Home of the Whopper

Continuing on the burger theme from the last post, Hillary and Barack decided to make nice last night during a debate in Las Vegas. Whatever brownie points they gained for nice, however, they lost for veracity. Hillary was asked about remarks made by her supporter, black businessman Bob Johnson who smeared Obama last weekend with a self-evident reference to Obama’s admitted teenage drug use: "when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood; I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in his book." Here is the clip of Mr. Johnson’s remarks. Mr. Johnson has subsequently said he was referring to Obama’s community organizing in the neighborhood. Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not see a reason to wink at the audience and refer to something as somehow unmentionable (what with children present!) when that something is community organizing. When asked about the dust-up at last night’s debate, Hillary said she took Mr. Johnson’s at his word and accepted his "clarification" of his remarks. Really? Not sure that America wants a president given to such feats of credulousness. Not to be outdone, Barack was asked about his snide remark that Hillary was "likable enough" in a previous debate. He, too, back-tracked, saying that "my intention was to say, ’I think you’re plenty likable.’" This should garner a Pinocchio award as well: they clearly can’t stand each other and Obama was self-evidently being anything but snarky in his initial remark. The mendacious performances put me in mind of an old story about Jimmy Carter’s mother Lillian. Her son was campaigning on a pledge to never lie to the American people. A group of reporters visited Miss Lillian and asked if her son had ever lied. She said she was sure he had committed a white lie, but probably not a black one. A reporter asked, ’what’s the difference?" "I am not sure I can define it," Mrs. Carter allowed, "but I think I can give you an example of a white lie. A few moments ago, when you reporters came to the door, and I said how happy I was to see you." Telling a little lie to maintain cordialness is not as bad as lying to the American people about the nasty consequences of deficit spending. But, it is unseemly to see the candidates falling over themselves in such self-exculpatory fibbing. Michael Sean Winters
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