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Last-Minute Lies

November 3rd, 2008

We know that McCain and Palin have been prone to spread bald-faced lies over the past few months, even in the face of outstanding evidence proving their statements to be lies. But now, as we enter the home stretch, we are encountering a new–and at the same time, a very traditional–kind of political lie: lies aimed to enrage key voters, lies which are demonstrably false–but ones which the liars hope will stick because there isn’t enough time for the truth to be as widely spread as the lies:

”Barack Obama explained his plan to the San Francisco Chronicle this year,” [Sarah Palin] told a rally in Ohio Sunday. ”He said that sure, if the industry wants to build coal-fired power plants, then they can go ahead and try, he says, but they can do it only in a way that will bankrupt the coal industry.”

She added, ”And you’ve got to listen to the tape.”

”Why is the audiotape just now surfacing?” Palin asked the crowd, according to a report from CBS News. Someone in the crowd shouted, ”Liberal media!’

Several right-wing web sites are jumping on the “hidden interview” bandwagon, as are a few small but legit news sources which are obviously just being lazy in passing on prepackaged news. Of course, there is no “hidden” audiotape; Obama held an interview with the Chronicle in January, and it has been online since. Far from being hidden, it was widely advertised. The audio (mp3) is here, and the video is here (I am currently unable to get the video to play, but the audio comes across perfectly). They have been up consistently over the past ten months, out there for anyone to listen to or watch.

Obama goes into the coal issue just a little more than halfway through, describing his policies. Summed up, he says that a “no coal” policy is an illusion, as we use a lot of coal and China is building more and more coal plants; the emphasis should be on figuring out ways to use coal cleanly, using a cap-and-trade system which would penalize pollution as a means of spurring clean-coal technologies as well as alternative forms of energy.

Palin has two charges here: that Obama wants to bankrupt the industry, and that the interview was hidden. On the first charge, Obama said that it was an “illusion” that we could get rid of coal, and mentioned “bankruptcy” only in the context of building new coal plants without trying to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. Either Palin is saying that clean coal is impossible, or she’s just lying.

Second, Palin charged that there was a liberal-media conspiracy to hide the interview; also false, as the whole interview, as stated above, has been plainly available in both audio and video forms since the interview was held in January. Here, she’s plainly just lying.

No coincidence that Palin is spreading these lies in Pennsylvania–coal country, which McCain and Palin have to win if they want any chance of being elected–just a day before the election.

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