The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

October 24, 2012

IN THE LOOP: Falsehood, untruth, fib, fiction, fabrication and prevarication

(Continued)

Maps are stupid things

Speaking of the debate, the fact checkers went wild when Mitt Romney said once again that “Syria is Iran’s . . . route to the sea.” Team Obama doubtless was elated by the geographical goof.

But at the Loop we felt disheartened, even a bit defeated. We tried so hard back in February to get Romney to stop saying that.

Iran, as most anyone knows, has direct access to waterways, we pointed out back then, with about 1,100 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Oman and the entire northern coastline of the Persian Gulf. (Remember how Iran’s always threatening to close the vital Strait of Hormuz?)

Worse yet, Iran doesn’t even share a border with Syria, so this “route to the sea” means going overland through Iraq and then Syria to get to the Mediterranean. The journey from Tehran to Damascus is about 1,000 miles.

And once the Iranians get there, they’ll find Syria has only a measly 111 miles of coastline.

In March, after Romney had said the “route to the sea” stuff five more times, Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler weighed in but didn’t think it “worthy of a Pinocchio rating — unless we create a category for weird language.”

Well, we did our best.

Seems so long ago

Even more from Boca: Former President George W. Bush, after a brief comeback to visibility in the 2012 campaign, faded once again from view in Monday night’s debate.

It appeared in last week’s second presidential debate that Bush had finally broken through the bipartisan cone of silence on the mere mention of his name.

In contrast to the first debate, where his name came up only once, Bush’s name — thanks only to a town hall question — came up a full 12 times by our quick count.

But in the third debate, Bush, who was president from 2001 to 2009, faltered, getting his name mentioned only twice.

Obama began by sticking to the no-mention agreement Monday, even using “the previous administration” — instead of noting whose administration that might have been — in discussing China’s trade shenanigans. But then he broke the pledge, saying Romney had “praised George Bush as a good economic steward and Dick Cheney as somebody who’s — who shows great wisdom and judgment.”

That’s the very first time Cheney (he was vice president of the United States from 2001 to 2009) has ever been mentioned in the presidential debates.

Romney, apparently feeling free to break the no-mention pact, then did so in a near-perfect way. Defending his “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed, Romney managed to both smack Obama for following Bush’s lead and hit Bush for starting the bailout.

“It was President Bush that wrote the first checks,” he said at the end of the debate. “I disagree with that.”

Perhaps now the 43rd president and his veep can return to relative obscurity.

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