Gentlemen: Sometimes to your irritation, I have spent the past 16 months writing the Fact Checker column for The Washington Post, vetting the statements uttered by politicians in both parties. I know you don’t really like the Pinocchios I bestow on a regular basis to both of you for inaccurate or misleading remarks (except when they’re pinned on the other guy). But, based on the reader e-mails I receive every day, I can assure you that voters are hungry for clear, understandable prose — without spin, dissembling or hype.
So, with the presidential election looming in exactly six months, I would like to issue a challenge to you both: Give at least one campaign speech, on a substantive policy issue, lasting at least 15 minutes, that does not contain a single factual error or misstatement. That means no sugar-coating of your record, no exaggerated claims about your opponent’s record, and no assertions that are technically true but lack crucial context. If you do, not only would you win the ultimate Geppetto Checkmark — which I award on those rare occasions of complete accuracy — but you would earn the gratitude of the American people, who are eager for hard truths.