Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 3, 2008

PRE-SURGE LEVELS.... If you've been watching the campaign for a while, you may recall back in May, when John McCain announced his belief that U.S. troops in Iraq "have drawn down to pre-surge levels." McCain, of course, was wrong, and took a fair amount of heat from the Obama campaign for the error. When pressed, instead of simply acknowledging the mistake, the McCain campaign insisted the senator was right, just so long as we overlook "the tense of the verb."

Sarah Palin probably wasn't following the race closely at the time -- other than, of course, reading "all" newspapers -- because in last night's debate, she made the exact same mistake: "[W]ith the surge that has worked we're now down to pre-surge numbers in Iraq."

Fox News' Carl Cameron sat down with Palin this morning and asked about her obvious error. Cameron told viewers that Palin "did not apologize, nor did she retract her assertion that U.S. forces in Iraq are at pre-surge levels."

And that continues to be what separates the McCain/Palin campaign from every other campaign I can think of. Most of the time, when confronted with an error, a candidate will say he or she misspoke and then pivot to the larger point. Not these guys. Palin, confronted with an error, apparently believes, "I've decided I like my version of reality better, truth be damned."

This isn't a trick question. Indeed, it's just arithmetic. Just before the surge policy was implemented, there were 132,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. As of September 2008, the number was 146,000. Even for Sarah Palin, 146,000 is not less than 132,000.

Bush did recently announce that by February 2009, an additional 8,000 U.S. troops would leave Iraq, but I'm afraid that doesn't help Palin's case -- 146,000 minus 8,000 equals 138,000. And, you guessed it, 138,000 is still not less than 132,000.

Note to Palin: just acknowledge when you make a mistake. It'll be embarrassing for a little while, but it's what grown-ups do.

Steve Benen 2:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

Apparently Gov. Palin's media research includes Mythbusters:

I reject your reality and substitute my own.

Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on October 3, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Cameron's last line was hilarious, though..."which is mathematically arguably not the case."

MATHEMATICALLY ARGUABLY???? Are you serious?

Posted by: radical centrist on October 3, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Truthy arithmetic.

Posted by: dr2chase on October 3, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

The ending of the video clip is typical of the "let's see what the other side says" approach to journalism:
something that mathematically is arguably not the case

Arguably?

Posted by: CarloP on October 3, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Doggone it, it is too General McClellan!"

Posted by: steve duncan on October 3, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

When your 'boss' (McCain, not your hubby) says on a recorded interview with sentient newspapaper editors (Des Moines Register) that he always says 100% truth - and the facts demonstrate the reverse - Palin probably can't be held to a higher standard since that would make McCain look even more untruthful and/or demented.

An occasional non-truth or exageration can be expected from political campaigns. But when a campaign is built on black/white contradictions issued within hours of each other, we are well into Orwell's Newspeak. At least Orwell's world had a bureau that destroyed all evidence of the previous truth before proclaiming the new truth. McCain doesn't even care to clean up the lies: it often looks like they don't even know anymore what is true and what is false because they ping-pong from one to the other with such speed that the head swivels of 360 degrees come with such regularity.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR on October 3, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you forgot the "gosh darn it, and durn tootin" as part of your faux Palin quote.

And the last time McCain was a maverick was when he bet red instead of black when he dropped $10K in a casino.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on October 3, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Pretty girls like her can say wateeeeeever they want, but if you point out that it's only because of their looks, you're sexist.

Posted by: slappy magoo on October 3, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Even for Sarah Palin, 146,000 is not less than 132,000."

You sure about that? Republicans have their own system of mathematics. As Karl Rove's math in 2006 shows, it doesn't work very well. In fact, it usually produces the opposite results. But let's face it you cannot credibly argue that Republicans are more fiscally responsible unless you can claim that negative numbers are greater than positive numbers. So they just make up a new math that says that's the case.

Posted by: fostert on October 3, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

And to think if I had used republican logic I could have got all "A's " in math

Posted by: John R on October 3, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Math is hard.

Posted by: do on October 3, 2008 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Note to Palin: just acknowledge when you make a mistake. It'll be embarrassing for a little while, but it's what grown-ups do.
---

I love the suggestion that she'd be embarrassed by this faux pas.

This woman has been subjected to national ridicule over the course of "just over five weeks?"

As she said, You (Biden) nor the moderator may like her answers, she is speaking to the American people. Frankly, I didn't care for them either.

The most insulting was the "waving the white flag of surrender" comment. Not only is it so 2004, but it is the type of comment that has prevented this nation from having any real conversation. This from the mavericky duo with a history of reaching across the isle. Please!

Posted by: TBone on October 3, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Note to Palin: just acknowledge when you make a mistake. It'll be embarrassing for a little while, but it's what grown-ups do.

Why would she when her more experienced partner on the ticket won't? The perfect analogy for the McInsane campaign is when he drew a brain fart when someone mentioned Spain PM Zapatero. Rather than admit his mistake, and say he thought the questioner was referring to someone else, McInsane insisted he knew the questioner was referring to the Spain PM, and held out that he wouldn't meet with this ally.

It's bizarre, petulant and childish behavior. Never admit you're wrong, no matter the evidence, and no matter that your story is far worse than the truth!

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on October 3, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, pshaw! 14thou here, 14thou there... All within the margin of error and, besides, the nasty gubmint will make up the difference.

Posted by: exlibra on October 3, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

This from the mavericky duo with a history of reaching across the isle.

And of course, when asked the final question about "how would you reach across the aisle" and help heal all the polarization and partisanship, she answered by attacking the Democrats.

Is anyone seriously falling for this crap?

Posted by: DH Walker on October 3, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Is anyone seriously falling for this crap?
Only those who had already made up their minds they were going to do so.

Posted by: Ducktape on October 3, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Only those who had already made up their minds they were going to do so.

See, that's the thing. I don't think of people like that as remotely serious.

Posted by: DH Walker on October 3, 2008 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Since Palin doesn't do any research on her own, all her "facts" are fed to her by her handlers. She's already been programmed to only do what her handlers tell her. Even a statement from friendly FOX news is not "truth" unless a handler says it's OK. The "wink" is to reassure her base that all this is just bullshit, and she'll do whatever the handlers tell her. As long as she can "be the boss", make lots of money, give some cushy jobs to her buddies and make life miserable for any subordinate who dares offer advice or disagree, she'll never step out of line. It's all fundie base dog-whistle.

Posted by: jward23 on October 3, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but Steve, to correct herself, she would have to KNOW she was wrong. It is obvious that when it comes to national and international affairs, all she knows is what Steve Schmidt and Tyler Eskew and the rest of the partisan pseudo-reality creators shove in her head.

Posted by: Brian on October 3, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but Steve, to correct herself, she would have to KNOW she was wrong.

And for that, she'd have to CARE whether or not she was wrong. This is a defect of the entire campaign, and Palin fits right in.

Posted by: DH Walker on October 3, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK


Carl Cameron ACTUALLY acts like a REAL journalist for once!

Posted by: ctrenta on October 3, 2008 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

John McCain is a maverick. He doesn't have to accept that 3 is greater than 1. To him sometimes 1 is the greatest number of all. But, mostly he and Sarah Palin are of the opinion and lead the group that believes numbers are bad. Numbers must be shrunk down to where they could be divided by a hand calculator.

John McCain is mavericky with regard to numbers. He doesn't understand them and therefore considers them irrelevant. Besides, they have a liberal bias. Damn Liberal Mathematicians.

We can't trust John McCain to know how many houses he's got because he doesn't believe in numbers.

This message brought to you by McCain-Palin 'POW

Posted by: MarkH on October 4, 2008 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

It really is odd. The Republicans just don't seem to get the fact that if you admit to a mistake, your opponents can't keep hitting you over the head with it. Admitting a mistake disarms your enemies. Stupid.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on October 4, 2008 at 5:45 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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