The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election 2012

October 31, 2012

Campaign notebook: lies, damned lies and footnotes

— Remember that Sept. 9 story in The Free Press about “Allen Quist’s Extreme Agenda for Medicare: HE WANTS TO END IT FOR FOREVER?”

Neither did we.

But a flier with the above headline — mailed by the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party to residents of the 1st Congressional District — has a footnote that advises folks to “check the facts” in the Sept. 9 Free Press to learn about Quist’s support of “an extreme Washington plan to convert Medicare into a private voucher system.”

So we checked that edition of paper, looked in the A section, the B section, the lifestyle section, even the sports section. Nothing about Quist looking to voucherize Medicare. Nothing about Quist and Medicare at all. In fact, his name didn’t appear once in the entire edition.

A call to the DFL brought an explanation. They got the date wrong, spokeswoman Kate Monson explained. It was actually the Sept. 5 Free Press they were talking about.

That one didn’t ring a bell either, which was surprising since it would normally be memorable if a candidate said he wanted to put an end to Medicare — particularly if he said it in all-capital letters.

Turns out, there was a story about Quist Sept. 5, only it was about his opposition to the farm bill — not Medicare. Monson pointed to this sentence in the story: “Quist said he favors a plan by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan that would make food stamps a block grant program to the states ... .”

OK, but the DFL mailing doesn’t say Quist “WANTS TO END FOOD STAMPS FOREVER.”

Monson said Ryan’s budget would turn Medicare into a voucher system. Quist supports Ryan’s food stamps idea. Ergo: Quist probably supports every part of the Ryan budget and WANTS TO END MEDICARE FOREVER.

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Election 2012