When presidents play politics
By Angie Drobnic Holan
Published on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008 at 4:56 p.m.
We might like to think of our presidents as meeting with foreign leaders and studying dossiers in the Oval Office, but they also serve as leaders of their political parties.
In George W. Bush's case, he's still the Republican Party's top elected official, and reporters can't help but ask what he thinks about happenings on the campaign trail.
Former President Bill Clinton is even closer to the action with his wife running for office.
As Election Day approaches, we'll be treating current and former presidents like the political players they are and running their statements through our Truth-O-Meter. Consider yourselves forewarned, Jimmy Carter and George H.W.!
In the past week, Bush and Clinton made statements that we found worth checking and neither one of them did very well with accuracy:
* Clinton defended himself against critics of his remarks about Sen. Barack Obama. "Everything I have said has been factually accurate," Clinton said.
Excuse us, sir, but that's baloney. We checked Clinton's campaign trail statements previously and found one False and another Half True . Now we must find Clinton's new claims of accuracy to be False .
* George W. Bush, meanwhile, gave an interview over the weekend to Fox News Sunday in which he said Obama wants to "attack Pakistan and embrace (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad." Um, not even close. Obama said he'll go after terrorists hiding in Pakistan if the authorities there don't, and he promised a diplomatic effort with Iran. We rated Bush's statement False .
Sources:Associated Press, "Bill Clinton says he's learned he can promote, but not defend," Feb. 8, 2008
PolitiFact.com, Obama not a Reagan Democrat , Jan. 18, 2008
Washington Post, Bill the Attack Dog , Jan. 22, 2008
Fox News Sunday, Interview with President Bush , Feb. 10, 2008
Barack Obama campaign Web site, Speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars , Aug. 1, 2008
Associated Press, McCain says Obama is simplistic to warn of bombing Pakistan , Aug. 2, 2007
CNN, Democratic debate transcript , July 23, 2007
Associated Press, Clinton: Obama is 'naive' on foreign policy , July 24, 2007
White House Web site, President Bush Press Conference , Aug. 9, 2007
Associated Press, Obama: Would meet Iranian as president , Sept. 24, 2007
New York Times Obama Envisions New Iran Approach , Nov. 2, 2007
Researchers: Angie Drobnic Holan
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