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State of the Union: Obama lied

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Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010

The first casualty of political rhetoric always is the truth.

Witness President Barack Obama's contention in last week's State of the Union Address that the recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance -- allowing corporations and unions to underwrite political ads -- "reversed a century of law."

And that it "opened the floodgates ... (for) foreign companies to spend without limit in our elections."

But the ruling did no such thing. And, worse, the error was so blatant that it cannot be dismissed as some kind of "inadvertent mischaracterization" spoken off the cuff; it was part of the president's prepared text.

Given that Mr. Obama's top White House lawyer is a seasoned campaign-finance attorney, former Justice Department attorney Shannen Coffin, writing in National Review Online, finds it hard to believe that lie was anything but intentional.

No wonder Associate Justice Sam Alito shook his head and appeared to mouth the words, "That's not true."

Nineteenth-century French political economist Frederic Bastiat reminded that only a few words are needed to set forth a half-truth "whereas, in order to show that it is a half-truth, we have to resort to long and arid dissertations."

To borrow Obama's own words, "No wonder there's so much cynicism out there."

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