Yesterday, The Heritage Foundation formally requested that the Obama campaign stop misrepresenting the organization’s views in ads touting the candidate’s tax plan. The letter notes that Barack Obama’s economic adviser has known, unequivocally, for more than a month that Heritage analyst Rea Hederman considers the candidate’s tax plan to be far inferior to that of his rival, John McCain. Obama campaign spokesperson Bill Burton has issued a wholly unsatisfactory response to the Heritage letter. He attempts to justify the campaign’s misrepresentation by arguing:
That it’s OK to pick up a line written by New York Sun reporter Russell Berman and present it as a direct quote from Hederman, even though Hederman never said it. Burton’s “justification”: “I don’t know of any correction or clarification The Sun ever ran….” Hey, Burton, before you “quote” someone secondhand, how about checking with him first — to see if he ever said it or ever would say it? Otherwise, you’re just putting words in someone’s mouth.
That when Hederman called Obama’s climb down from his initial proposal to tax dividends and capital gains at 28% “a great step in the right direction,” this somehow amounts to “praising” the plan. As Hederman’s Sept. 16 letter to the Wall Street Journal clearly stated, the climb-down merely made a bad plan less bad. That’s not praise.
That it’s “reasonable for to use [sic] a definition of ‘better off’ as ‘paying less.’ Maybe. But Hederman never said the middle class would “pay less” under the Obama plan. Those are the reporter’s words, not Hederman’s. Burton acknowledges that the comment about paying less is, in fact, “Berman’s reporting,” not Hederman’s words. Hederman emphatically does not share Berman’s view. It is definitely not reasonable to suggest that Hederman believes the middle class would be better off under that plan. He doesn’t. In fact, Hederman’s analyses show that the middle class would do much better under McCain’s tax plan because it would lead to twice as much job creation and economic growth. If somehow the campaign didn’t know their tax ads were deceitful before, they certainly know that to be the case now. The question now is: Will they have the honesty and intergrity to pull them, or will they willfully continue misleading the American public?