Truthiness on Parade

The Washington Post's "Fact Checker," Glenn Kessler, takes a shot at debunking a remarkably resilient conservative misconception, that Barack Obama has, on numerous occasions, "apologized for America," particularly in front of foreign audiences, and that his foreign trips can be described as "apology tours." You'll be shocked to learn that Obama has never, in fact, apologized for America.

Conservatives are undeterred, however. The Heritage Foundation gave us "Barack Obama's Top 10 Apologies," not one of which is an actual apology. This is something that all right-thinking Republicans are supposed to believe. To wit:

"I think ordinary Americans are tired of Obama's global apology tour." -- Sarah Palin, America By Heart

"America is different. And what makes us different makes us great. Barack Obama doesn't see it that way. He readily apologizes for his country while ingratiating himself to our rivals and enemies." -- Tim Pawlenty, Courage To Stand

"This is the first president who believes you can command the respect of rogue nations by apologizing and throwing away the stick." -- Mike Huckabee, A Simple Government

"Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined." -- Mitt Romney, No Apology

To repeat: Barack Obama has never apologized for America. Not once. Ever. In no speech, in no remark, nowhere. It has never happened. He has, on occasion, mentioned mistakes in prior policy, just like every president. On most of those occasions, the mention of mistakes has been followed by some discussion of how awesome America is. But he has never apologized. I know conservatives would like to believe he has, because they think he hates America, so he just must have, but he hasn't. Sorry.

One of the things that interests me about Kessler's piece is the comments. After Kessler methodically dismantles the "apology" claim, the first commenter writes, "we have all seen the videos of obama's apology of America to the world...and seeing is believing...your cedibility just went up in smoke" (all misspellings in original). Other commenters ask this one what videos he's talking about. Naturally, he doesn't say. One of his compatriots chimes in, "Obama's apoligies are a matter of record, recorded on video and audio for all to see." Again, no link, no source. But whatever -- it sure feels true!

Not to be a broken record on this, but the next time a Republican presidential candidate makes this claim -- and they will -- please, reporters, just ask them specifically what they're talking about. If they say, "That time in France," ask them where the "apology" is. And when they can't produce it, ask them if now that their claim has been shown to be false, they'll stop making it. Please.

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