Will Media Report Biden's Exaggerations About Obama's Record?

It certainly isn't surprising that Barack Obama and his surrogates are going to need to exaggerate his scant accomplishments in the Senate in order to create the appearance that he's actually qualified for the most important job in the world.

However, an impartial media should be at the ready to point out to viewers and readers whenever claims are made that clearly stretch the truth.

If press members had been listening closely to Joe Biden's speech in Denver Wednesday evening, as well as to what he has said since being tapped as Obama's running mate, they would have found several juicy misrepresentations.

A number of these were pointed out by former Bush advisor Karl Rove in an article published in Thursday's Weekly Standard (emphasis added, photo courtesy AP):

Saturday and again Wednesday night, Mr. Biden also praised Mr. Obama for three specific legislative accomplishments. One of them was an ethics bill, called by Mr. Biden in his acceptance speech "the most sweeping in a generation." However, many critics--including Hillary Clinton--criticized it as weak. [...]

Saturday, Mr. Biden asserted Mr. Obama "made his mark literally from day one, reaching across the aisle to pass legislation to secure the world's deadliest weapons," a claim similar to one Mr. Obama made earlier in the campaign. Wednesday night, Mr. Biden was more expansive, claiming Mr. Obama was a leader "to pass a law that helps keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists." This implied a big, important controversial measure, passed with difficulty after the intervention of an extraordinary leader.

In reality, the Lugar-Obama Bill was passed on a voice vote on December 11, 2006. It was so routine, there was no recorded vote. The media didn't consider it important or controversial. Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post reported its Senate passage, though the Post ran a 798-word op-ed by Senators Lugar and Obama the week before it was approved. It was not the subject of a story on the CBS, ABC or NBC evening news--not when it passed, not when it was signed, not ever. [...]
Saturday, Biden proclaimed: "But I was proudest, I was proudest, when I watched him spontaneously focus the attention of the nation on the shameful neglect of America's wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Hospital." The problem for Mr. Biden (and the object of his praise, Mr. Obama) is the problems at Walter Reed were revealed in articles in the Washington Post, starting February 18, 2007. Unless Mr. Obama writes for the Washington Post under the nom de media of Anne Hull or Dana Priest, he didn't "spontaneously focus the attention of the nation." The two reporters did. The legislation to correct the shortcomings emerged from a Senate committee Mr. Obama doesn't serve on and he played no significant role in drafting or pushing it through the legislative. Mr. Obama is not the real hero of the Walter Reed turn-around, despite Mr. Biden's extravagant claims.

To be sure, Obama's Senate record is so thin that such exaggerations are going to be necessary to convince voters that he really has the experience required for the most important job in the land. 

The question is whether Obama-loving media members are going to do their jobs by pointing out the over-statements or just allow Barack, Joe, and their surrogates to say anything they want with total impunity.

Stay tuned.

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Weekly Standard
Noel Sheppard's picture


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