“We’ve gotten a little more wimpy today about what is an attack,” Goodwin concluded.
Indeed, 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 may have muttered under their breath).
Instead, President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney attacked each for various sins of prevarication in a more gentlemanly way.
Despite the euphemisms, the message was clear. Here are snippets in which each candidate strongly suggested that his opponent was playing most 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.”
●“You’re wrong . . . ”
●“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.”
Maps are stupid things
Speaking of the debate, the fact checkers went wild when Mitt Romney said once again that “Syria is Iran’s . . . route to the sea.” Team Obama doubtless was elated by the geographical goof.
But at the Loop we felt disheartened, even a bit defeated. We tried so hard back in February to get Romney to stop saying that.
Iran, as most anyone knows, has direct access to waterways, we pointed out back then, with about 1,100 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Oman and the entire northern coastline of the Persian Gulf. (Remember how Iran’s always threatening to close the vital Strait of Hormuz?)
Worse yet, Iran doesn’t even share a border with Syria, so this “route to the sea” means going overland through Iraq and then Syria to get to the Mediterranean. The journey from Tehran to Damascus is about 1,000 miles.
And once the Iranians get there, they’ll find Syria has only a measly 111 miles of coastline.
In March, after Romney had said the “route to the sea” stuff five more times, Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler
weighed in but didn’t think it “worthy of a Pinocchio rating — unless we create a category for weird language.”
Well, we did our best.
Seems so long ago
Even more from Boca: Former president George W. Bush, after a brief comeback to visibility in the 2012 campaign, faded once again from view in Monday night’s debate.