT blog.
Edwards' fun aside, Obama and Axelrod are doing a lot of explainin'.
OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE ADS FAIL SCRUTINY AND HONESTY TESTS
Obama's new health care commercial, running in Iowa, "misrepresents some newspaper assessments of the Illinois Democrat's proposal," reveals a careful analysis in the WaPo, "Incomplete Picture in New Obama Health Care Ad." Here are a couple examples:
The ad says the Obama plan "guarantees coverage for all Americans." But the on-screen citation -- from the St. Paul Pioneer Press -- is truncated in a questionable way in comparing the proposal to those offered by Sen. Hillary Clinton and former senator John Edwards. The full quote reads: "Edwards and Clinton would require all Americans to have health insurance. Obama's plan guarantees coverage for all Americans but does not require all to have it." [...]
The ad says the Obama plan "guarantees coverage for all Americans." But the on-screen citation -- from the St. Paul Pioneer Press -- is truncated in a questionable way in comparing the proposal to those offered by Sen. Hillary Clinton and former senator John Edwards. The full quote reads: "Edwards and Clinton would require all Americans to have health insurance. Obama's plan guarantees coverage for all Americans but does not require all to have it." (Read all examples of inaccuracies in the ad.)
Worse, Obama has resorted to robocalling with an ethically iffy,factually dishonest script narrated by a doctor in Ames, Iowa, who has the "audacity" to say that, "Barack Obama's plan will cover everyone." Which it won't. Every single analyst who has looked at Obama's plan knows his plan does not cover all people, only children -- Obama's plan leaves out 15,000,000 people. All experts also say that if a plan doesn't cover everyone, it'll cost too much. Ask Paul Krugman:
Imagine this: It's the summer of 2009, and President Barack Obama is about to unveil his plan for universal health care. But his health policy experts have done the math, and they've concluded that the plan really needs to include a requirement that everyone have health insurance -- a so-called mandate.
Without a mandate, they find, the plan will fall far short of universal coverage. Worse yet, without a mandate health insurance will be much more expensive than it should be for those who do choose to buy it.
But Mr. Obama knows that if he tries to include a mandate in the plan, he'll face a barrage of misleading attacks from conservatives who oppose universal health care in any form. And he'll have trouble responding -- because he made the very same misleading attacks on Hillary Clinton and John Edwards during the race for the Democratic nomination. ... Read all of "The Mandate Muddle" by Paul Krugman, NYTimes columnist and economics professor.
Shamelessly, Obama is still spreading falsehoods about his plan, and smearing Edwards' and Clinton's plans, on December 30. And with robocalls.
Spreading the same falsehoods this late in the game, against both Edwards and Clinton, is a sign of desperation.
Why desperation? Taylor Marsh has some great insights and observations about recent polling and trends: "Maybe that's why when you look at things as they stand right now, Edwards is rising, as is Clinton, but Obama has taken a decided downturn. As Obama has gotten more scrutiny lately, he's just not wearing all that well ..." Read all of "IOWA: Obama Down, Edwards Rises."