Our View: Liar, liar, “pants on fire”

DKS Editors

With the election only 13 days away, many looked to the final presidential debate Monday night to make their final decision.

Sadly, the debate quickly turned into another catfight, with both candidates talking over each other and the moderator.

What is truly sad is that the candidates have been relying on lies to sway voters. In Monday’s debate, Mitt Romney had two major claims rated “pants on fire” and another claim rated “mostly false” by PolitiFact.com.

Romney claimed, “The president said by now we’d be at 5.4 percent unemployment.” This statement was rated mostly false because while the president did offer a projection that showed the jobless rate could fall to about 5.6 percent under a recovery plan, the economy was worse than what the economists who helped work on that projection knew. Also, it was never really a promise.

Romney also claimed that the Navy and Air Force are smaller than they were in 1917 and 1947 respectively. He used this to infer that the nation is at risk of losing its military superiority.

While Romney’s numbers were close to accurate, according to PolitiFact.com, it still received a “pants on fire” rating because the U.S. military “is the world’s unquestioned military leader today, not just because of the number of ships and aircraft in its arsenal but also because each is stocked with top-of-the-line technology and highly trained personnel.” Perhaps Obama’s comment of “we have fewer horses and bayonets” wasn’t as unfounded as it seemed.

Romney mentioned again that “the president began what I have called an apology tour.” Each time Romney makes this claim, PolitiFact.com rates it “pants on fire” because the research shows differently: “We found not a single, full-throated apology in the bunch. Calling those remarks ‘an apology tour’ is a ridiculous charge.”

Romney has also received the rating of “pants on fire” on 15 other statements he’s made over the course of his campaign—about 9 percent of all Romney statements reviewed by PolitiFact.com. About 16 percent of Romney’s statements have been rated “true”, 15 percent have been rated “mostly true” and 27 percent have been rated “half true.”

President Obama isn’t completely guiltless either. According to PolitiFact.com, Obama has had 7 ratings of “pants on fire,” which is about 2 percent of the comments that PolitiFact.com has fact-checked. About 22 percent of Obama’s remarks have been rated “true,” 23 percent have been rated “mostly true” and 26 percent have been rated “half-true.”

It’s disappointing that neither candidate can be completely straightforward and honest with the American people. We should be offended that the candidates don’t think voters deserve to know “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”