Truthiness in Headlines
The Washington Examiner quotes a series of remarks from President Obama in which he tries to make clear that Mitt Romney's campaign is far, far to the right of John McCain's:
"I mean, 2008 was a significant election, obviously," Obama told the audience at a Minneapolis restaurant called Bachelor Farmer. "But John McCain believed in climate change. John believed in campaign finance reform. He believed in immigration reform. I mean, there were some areas where you saw some overlap."
... Later Friday, at a fundraiser in Chicago, Obama made much the same point about his 2008 opponent. "The last time we ran, we had a Republican candidate who -- I had some profound disagreements with him, but he acknowledged the need for immigration reform, and acknowledged the need for campaign finance reform, acknowledged the need for policies that would do something about climate change," Obama said. "Now, what we’ve got is not just a nominee but a Congress and a Republican Party that have a fundamentally different vision about where we need to go as a country."
A few days earlier, when the Obama campaign attacked Romney for declining to disavow Donald Trump, White House spokesman Jay Carney again invoked McCain. "You'll recall that in the 2008 race, Senator John McCain...made a decision not to ally with extreme elements in his own party," Carney said. At about the same time, the Obama campaign released a web video that also featured McCain nostalgia. "John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party," the video said. "Why won't Mitt Romney do the same?"
So what's the Examiner headline? Not "Obama Accuses Romney of Extremism." It's "In Tough Fight with Romney, Obama Longs for McCain."
That's not what Obama is saying. That's what right-wing spinmeisters want the right-wing base to believe Obama is saying.
Right-wing spinmeisters are saying to the base, "Oooh, we took the gloves off and Obama is whining!" In fact, Obama's trying to warn centrist voters not to be fooled when they read that Romney is really, deep down inside, a middle-of-the-road guy.
Mainstream press, please: don't retransmit the right's meme based on a headline. Read the story. Obama is not complaining that Romney's too tough. He's warning us that Romney's joined the crazies.