COMMENTS: Factchecking the Distractions

So yes, the networks' campaign correspondents were duly distracted. ABC's Jake Tapper described the lipstick brouhaha and concluded that McCain's webvideo "flatly and falsely accused Obama of calling Palin a pig." CBS' Reality Check had Bill Plante assert that "Obama had not mentioned Palin" when he mentioned lipstick. NBC's Andrea Mitchell was categorical too: "Obama was talking about McCain and the Republican change argument."

Lipstick on a Pig is the title of a book written by McCain's former spokeswoman Torie Clark about the spinmistress' art, NBC anchor Brian Williams reminded us. It was a phrase McCain himself used last year to criticize Hillary Rodham Clinton's healthcare proposal, NBC's Mitchell added. Nevertheless, she noted, McCain would not let go. She aired his soundbite on Telemundo: "Senator Obama's recent comments about lipstick on a pig" was his example of the negativism he "hates most" about campaigning.

CBS checked out two more ads produced by McCain. Chip Reid showed us the visuals of a pack of wolves racing through a snowy forest to illustrate "a mini army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers" dispatched to Alaska to "dig dirt on Governor Palin." Reid quoted Democrats calling that "a flat out, absolute fabrication." Bill Plante looked into the claim that Obama endorsed "comprehensive sex education to kindergarteners" when he was an Illinois legislator. Plante offered Obama's explanation of its "age and developmentally appropriate" provision: "The point was to help parents teach their children how to deal with sexual predators."


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