Politico's Maggie Haberman compiled a list of "2011's top political misstatements." Shamelessly, Politico published nine reported Republican misstatements (if you count Donald Trump), and the other one -- number one -- was about Obama. But just to make things perfect, Politico wasn't tagging Obama -- they were blaming Republicans for misstating what he stated. (UPDATE: On January 1 at 8:32 pm, Politico updated the piece, and the headline is now "Top 10 misstatements of the GOP primary".)
Does no one at Politico feel the need for even a head fake at balance? Does no one there think it might make you look like a DNC-financed rag to suggest the Republicans do all the noticeable fact-mangling? (Earlier in the week, Politico's "top political blunders of 2011" pinned only seven on Republicans.) Here's how Haberman made excuses for Obama:
Used by Mitt Romney and Rick Perry — including in an in-your-face ad from the Texas governor suggesting the president’s a “socialist” — the contention is that Obama said Americans are “lazy” to a foreign audience during an official trip.
What Obama actually said, in the context of pitching the U.S. as a good place to do business: “We’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.”
Obama was talking about an institutional problem, not about Americans themselves, but Romney and Perry both seized on the comment, which played in a 10-second soundbite over and over on conservative talk radio and on Fox News.
But in the YouTube/Twitter era, the way it was used mattered far more than what was actually said.
The rest of the list pegged two misstatements from Mitt Romney, two from Herman Cain, two from Newt Gingrich, and one each from Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and "Donald Trump's claims about Obama -- take your pick."