by Dr. Julianne Malveaux
Politicians and would-be politicians running for president can’t have it both ways: They can’t filibuster while refusing to answer direct questions during televised debates and then complain about not having enough time to talk.
Judging by the blatant lies they told during the recent CNBC debate, they should have far less time to talk. But politicians being politicians, they know how to play to the crowd while droning on and on with their carefully-crafted talking points that are as stale as last week’s fish dinner.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas – who were also standing near the end of the stage in the recent CNBC debate, as I am sure Donald Trump noticed – inflamed the Republican audience by attacking the journalists for their selection of questions. If these presidential wannabes want to play in the big leagues, they should understand that they don’t get to determine which questions are asked of them.
Granted, some of the questions were tertiary, such as the one about whether fantasy football should be regulated, but at least early in the debate, the panel did a good job of keeping the candidates in check and not letting them shout “answers” at will. John Harwood in particular did a masterful job not letting it become a runaway train.
For dramatic effect, some candidates looked directly at the camera while lying through their teeth. Here are some of the biggest whoopers on a night of many whoppers, according to FactCheck.org:
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Florina: It is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman president, when every single policy she espouses, and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women. Ninety-two percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.
It is the height of hypocrisy for Florina to be such a brazen liar.
FactCheck.org stated, “And looking at the full four years of Obama’s first term, both men and women gained jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women gained 416,000 jobs in Obama’s first term (about 32 percent of the overall job gains).”
And the growth continued in Obama’s second term.
Ted Cruz made a similar claim: “Under Barack Obama and the big government economy, the median wage for women has dropped $733.”
FactCheck.org: “Actually, the most recent breakdown from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers shows that for women the figure was $728 in the three months ending Sept. 30, up from $647 in the last three months of 2008, just before Obama first took office. That’s an increase of $81 per week.”
Donald Trump: “I am the only person in either campaign that’s self-funding. I’m putting up 100 percent of my own money.”
Not true, according to FactCheck.- org: “Trump has spent about $1.9 million of his own money running for president, according to his October quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission. That includes a $1.8 million loan to his campaign, as well as in-kind contributions of nearly $104,000. But his campaign has spent more than $5.5 million to date, and the majority of that has come from campaign donors.”
Dr. Ben Carson denied any involvement with Mannatech, a controversial nutritional supplement company.
Ben Carson: “I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda. I did a couple of speeches for them. I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.”
The charges are more than “propaganda.”
The researchers state, “He admits to giving paid speeches for the company, but reports by the Wall Street Journal and the National Review have pointed out other connections as well going back at least a decade. For example, he participated in shooting several videos with or about the company; though the Wall Street Journal reported that Mannatech has removed those videos from its website, at least one video remains on YouTube as of this writing in which Carson touts the company’s work and products.”
There was also this exchange:
John Harwood: “The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale. Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, don’t you have that backward?”
Marco Rubio: “No, that’s – you’re wrong. In fact, the largest after-tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan…”
But that wasn’t the point. The question was about the middle class and on that score, FactCheck.org stated, “…That is what the Tax Foundation found.”
The Republican presidential candidates don’t need any more time to spread blatant lies.
George E. Curry is President and CEO of George Curry Media, LLC. He is the former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA). He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at twitter.com/currygeorge, George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook, and Periscope. See previous columns a http://ww.georgecurry.com/columns.