The Associated Press bruised and bloodied fact checkers everywhere with its effort last night on former President Bill Clinton's speech. While legitimate fact checkers (FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and the Washington Post) produced good reports on the lengthy speech, the venerable AP tried to do its own, and ended up editorializing instead.
CLINTON: "Their campaign pollster said, 'We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.' Now that is true. I couldn't have said it better myself — I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad."
THE FACTS: Clinton, who famously finger-wagged a denial on national television about his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky and was subsequently impeached in the House on a perjury charge, has had his own uncomfortable moments over telling the truth. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," Clinton told television viewers. Later, after he was forced to testify to a grand jury, Clinton said his statements were "legally accurate" but also allowed that he "misled people, including even my wife."
* The famous Clinton "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" remark -made before fact checks and not repeated after widespread ridicule - may well have been an untruthful statement; howeve,r it is far from a campaign official saying that a presidential candidate and his campaign are going to willfully repeat erroneous remarks and ignore a consensus view of fact checkers.
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