Is 'Lying' Romney Ad OK?

Arianna Huffington, Michael Gerson disagree
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2011 12:59 PM CST
Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop Tuesday, Nov. 29, in Medley, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(Newser) – The media has largely ignored Mitt Romney’s first TV ad, and Arianna Huffington is outraged. The ad includes a wildly out-of-context 2008 clip of President Obama saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” It fails to mention that Obama was quoting the McCain campaign. “This is far from the garden-variety truth stretching we're used to in political advertising,” Huffington fumes in her eponymous Post. “This is so breathtakingly cynical it should cause us to question whether a candidate that would put it forth is fit for any public office.”

The media needs to keep this story alive, Huffington argues: “What makes people cynical is seeing obvious lies not called lies.” But Michael Gerson of the Washington Post points out that ironically, Obama’s original quote was a slight distortion—Obama pulled the quote from a news article, where it was anonymously attributed to a “top McCain strategist,” which could mean almost anything. “This is not to argue that two wrongs make a right," he adds. "It is only to note that, in a presidential election, the truth often gets its hair mussed. And Obama has frequently done the mussing.”

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