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Tuesday, April 29, 2008 

Blunder of the Century

After Sen. John McCain made his now-infamous "100 years" statement on Iraq, our reaction was that all the Democratic presidential candidate would need to defeat him would be to burn McCain's words into the voters' minds. The landscape has changed since then, with the economy taking center stage, but the idea remains the same: the American people will not vote for someone who wants us to be in Iraq for a century. In an astute move by the DNC, it made and began airing this ad, which uses audio and video of John McCain's own words. For the GOP, however, this is misleading.
"Clearly, this ad is just another attempt by the DNC to mischaracterize and distort Senator McCain’s positions and statements," Duncan said in a statement. "It is unquestionable that the DNC is deliberately misleading the American people about what Senator McCain actually said. I hope that any network would consider their responsibility to protect the American people from deliberately false and misleading content."
If you take a look at the Hotline article, the RNC threatens to sue the DNC. Now, we aren't lawyers, but we're not clear on exactly how it's against the law to run such an ad, no matter how "misleading" or even outright false it might be. It's called the First Amendment, folks.

Late last night, Josh Marshall picked up on another angle of the story, finding an instance of the AP's having taken the RNC's bait hook, line, and sinker.

Politics has always involved dishonesty, if not outright falsehoods. Both sides are guilty of this, and there's no legal remedy because of the First Amendment, save in cases of actual defamation. What's really amazing about this story is that the RNC is trying to spin the verbatim replaying of John McCain's own words as "false," and trying to scare off the DNC with threats of legal action. No court in the country would enjoin the ad's airing due to its content, and by even raising the issue so publicly the RNC earns free exposure for the ad.

If the GOP is this desperate in April over John McCain's actual, verbatim statements, it's going to be a highly entertaining election season. They'd better find some other way to neutralize this disastrous position, because it's an awfully tough sell to call this ad "misleading" or "false."

UPDATE: BarbinMD at Kos picks it up as well.


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