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How Many Distortions And Falsehoods Can Mary Matalin Tell In Three Minutes?

Reported by Ellen - March 6, 2008 -

I stopped counting but the list includes Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's positions on NAFTA, McCain's flip-flops on torture, taxes and immigration, and public support for McCain on the issues. All this in one brief interview on Hannity & Colmes. With video.

From Alan Colmes' portion of an interview with Republican operative Mary Matalin on the 3/5/08 Hannity & Colmes:

* Matalin claimed that both Obama and Clinton “completely capitulated on NAFTA,” that both candidates previously, before campaigning in Ohio that “(NAFTA) has been an enormous benefit to this country.”

Fact check: In 2004, Clinton said: "I think on balance NAFTA has been good for New York and America," adding, "but I also think that there are a number of areas where we're not dealt with in an upfront way in dealing with our friend to the north, Canada, which seems to be able to come up with a number of rationales for keeping New York agricultural products out of Canada." In other words, she was not a whole-hearted supporter. In 2004, Obama was described by the Washington Times as “a critic of NAFTA.” His criticisms were also published in the Chicago Sun-Times, Economist, and by Associated Press.

During the interview, Colmes noted that neither Democrat had changed their positions on NAFTA but that McCain had changed his position on immigration, torture, and the Bush tax cuts.

* Matalin replied, “No, no, no, no, Alan. We’re not gonna have a campaign like this where you’re gonna mischaracterize.”

Fact check: From a March 3, 2008 article in The New York Times:

Mr. McCain, who derided his onetime Republican competitor Mitt Romney for his political mutability, has himself meandered over the years from position to position on some topics, particularly as he has tried to court the conservatives who have long distrusted him. His most striking turnaround has been on the Bush tax cuts, which he voted against twice but now wants to make permanent. Mr. McCain has also expressed varying positions on immigration, torture, abortion and Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former defense secretary.

* Matalin told Colmes, "Right now, John McCain is getting twice as many Democrats as Barack Obama’s getting Republicans. They’re all splitting the independents but John McCain is winning on every single issue except for health care, and he hasn’t laid out his plan yet."

Fact check: A March 6, 2008 article in the Washington Post, called, “Both Obama and Clinton Hold Edge Over McCain,” states:

Both Democrats are buoyed by moderates and independents when going head to head with McCain and benefit from sustained negative public assessments of President Bush and the war in Iraq.

About two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job and think the war was not worth fighting, and most hold those positions "strongly." A slim majority also doubt that the United States is making progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq, even as McCain and others extol recent successes there.

… Obama also leads McCain on four of the six top issues in the poll: health care, immigration, ethics in government and voters' No. 1 concern, the economy.