You can’t make this up!
One of the first things Obama did after occupying the White House was to exile the bust of Winston Churchill by the distinguished British sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein (h/t Weasel Zippers). This fact, plus the negative effect it had on US-UK relations, was well documented at the time. When columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer mentioned it last week, the White House fact check (!) web site claimed that Obama never did that, and launched an attack on Krauthammer’s “patently false” reporting. The fact checker, Dan Pfeiffer, also claimed that the bust has been in the White House since the 1960s and showed a photo of Obama showing the bust to PM David Cameron in 2010.
But it turns out that there are actually two Epstein busts of Churchill. One is part of the White House art collection and is reported to be on display in Obama’s private residence, and the other had been loaned by the British to the White House in 2001, after 9/11, and had been put on display in the Oval Office. This far more visible bust is the one that Obama had returned, and so everyone’s reporting on it accurate. Everyone’s, that is, except the White House fact-checker’s.
Here we see the difference between spin and an outright lie.
Spinning the story might involve something like “Yeah, yeah, we did return one of the two Epstein busts of Churchill to the Brits, but look here, we still have the other one!” And if the question of “why” came up (which it did, with ample speculation), one might have added: “Well, it was lent specifically to President Bush, and there was no reason for Barack Obama to accept the Brits’ offer to extend the loan. Instead, Mr. Obama wanted to have a bust of Abraham Lincoln in the Oval Office.”
To me, this would have been satisfactory because, as with a bad paint job, the facts still peek through.
Lying is what we experienced, namely:
(1) No, it never happened. Any and all such reports (The Telegraph, AP etc.) involve an urban legend, and look here, there’s Obama and Cameron checking out the tubby little fella in 2010!
And after “additional research:”
(2) Well, yes, okay, the White House did return one bust which was lent to Bush because the other one “was being worked on at the time.” (Query: Is it true at all that the other bust was “being worked on?”)
(3) “But they’re still all lying.”
We have had to wade through this kind of informational fever swamp ever since Barack Obama, ever the clever sophomore, and his amoral cohorts had occupied the White House. It is one of the many reasons why the Obama regime must go this year. It’s not that I love Romney: it’s just that, politician or not, he does have a greater degree of spine.
In my book, more spine translates to less spin and therefore a closer relationship to truth. So far, as inept a PR man as Romney is, he hasn’t told such patently transparent whoppers, nor has he suffered anyone to do so on his behalf.
And that’s already saying a lot.