Mitt Romney says he “saw” his father “march” with Martin Luther King Jr. Rudolph W. Giuliani claims that he is one of the “five best-known Americans in the world.” According to John McCain, the Constitution established the United States as a “Christian nation.” Ron Paul believes that a “NAFTA superhighway” is being planned to link Mexico with Canada and undermine U.S. sovereignty.
On the other side of the political divide, Sen. Barack Obama says there are more young black males in prison than in college. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton claims she has a “definitive timetable” for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. John Edwards insists that NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement — has cost Americans “millions of jobs.” Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. boasts about his experience negotiating an arms-control treaty with Leonid Brezhnev.
All those claims, made over the past four months as part of the presidential campaign, are demonstrably false.
With just four days until the Iowa caucuses, the art of embellishment and downright fibbing is alive and well in American politics. But the popularity of blogs, YouTube and information databases such as LexisNexis, along with the 24-hour news cycle, has made it easier than ever for the media and rival campaigns to spot the mistakes and exaggerations of presidential candidates.