Congratulations are in order for Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. As part of his U.S. senatorial campaign, Mandel, a Republican, has earned his sixth “Pants on Fire” rating from fact-checking website PolitiFact.
With the new award, half of Mandel’s ratings are now “Pants on Fire,” “False” or “Mostly False.” If “Half True” is included in the overall dishonesty rating, 68 percent of Mandel’s ratings are dishonest.
It’s normal for campaigns to get some facts wrong and spread dishonesty here and there, but to get this many facts outrageously wrong is not. In comparison, Mandel’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, has one “Pants on Fire” rating, three “False” ratings, two “Mostly False” ratings and two “Half True” ratings. Out of all his rated statements, only 25 percent have been declared false or mostly untrue. If “Half True” is included in the overall dishonesty rating, only 33 percent have been declared dishonest. That’s half of Mandel’s false and dishonest ratings.
So what exactly has Mandel gotten wrong since his campaign started? His false criticisms have mostly targeted his opponent and President Barack Obama. Mandel earned his first “Pants on Fire” rating when he said Brown is “out there egging on a lot of these protesters who are spitting on policemen and going to the bathroom on policemen’s cars at these protests on Wall Street and other places.” That turned to be false since Brown actually advocated for nonviolent protest. Mandel’s latest dishonest statement claimed that Brown had sent billions of taxpayer dollars to foreign countries. Also false — Brown did no such thing.
Mandel’s other “Pants on Fire” statements were about Obamacare being the largest tax hike in history (it barely cracks the top 10 tax hikes of the past 72 years), Brown giving bonuses to executives (he actually voted for withholding bonuses), Brown being one of the “main D.C.
politicians responsible for Ohio jobs moving to China” (nope) and Brown choosing “to side with Washington bureaucrats and fringe extremists in the attacks on our natural resources” (only if local leaders and a college president are fringe extremists).
Some of these might be fluff issues, but most of them are serious, weighty issues. Obamacare is going to reshape the United States’ health-care system. Jobs going overseas is a problem that directly affects millions of Americans and Ohioans. The way the United States is using its natural resources is a very valid concern. But Mandel doesn’t seem to take these issues seriously enough to fact check his claims before touting them out to the press and public.
The Mandel campaign didn’t respond to CityBeat’s repeated requests for comment concerning Mandel’s false statements.
To make matters worse, Mandel has said he doesn’t care if his statements are found to be dishonest. In an interview with The Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier this year, Mandel told reporters that he will repeat his false claims “again and again” because he sees no downside to it. And, indeed, Mandel has continued using false platitudes to this very day.
Then Mandel told Ted Hart, an NBC reporter, that he was “out of touch with reality” for questioning Mandel’s false accusation that Brown wanted to give bonuses to business executives.
Sadie Weiner, Brown’s spokesperson, fired back at Mandel’s comments in a statement: “Mandel’s refusal to admit he’s lying in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary is a stunning example that he’s just another politician who can’t be trusted.”
Even when Mandel isn’t perpetuating false accusations, he can’t give a straight answer. In a recent interview with Dayton’s WDTN, Mandel refused to answer whether he would have supported the auto bailout or not. The reporter repeatedly reemphasized the question, even directly asking, “You’re not going to answer the question, are you?” The final time she asked, Mandel simply replied, “Great seeing you.”
The dishonesty hasn’t stopped Republicans from supporting Mandel. He has joined presidential candidate Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in Ohio, and outside groups continue throwing millions of dollars behind the Mandel campaign.
Fortunately, Mandel’s campaign seems to be wrong about such dishonesty not being important. In some recent polls, Mandel has been estimated to be losing quite badly to Brown. When commenting on Mandel’s poor favorability numbers, a Public Policy Polling statement said, “You’d be hard pressed to find a serious Senate candidate in the country this year with worse favorability numbers than those.” The same poll found Mandel was down 10 points against Brown — a startling gap with less than three months left in the campaign season.
CONTACT GERMAN LOPEZ: firstname.lastname@example.org or @germanrlopez