It's almost as if the AP fact-checkers were drunk (or perhaps, like Tom Brokaw, who tweeted this morning that he accidentally took half an Ambien, AP's fact-checker took the wrong pill this morning). But AP's "fact check" of President Clinton's speech isn't really a fact check at all.
It's not that you disagree with their conclusions, it's that they simply didn't bother actually fact-checking much of anything the former President said, and what they did fact check, they didn't bother providing any actual "facts."
AP took an hour long speech, full of data, and only fact checked four parts of it. And the parts they chose, where simply bizarre.
First, AP is upset that Clinton claimed Republicans were unwilling to compromise while Obama was. AP says this is untrue. Get a load of their "proof":
THE FACTS: From Clinton's speech, voters would have no idea that the inflexibility of both parties is to blame for much of the gridlock. Right from the beginning Obama brought in as his first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, a man known for his getting his way, not for getting along.How is this proof that President Obama was "inflexible" in negotiating with Republicans since he hired Rahm? Wouldn't actual fact checking looking at what Rahm ACTUALLY did after he got the job, at whether Rahm stopped Obama from trying to colloborate with Republicans, rather than simply saying "the president hired Rahm, and everyone knows Rahm is a jerk, so let's just suppose that the President didn't try to work with Republicans after Rahm was hired."
AP's next "fact" is even worse:
One of the more high-profile examples of a deal that fell apart was the outline of a proposed "grand bargain" budget agreement between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner in 2011.Let me reiterate. Boehner couldn't get his caucus to support the plan, so he didn't have the votes to pass it. Whereas Obama had "some" Democratic leaders criticizing the plan. How exactly is that the same thing? Accusing the President of going too far is not the same as saying that the President couldn't get the votes to pass the plan in the Congress. In Boehner's case, he couldn't get the votes. Is the same true for Obama? Who knows, because AP didn't bother actually asking or answering that question.
The deal would have required compromise from both sides. It slashed domestic spending more than most Democrats wanted and would have raised some taxes, which most Republicans oppose.
Boehner couldn't sell the plan to tea party factions in the House or to other activists. And Obama found himself accused of going too far by some Democratic leaders. The deal died before it ever even came up for a vote.
Shorter AP: Republicans are inflexible when they refuse to vote for a compromise; Democrats are inflexible when they simply voice an opinion.
In another instance, Obama appointed a bipartisan group, known as the Simpsons-Bowles Commission, to recommend ways to fix major fiscal problems like Social Security and Medicare. The commission issued its recommendations but fell three votes short of formally endorsing them. And Obama mostly walked away from the report. He later incorporated some of the less contentious proposals from the report into legislation he supported.First off, it's a bipartisan report, so it's not entirely clear how the President is refusing to work with Republicans if the report was also authored by Democrats. Second, that's proof that the President doesn't work with Republicans, that he didn't embrace a commission's recommendations, that the commission itself couldn't even agree on?
But that ensured the tough compromises would not get made.
Oh, and PS, the President actually did embrace the reports less contentious proposals - meaning, the proposals that both left and right could agree on. In other words, Obama embraced the actual bipartisan parts of the report, and ignored the partisan parts, which is exactly what AP is claiming he didn't do.
The problem with compromising in Washington is that there are few true moderates left in either party. The notion that Republicans are the only ones standing in the way of compromise is inaccurate.Really? Care to offer any proof of that claim, AP?
In an hour long speech, this is all AP's got?
Actually no, AP also decided to bring up Monica Lewinsky as proof that Mitt Romney's campaign didn't say that they don't care about the fact-checkers. When Clinton quoted the Romney campaign, accurately, saying just that, here's how AP responded, in order to prove that Clinton was "wrong":
THE FACTS: Clinton, who famously finger-wagged a denial on national television about his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky and was subsequently impeached in the House on a perjury charge, has had his own uncomfortable moments over telling the truth. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," Clinton told television viewers. Later, after he was forced to testify to a grand jury, Clinton said his statements were "legally accurate" but also allowed that he "misled people, including even my wife."Wow. That's AP's proof that Clinton was wrong when he accurately quoted the Romney people saying they don't care if the fact-checkers unanimously agree that the Romney camp is lying: Bill Clinton lied about sex.
So I guess if we really want to fairly and accurately determine whether this AP fact check about Bill Clinton's speech is correct, we'll need to know if the AP reporter who wrote it ever cheated on their partner and/or lied about sex. Because everyone knows that the accuracy of a statement is only determined by the sex life of the person who made the statement.
Just astonishingly unprofessional.