It seems every major liberal pundit as well as a number of our critics have decried John McCain’s recent Education ad, with Joe Klein calling it “one of the sleaziest ads I’ve ever seen in presidential politics.”
Echoing Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton, McClatchy’s called the ad “a deliberately misleading accusation.” At least two of our readers have accused McCain of lying.
But, was the Republican presidential candidate lying?
To find out, I decided to watch the ad. Not one of the campaign’s best, but certainly better than those I had seen from the Obama campaign. Â I think the McCain campaign could have used better language than it did when it called the bill in question as “an accomplishment.” The language in question: “Obama’s one accomplishment? Legislation to teach ‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.”
I found it hard to believe that anyone could support, much less write such legislation. Â It seemed it couldn’t be true.Â
So, I decided to take a look at the legislation itself. Â I didn’t have to look far. Â Byron York, unlike many of McCain’s critics, actually read the bill, Illinois Bill 99. He even linked it in his column on the topic. Â Here’s the language:Â
Each class or course in comprehensive sex education in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.
To be sure, the bill did allow pupils to opt out of such classes if their “parent or guardian submits written objection thereto.” But, the fact remains, the legislation did include teaching “comprehensive sex education” to kindergartners.
As I understandÂ “sesson sine die“Â (the final status of the bill), the legislative session (in which it was introduced) concluded without the bill passing. Hard to mark that as an accomplishment.
As to the gravamen of the ad, Obama did indeed support legislation teaching “comprehensive sex education” to kindergartners. Â Even he himself said it was “the right thing to do.” Â If Burton knew what his boss had said, well, then, he would be lying. Â But, maybe he hadn’t heard those words.
Thus, if anyone is lying here, it’s not the McCain campaign. Their language may be a bit clumsy, but the assertion is accurate. Â The campaign is not misleading. Â Why is it that so many in the media are so quick to repeat the Obama campaign’s talking points?
My guess is that the columnists and editorialists who accused McCain of lying won’t be berating the Obama campaign for lying about McCain’s record in Spanish language ads. Â Or reminding us that a greater proportion of the Democrat’s ads have been negative.
Seems that at least one MSM outlet is already looking into Obama’s deceptions. Â Wonder if Joe Klein will.
UPDATE: John Hinderaker holds that he hasn’st seen “a more deeply contemptible political ad” than Obama’s Spanish-language ad. Guess Joe Klein only finds Republican ads contemptible.
UP-UPDATE: Jim Geraghty agrees with me: it was “wrong to call [the bill] an Obama accomplishment, but the description of the bill’s text was accurate.”