December 17, 2013 11:11 am -

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post fact-checker, has announced the biggest Pinocchios of the year. It’s balanced between left and right, with President Obama taking the prize for saying, “If you like your health care plan you can keep it.” That seems like less of a lie, however, than a misstatement, as a lie has to be a purposeful misstatement of fact. President Obama is too smart to say something that he knows could come back to bite him in a very uncomfortable place.  Here are some of the other 2013 Pinocchois:

Obama’s kids are protected by armed guards at their school

The National Rifle Association, in a tough television ad on gun-control measures and in a longer four-minute video presentation, highlighted what it saw as “elitist” hypocrisy by Obama because his children are “protected by armed guards at their school.” While the law requires the president’s children to have Secret Service protection, the ad clearly referred to armed security guards at Sidwell Friends School. But the guards there do not carry guns, so the ad was based on a false premise.

Clinton denied security for Libya personnel with her signature on a cable

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) charged that then- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in April of 2012 “signed” a cable directing a drawdown for security assets for the U.S. Embassy in Libya. The issue became a political flash point after four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, were killed at two U.S. compounds in Benghazi. But the claim that Clinton signed the cable was absurd, as every cable, even the most mundane, bears the secretary’s “signature,” because it is automatically added by the communications center. There is no evidence Clinton was even aware of the request.

70 cents of every dollar spent on food stamps goes to bureaucrats

The retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has been a rich source of material, and it’s hard to pick from her many 4-Pinocchio remarks. But this one takes the cake. She asserted that, for the food stamp program, the math was $3 in food stamps for the needy, $7 in wages for the bureaucrats who manage the program. But it turned out she misunderstood an analysis concerning anti-poverty programs, and then applied an incorrect ratio to the wrong type of program. Budget documents show that staff salaries amount to one-third of 1 percent of the Department of Agriculture’s budget for food and nutrition programs.

Democrats took $50 billion from overcharging students on college loans and used it to pay for Obamacare

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is the ranking member of the Senate committee dealing with health and education issues, but he played sleight of hand with Congressional Budget Office documents to make a bogus charge. Upon close examination of his claim, it became clear he was purposely netting unrelated provisions against each other. Nothing in his statement was accurate, and given his position on the committee, he should have known better.

Obama is closing the U.S. Embassy in the Vatican

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee claimed that Obama decided to close the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican as part of some sort of attack on Catholics. But the embassy was simply being moved to the same diplomatic compound as the U.S. Embassy to Italy — with a different building and address — as part of security and cost savings recommendations made during the George W. Bush administration. Obama had nothing to do with it.