Barack Obama

Campaign '08 Update: Extra-Integrity Editon

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Mitt Romney attacks Barack Obama for holding Mitt Romney's old position on sex ed:

In a Planned Parenthood questionnaire he filled out during his 2002 gubernatorial run, Romney checked 'yes' to a question asking, "Do you support the teaching of responsible, age-appropriate, factually accurate health and sexuality education, including information about both abstinence and contraception, in public schools?"

The answer, pointed out by a rival campaign, was resurrected in 2005 when Romney was criticized by Massachusetts pro-choice groups when he began to push an abstinence-heavy focus on sex education.  Still, his spokesman said then that he still backed a "comprehensive" approach on teaching public school kids about sex.     

But last night, sensing an opportunity to burnish his cultural conservative credentials, Romney used a speech before a Colorado GOP group to light into his potential rival on the issue.  

"I heard a quote today from Barack Obama which puzzled me," Romney said.  "He said that, 'we should have sex education in kindergarten'—I'm not kidding you."

—Pro-life Fred Thompson was once a lobbyist for a pro-choice group, and he's been fibbing about it:

Billing records show that former Senator Fred Thompson spent nearly 20 hours working as a lobbyist on behalf of a group seeking to ease restrictive federal rules on abortion counseling in the 1990s, even though he recently said he did not recall doing any work for the organization.

As Marc Ambinder finds, no one seems to care.

– This one's a little dated but I missed it before. John Edwards, in a speech to the NAACP:

Edwards' call for felons' voting rights to be restored also received loud cheers, although as a North Carolina senator in 2002 he voted against a bill allowing felons the right to vote in federal elections.

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  1. To lobby for a group does not imply you agree with their agenda, either in whole or even in part. I would like to know just what it is Thompson believes, but I don’t think his lobbying history will do a good job of indicating that.

  2. Gee, politicians will say whatever they think will help their campaign/career at any given moment. I’m shocked!

    Nobody cares because everybody knows they are all full of BS on every issue.

    It’s the South Park episode with the choice to vote for a turd sandwich or a giant douche.

  3. What a bunch of toad scum. Every day RON PAUL looks better and better. I’m so glad RON PAUL is running. It’s like voting for Jesus, Santa Clause, and Superman all in one. I think I’ll send him some money.

    RON PAUL ’08

  4. Thompson’s voting record while in the Senate is pretty clearly that of someone who is pro-life. And, importantly, his votes were cast after his lobbying efforts for this group were made.

    As noted on NRO’s Corner blog, he should just come out and say he moved to the pro-life position while in the Senate, after having had some pro-choice leanings earlier. At least he didn’t change his position right before running for President, like Romney.

  5. I’d like to see a campaign between Edwards and Romney–more plasticity than a Lego factory.

    Edwards: projectile vomit inducing.

    Romney: projectile vomit inducing, with bonus magic underwear.

    What a choice! But somehow highly appropriate for our times.

  6. As Marc Ambinder finds, no one seems to care.

    Why should they? It’s not something important like a $400 dollar haircut. Flip-flopping and being disingenuous is A-OK if you are a Republican. On the other hand if you are a Dem, merely having nuance means you are a liar and a flip-flopper who has their finger in the wind on every decision.

    Even Romneys $300 make up session didn’t register as a blip on the press radar.

  7. Oh, yeah, Thompson–just what we need, another cracker or pseudo-cracker in the White House. We haven’t had enough of those shitbags recently.

    Who the fuck won the Civil War, for Christ’s sake? Spare me any more “good ‘ol boys”, my lifetime corn pone quota has already been exceeded.

  8. I love the way “sex education in kindergarten” is thrown about as some sort of scare word, out of context, as if the curriculum is going to involve screenings of Deep Throat.

    Sex education in kindergarten = “Your body is special, and private, and no one is allowed to touch it without your permission.” “The baby grows in Mommy’s belly.” “Boys’ and girls bodies are different.”

    Heaven forbid any six year olds have their heads filled with that smut.

  9. In 2005, Romney said he favored age-appropriate sex education. In 2007, he mocked Obama for advocating sex-ed in kindergarten. This is consistent. It’s reasonable to believe that age appropriate sex ed should only begin after friggin’ kindergarten.

  10. Even Romneys $300 make up session didn’t register as a blip on the press radar.

    That’s because Edwards spending habits came out first. If Romney’s makeup had come first, then the jokes would be about Romney’s astringent and no one but Reason would care about Edwards’s haircuts.

  11. joe,

    Actually, I prefer to let kids learn about sex the old-fashioned way–from other kids in 3rd grade. That will protect them later in their teen years, when they’ll be too creeped out to experiment.

  12. Abdul,

    Kids start asking about babies and bodies well before they get to kindergarten.

  13. Your body is special, and private, and no one is allowed to touch it without your permission.

    Spanking advocates are going to be upset about that one. I understand that it’s intended to be referring to sexual abuse, but kindergarteners aren’t going to understand that, and there are a lot of legitimate reasons for a kid’s parents to touch him or her without permission.

    In any case, the question that Romney was asked in ’02 contains so many weasel words that nearly anyone would answer “yes” to it. “Responsible, age-appropriate, and factually-accurate” means a plethora of different things to different people.

  14. crimethink,

    I was making a point about the maturity level and degree of explicitness in kindergarten-level sex ed. Don’t nitpick my phrasing – if you’re that interested in details about the curriculum, I’m sure you can find some online.

  15. Romney and the Reps deserve a chop to the throat for all sorts of reasons, but Abdul has half a point that there is a conceivable difference between approving of “age-appropriate sex education” and advocating “sex education in kindergarten”. Many Republicans agree with just that distinction.

    He’s a hypocrite for certain, but not necessarily on this.

  16. Here’s something on the cutting-edge sex education curriculum in the U.K.

  17. Joe,

    Kids start asking about babies and bodies well before they get to kindergarten

    Teaching about babies and bodies at a young age is reasonable. All I’m saying is that Romney’s position (“Teach ’em sex after six”) is also reasonable and not a flip-flop. I don’t think most folks mind putting sex ed off until third grade or so.

  18. Abdul,

    My point was about Romney’s rhetoric, not his substantive position.

    OMG OMG OMG, they’re going to talke to children about SEX! Come on, Romeny didn’t say “I heard a quote today from Barack Obama which puzzled me,” Romney said. “He said that, ‘we should have sex education in kindergarten’ — I’m not kidding you,” because he wanted to hold off on teaching kids fuzzy stuff about respecting their bodies for three years.

  19. “I don’t think most folks mind putting sex ed off until third grade or so.”

    I don’t know about sex ed, but if you wait that long to teach foreign language, you might as well forget the whole thing.

  20. Fibbing? What a load of crap.

    Between 16 and 13 years ago, Thompson spent under 20 billable hours on a client. While some of you may who remember everything that took up so much as 0.085% of your waking hours over a four-year period over a decade ago, some of us have mortal memories.

  21. Not to jump into this debate thirty years late or anything, but it’s my job and my wife’s to teach my kids about sex, not the school’s. We’ll also handle morals, religion, politics, and indoctrination, thank you very much.

  22. Many Republicans agree with just that distinction.

    Puh…lease. The only “age appropriate sex education” the GOP wants in our nation’s schools at any grade involves storks, cabbage patches, and, of course, JEEEEZ-us.

  23. Morals, religion, politics and indoctrination are all subject, Pro Lib.

    Facts about biology are not.

  24. I don’t know about sex ed, but if you wait that long to teach foreign language, you might as well forget the whole thing.

    I didn’t have sex until after third grade, but I’d say it’s been worthwhile despite my late start.

  25. I think a good rule of thumb is that if the kids are old enough to be held accountable for “Sexually harassing” classmates, then they are old enough to learn sex ed in some form or another.

    http://www.wbaltv.com/news/10573391/detail.html

    http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/6819062/detail.html

  26. joe,

    That’s disingenuous. The subject isn’t taught as straight biology. And, from my own experience, it seems like it’s always taught by interns at the height of horniness. Sending a different message than Mom and Dad might like to send about sex.

  27. Many Republicans pretend to agree with just that distinction.

    Three, fixed that for you

  28. The “I’m not kidding you,” tagged on the end, totally makes the quote. See Mitt has dish on Oh-Bama and he wants props. Good thing he’s plugged into the wire and cluing us in, otherwise we’d never know this dark side of BO.

  29. Abdul starring in… The 9-Year-Old Virgin

  30. David,

    Do you really mean to tell us that your idea of only age appropriate sex education is kindergarten age?

    The statement by Romney (who should be running for the Dem nomination BTW) is clearly one of kindergarten not being an appropriate age, in his opinion, for sexual education at school.

  31. Duh, “subjective.” They’re all subjective.

    Pro Libertate,

    The subject isn’t taught as straight biology.

    Now we’re getting somewhere. There are a lot of different things that could be taught in a sex ed class. Some of them actually are appropriate for kindergarten students.

  32. From the article: “[Fred Thompson] has also opposed a constitutional amendment banning all abortion, also on the grounds of states’ rights.”

    Wha????

  33. Oh I read that wrong. I thought it said that he “PROPOSED a constitutional amendment banning all abortion”

    Nevermind

  34. I’m all for biology being taught. Cosmology, too.

  35. Pro Libertate | July 19, 2007, 5:03pm | #
    I’m all for […]. Cosmology, too.

    are you sure school kids are emotionally equipped to handle weightlessness?

  36. What about cosmetology?

  37. joe,

    Only if taught by licensed practitioners.

    VM and joe,

    I was engaging in humor at the expense of our Creationist readers.

  38. yup –

    and I flubbed a line from the Steve Martin movie, “the Jerk” where Bernadette Peters says she’s a cosmetologist…

    /kicks pebble.

  39. VM,

    At least you didn’t try to demonstrate live cat juggling. The horror.

  40. ProGLib – true dat.

  41. Puh…lease. The only “age appropriate sex education” the GOP wants in our nation’s schools at any grade involves storks, cabbage patches, and, of course, JEEEEZ-us.

    Really…that is funny my mom has a BS in science, has a teachers certificate and supports Sex ed in school…oh did i mention she is a Republican. (My dad is a Republican also…but i think he doesn’t really think about sex in school…one way or another)

    Oh yeah and they had sex ed at my catholic grade school I went to…mostly just sperm and egg stuff and they separated the boys and girls…not Republicans but at the very least I think you would have to classify Catholic nuns as Christian conservatives.

    Cool I get to call Bullshit not only on Akira but Chicago Tom and Joe all in one posting…fun.

  42. The statement by Romney (who should be running for the Dem nomination BTW) is clearly one of kindergarten not being an appropriate age, in his opinion, for sexual education at school.

    It doesn’t seem that clear. “I believe age 9 is the appropriate time to begin basic sex education, whereas my opponent believes it should start at age 6,” is not a presidential campaign message. That’s like Burger King attacking McDonald’s by claiming BK’s disposable drinking straws are superior to those at McDonald’s. Taken at face value, that’s a minor point of difference in a very specific area that doesn’t play a major role in anyone’s decision-making process. If that’s truly all you intend to convey, there’s absolutely no reason to say that.

    The only rational reason to say this, particularly about a candidate in the other party when the first primaries are still months away, is to send a larger message to “values voters” that Mitt Romney shares their worldview. He stands for traditional Christian morality, whereas Barack Obama thinks your toddlers aren’t having enough reckless pagan sex.

  43. not Republicans but at the very least I think you would have to classify Catholic nuns as Christian conservatives.

    Uh, not since the 1960’s, you wouldn’t. Unfortunately, my various dealings with my diocese have included a lot of confrontations with power-broking nuns, and “conservative” is about the 65,536th word I would use to describe their politics.

  44. Of course, the best part of kindergarten sex education is when Sammy the Safe Sex Clown blows up the condoms and makes colorful animal shapes for the kids.

  45. Leave me out of it, joshua.

    Nothing you wrote has anything to do with anything I wrote.

  46. “Puh…lease. The only ‘age appropriate sex education’ the GOP wants in our nation’s schools at any grade involves storks, cabbage patches, and, of course, JEEEEZ-us.”

    I’m sure no one’s still around on this one, but Ron Paul is running for the GOP nomination, is he not? A party full of nuts does not mean that all its members are necessarily nuts. Logic 101.

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