Democrats in the Hot Seat

Published: August 6, 2014

By Jim Lichtman
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I sometimes get accused of liberal bias. So, I thought I’d take this commentary to focus on PolitiFact’s check on recent Democrat statements.

Virginia Democrat Senator Mark Warner –

Warner has represented Virginia in the U.S. Senate since 2009. He serves on the Banking, Budget, Commerce and Intelligence committees. He is the honorary co-chairman of the Forward Together PAC. Warner previously served as governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006.

What he said –

“During a sharp exchange at their first debate [July 26],” PolitiFact writes, “Warner insisted that GOP challenger Ed Gillespie supports laws that would provide embryos with rights the moment of conception.

” ‘He supports a personhood amendment that is so far out of the mainstream that it would ban certain common forms of contraception,’ He cast Gillespie as sympathetic towards several other socially conservative policies.

“Gillespie protested. ‘This is an area where you’re making up my views,’ he said. ‘Please provide the documentation for my support of any of those things.’

“Shortly after the debate, [the Warner] campaign put out an email saying that Gillespie was chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2004 when the party adopted a national platform calling for a personhood amendment.

“The platform said, ‘As a country, we must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence. That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.’ ”

PolitiFact’s Findings

“Gillespie was certainly national GOP chairman in 2004 when the party adopted a platform supporting a human life amendment. But we haven’t seen any clear personal expression from his supporting such a law either then or now.

“So Warner has failed to prove his claim. We rate Warner’s statement False.”

Texas Democrat Shelia Jackson Lee –

Jackson Lee has served in the House representing the 18th District in Texas since 1995.

What she said –

In a July 30th speech “during a floor debate over authorizing the lawsuit against Obama, Jackson Lee suggested that Democrats had the moral high ground.” Jackson Lee went on to say, “I ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is, in fact, a veiled attempt for impeachment, and it undermines the law that allows the president to do his job. It is a historical fact that President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.”

PolitiFact’s Findings

“A dozen House Democrats in 2008 did introduce a resolution seeking the impeachment of Bush. And Jackson Lee was one of the measure’s 11 co-sponsors.

“The measure in question was House Resolution 1258, introduced by then-Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, on June 10, 2008. The resolution – a 167-page laundry list of criticisms – accused Bush of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ citing numerous ‘abuses of power’ related to his prosecution of the war in Iraq and the fight against global terrorism, among other topics.

“It seems hypocritical of the congresswoman to seize the moral high ground – essentially saying that her party gallantly went against self-interest by declining to seek Bush’s impeachment – when in fact she personally had sought precisely that outcome. On balance, we rate the claim Mostly False.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi –

Has represented the 5th District in California since 1993. Served as Speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011.

What she said –

“More than 10 days after the Supreme Court decided Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, the landmark case was still sending shockwaves through Washington and the political world.

“In the decision, a 5-4 majority ruled that a closely held, private corporation, such as the craft retailer Hobby Lobby, could decline on religious grounds to pay for four kinds of contraceptives otherwise mandated in employee health coverage by the Affordable Care Act, the law proposed and signed by President Barack Obama.

“At her weekly press conference on July 10, 2014, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., referenced the decision with a note of alarm. ‘Really, we should be afraid of this court,’ Pelosi said. ‘The five guys who start determining what contraceptions are legal. Let’s not even go there.’ ”

PolitiFact shared the fact that Pelosi’s office contacted the fact checking organization stating: “She [Pelosi] misspoke,” spokesman Drew Hammill acknowledged. “Obviously the impact of the court’s decision is not to make these four contraceptive methods illegal – i.e. no longer allowed to be sold.”

PolitiFact’s Findings

“Indeed, one of Pelosi’s later comments from the news conference – when she focusedon the issue of who pays for contraceptives, rather than whether they remain legal – seems to be on firmer ground. She expressed concern ‘that five men could get down to specifics of whether a woman should use a diaphragm and (whether) she should pay for it herself, or her boss. It’s not her boss’ business. The business is whatever his business is, but it’s not what contraception she uses.’

“We asked legal experts whether it was plausible to think that the Supreme Court would actually make certain kinds of contraceptives illegal, as Pelosi’s now-disowned comment suggested. The experts agreed that the scenario was farfetched.

“This sweeping claim was a misstatement, her spokesman acknowledged to PolitiFact. The Hobby Lobby decision didn’t turn on whether certain types of contraception should be legal, but rather on the question of whether certain corporations could decide on religious grounds not to pay for specific types of contraceptives in employee health insurance plans. Experts say that there are solid legal precedents that would keep the Supreme Court from actually banning forms of contraception outright.

“We rate the claim False.”

Bottom line: Any politician appearing in the media presenting information before the public should triple check their facts BEFORE opening speaking. Period.

I encourage everyone to check the statements from both parties before deciding to hang their hats.


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