Not once were the words “lie” or “liar” uttered during Monday night’s presidential debate (at least audibly; we can’t vouch for what the candidates might have muttered under their breath). And everyone refrained from cries of “pants on fire.”
But still, accusations of untruth abounded. Or, to use milder language, both President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney attacked one another for various sins of prevarication — perhaps even a soupcon of subterfuge.
Despite the gentlemanly euphemisms, the message was clear. Here are snippets from the debate in which each candidate strongly suggested that his opponent was playing fast and loose with the facts.
“I don’t concur with what the president said about my own record and the things that I’ve said. They don’t happen to be accurate.”
“You got that fact wrong.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“The math doesn’t work, but he continues to claim that he’s going to do it.”
“This has been probably the biggest whopper that’s been told during the course of this campaign. And every fact checker and every reporter who’s looked at it, Governor, has said this is not true.”
“And the fact is...”
“Governor Romney, that’s not what you said...”
“Let’s check the record.”
“The fact of the matter is...”
“I think anybody out there can check the record. Governor Romney, you keep on trying to, you know airbrush history here...That wasn’t true.”
“No, I am not wrong. I am not wrong”