Sep 5, 2012 - By The St. Louis Post-DispatchHere's a suggestion for President Barack Obama as he prepares for his big moment on stage at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.:
Embrace the fact-checkers.
If Mr. Obama and the Democrats aim to stand out from the fact-free zone that was the Republican National Convention last week in Tampa, Fla., then this week, facts will matter.
There are plenty of partisans on the left and the right who occasionally take issue with the latest journalism craze of fact-checking sites, from PolitiFact to FactCheck.org, and Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler.
Most of the fact-checkers do a fair, responsible job of checking statements made by politicians so voters can know whether they're stretching the truth or just outright lying.
Fact is, the campaign for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has made it clear that its respect for facts comes somewhere far down the priority scale from political expediency.
At least they're honest about that.
Here's what Mr. Romney's pollster told a forum during the Tampa convention:
"We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers," pollster Neil Newhouse said.
Mr. Obama should take a different tack this week in Charlotte.
Admit to the American people, for instance, that you should have come out stronger in favor of the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction plan now pushed by many leaders in both parties.
You were too slow to embrace it, in part because you knew Republicans like Paul Ryan would block you. Now you support most of the concepts in Simpson-Bowles, including, yes, tax increases.
Tell the middle class the truth: That you can't just tax the rich at reasonable levels and solve all the country's financial problems. Some middle class tax breaks will have to be on the table, too.
Talk about the continued quagmire in Afghanistan, and the growing concern over Syria and Iran, and contrast your measured approach to violence in the Middle East with the rush-to-war attitude that Mr. Romney seems to be adopting.
And talk about your executive decisions to ignore bad federal laws that discriminate against gays and the children of immigrants.
We're all in this together. Tell the American people that.
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