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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Johnson Factchecks Himself – Loses

This is almost funny. When a candidate posts their own “factchecks,” the first impression I get is that they are disputing "claims" made in the media or by the opposition. Not so with GOP senate candidate Ron Johnson.
Johnson Campaign Excerpt:

Claim: “Johnson willing to ‘horse trade’ mortgage interest deduction.”

Truth: This claim was made following an interview with WKOW’s Bob Schaper. During the interview, Johnson stated his willingness to “take a look at all of the options in terms of how you simplify taxes.” Johnson supports the mortgage interest deduction, but stated a willingness to explore a variety of options to reduce the tax burden and simplify our tax code. Johnson’s response was a far cry from any assertion that he would specifically look to “horse trade” mortgage interest deductions and simply an inaccurate claim.
Johnson refers to this as a dubious "claim," when in reality it is his own actual quote published in its intended context. It was Johnson himself who introduced "horse trading" the mortgage interest deduction as an option to do away with it among options he would consider. That of course means he's willing to do it.
WKOW Excerpt:
We asked if that applied to home mortgage interest deductions, and whether that popular program should be eliminated. Johnson said his goal is to lower taxes and simplify the tax code, and, as part of that, he wouldn't rule out doing away with the interest deduction."
Even taken in the broad definition Johnson now claims he said it in, in his Factcheck, he still supports the notion that he's willing to ‘horse trade’ the mortgage interest deduction, as an option.
Johnson Campaign Excerpt:

Claim: Johnson believes sunspots are the cause of global warming.

Truth: Johnson’s quote was used in the broader context of his argument against passing legislation such as cap and trade that would raises taxes and put tens of thousands out of work in Wisconsin. Several reports however focused only on a single remark rather than the true intent of the answer.

Johnson’s full quote read: “I absolutely do not believe that the science of man-caused climate change is proven. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s far more likely that it’s just sun spot activity or something just in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate.” He later went on to say that “We would just penalize our economy tremendously and for the state of Wisconsin it would be extremely harmful.” (Ron Johnson, Interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board, 8/16/10)
Again, Johnson fact checks the "claim" by confirming its true, "it’s far more likely that it’s just sun spot activity or something." No argument here.

I might be giving Johnson too much credit by saying his fact checks are an attempt by his campaign to confuse voters. Johnson basically starts an argument for the sake of argument saying, "no, I did say that. Stop slinging mud."

The lesson learned here is just because he fact checks himself, doesn’t mean he’s disputing his claims - he's disputing everybody else for repeating them. How’s that for the ultimate in smug counter-flip-floppency.

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