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Reply #40: But saying things are true [View All]

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Mabeline Donating Member (210 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-05-04 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #34
40. But saying things are true
that aren't is....

The Whoppers of 2004

Bush and Kerry repeat discredited claims in their final flurry of ads. Here's our pre-election summary of the misinformation we found during the Bush-Kerry presidential campaign.

As election day neared, both candidates continued to twist and falsify in their final TV ads -- and in a blizzard of expensive mail as well.

Bush continued to accuse Kerry of proposing government-run health care and more taxes for middle-income persons, and of voting in the past to "slash" spending on intelligence and of opposing mainstream military weapons. Kerry claimed Bush would cut Social Security benefits 45% and that he subsidizes companies that send jobs overseas. And those are just some of the untruths the candidates are feeding to voters.

In this article we again take on those claims, and summarize the major misrepresentations made by both sides since the start of the general election campaign last March when Kerry sewed up the Democratic nomination.

We haven't addressed every false or misleading statement in the campaign -- there were too many of them and our resources are too limited for that. But here we present a summary of what we consider our most important findings, with special emphasis on the misinformation being most heavily repeated in the final days before the election. For the full record of our work please refer to the earlier articles on the home page and in our archive.

Bush: "Government-run Health Care"

Bush continued to misrepresent Kerry's health-care proposal in a series of ads and mailings, telling voters that Kerry would take health-care decisions out of the hands of doctors and have "bureaucrats in Washington" making them instead.

Actually, 97% of those who now have health insurance would keep the coverage they have under Kerry's plan, according to a neutral, authoritative study by the Lewin Group. Kerry's very expensive plan would also extend coverage to as many as 27 million persons who currently lack insurance, largely by expanding current forms of Medicaid coverage to children and workers farther up the income scale. Even the conservative, pro-Bush Wall Street Journal editorial page stated that Kerry wasn't seeking to impose the sort of health-care program proposed by the Clintons in 1993, exactly contrary to the picture Bush attempts to paint.

Wall Street Journal Editorial (Oct 29): What is the Kerry Persuasion? For starters, it is not radical. Nothing in Mr. Kerry's record as Senator or as Democratic nominee gives us reason to suspect that as President he would seek dramatically to alter the basic contours of American life. On the economy, that means no HillaryCare, . . .

Kerry: "A Plan To Cut Security Benefits"

A new Kerry ad that began airing late last week repeats this falsehood even more starkly than at first, claiming Bush and his Republican supporters "were hoping to keep it a secret" that they "are planning to privatize Social Security after the election" and that the plan "cuts Social Security benefits by 30 to 45 percent." It repeats: "Bush and the Republicans, a plan to cut Social Security benefits."

Actually, Bush has repeatedly said he won't cut benefits for anyone currently receiving them, or about to start getting them. His intention to create private Social Security accounts is certainly no "secret" since he talked about that during the campaign four years ago, and in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention in early September. Furthermore, Bush hasn't proposed any specific plan as yet. The "cut" the ad refers to is an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office of the effect of holding starting benefit levels at current levels adjusted only for inflation, rather than pushing them up each year in line with wages as has been done since 1977. For persons born in this decade -- most of whom haven't yet been born -- the CBO figured starting benefits at retirement could be as much as 45% less than under the current formula. Furthermore, doing away with wage-indexing could be done with or without private accounts. It was just one feature of one of three "model" plans put forth by a bipartisan commission Bush set up. Bush hasn't endorsed any of the model plans, nor has he called for dropping wage-indexing.

For full details see "Kerry Falsely Claims Bush Plans To Cut Social Security Benefits" from Oct. 18.

(Note: There are other problematic statements in this ad and the others shown here. We criticize only the portion bold-faced in the scripts, but that shouldn't be taken as endorsement of the rest.)

Bush: "Higher Taxes"

In one of his final ads Bush characterizes the choice between himself and Kerry as one between "tax relief" and "higher taxes."

That is certainly true for anyone making more than $200,000 a year, but false for the great majority.

Kerry has stated unambiguously that he would not increase taxes on anyone making less than $200,000 and is promising additional, targeted tax breaks for some who fall into that category. Bush has systematically distorted, exaggerated and misstated Kerry's record on taxes since the start of the campaign. Initially, his spokesmen accused Kerry of casting 350 votes to raise taxes, which was flatly false. Bush and his ads used the same figure phrased in a duplicitous way, saying Kerry voted 350 times for "higher" taxes, which was misleading because most of those votes were to keep taxes the same -- opposing proposed cuts. Later the Bush campaign retreated to a less indefensible claim, saying Kerry cast 98 votes to "raise" taxes, but even that figure is puffed up by including 43 votes on budget bills that only set targets without actually legislating higher taxes, and as many as 16 votes on a single tax bill. In fact, we found Kerry's voting record to be generally consistent with his promise to raise taxes on those earning the most money.

For details, see "Bush accuses Kerry of 350 votes for 'higher taxes.' Higher than what?" from March 24, and "Bush Still Fudging the Numbers on Kerry's Tax Votes" from August 30. (Also see below for Bush's mischaracterizations of Kerry's positions on taxing gasoline and Social Security).

Just to name a few...


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