Nancy Pelosi Attempts to Play the Race Card and Gets Hit With 4 'Pinocchios'

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This was news to shake up a sultry summer in Washington.

The Washington Post, a newspaper that has spent President Donald Trump’s entire term vilifying the president, turned some of that fire Tuesday onto the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

And for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the results could not have been satisfying.

The Post’s “fact checker,” Glenn Kessler, accorded Pelosi the rare distinction of rating a statement of hers about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with four “Pinocchios” — Kessler’s way of accusing a politician of telling outright lies without a shred of truth to them. (In a word, he calls them “whoppers.”)

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Kessler, one of Trump’s most consistent critics in the Washington press corps, was taking Pelosi to task for a statement she made on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” on Sunday, when she called McConnell a “racist” for opposing President Barack Obama’s agenda.

In the interview, Pelosi told guest host Jonathan Capehart, a Washington Post columnist:

“Let me re­mind you that when the Re­pub­lic­ans took pow­er when President Obama was president of the United States, what Mitch McConnell said is, ‘The most im­port­ant thing we can do is to make sure he does not suc­ceed.’ If that wasn’t a rac­ist state­ment. That is un­think­a­ble,” Pelosi said.

Kessler wasn’t buying it at all.

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In a column published Tuesday, Kessler gave Pelosi credit for at least getting the timing of McConnell’s remark somewhat correct (many Democrats claim McConnell was speaking right after Obama’s election).

But Kessler took it apart from there, using his lead sentence to describe it as “a zom­bie claim em­er­ges from the dead a­gain. But it’s even ugli­er than usu­al.”

Kessler noted that “Democrats love to bring up long-ago remarks” from McConnell about the Obama presidency, then provided a transcript of the National Journal interview where the remark was published in October 2010 (just prior to the midterm elections of Obama’s first term).

During the interview, McConnell said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

And even that statement came in a wider context of how Republicans would behave toward Obama if he executed a “Clintonian backflip” and started to meet them halfway on the vast policy differences that separated the two parties.

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“I don’t want the president to fail; I want him to change,” McConnell told the National Journal. “So, we’ll see. The next move is going to be up to him.”

Pelosi’s rendering of McConnel’s remarks was simply wrong, Kessler wrote.

“We ob­vi­ous­ly don’t fact-check o­pin­ion. But clear­ly Pelosi’s par­a­phrase bears little re­la­tion­ship to what McConnell ac­tu­al­ly said in 2010 — he even said he did not want Obama to fail — and we are flum­moxed how this an­o­dyne po­lit­i­cal state­ment then is twist­ed into be­ing an allegedly rac­ist state­ment,” he wrote.

What Kessler did not point out was that McConnell’s statement was about what anyone would expect from a leading opposition figure in a democracy when discussing the leader of the ruling party.

However, he concluded with the statement that made it clear that he didn’t think Pelosi’s statement was an innocent mistake:

“Democrats have some­times placed McConnell’s ‘one-term’ com­ment in the wrong year,” he wrote, “but we are un­aware of a seni­or Democrat bun­gling the ac­tu­al quote so much in serv­ice of an in­cen­di­ar­y charge. Pelosi earns Four Pinocchios.”

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
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