The Left responded quickly to President Obama’s calls for renewed civility by cooking up a ridiculous lie about House Speaker John Boehner skipping the Tucson memorial to hold a cocktail party.
This wasn’t just a forum topic running through the usual loony liberal websites. It was pushed by both USA Today and The Politico. There are hundreds of listings for the story on newspaper websites, along with the expected lefty blog traffic.
“Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) turned down an offer by President Barack Obama to travel on Air Force One to Arizona for a memorial service on behalf of the victims of Saturday’s shooting, a decision that has upset some Democrats,” read the Politico report. “Boehner is instead scheduled to attend a reception on Wednesday night on behalf of Maria Cino, a former top House GOP aide who is seeking the Republican National Committee chairmanship.” Dismayed quotes follow, from the same sort of “anonymous Democrat operative” who was last heard advising Obama to “deftly pin this on the Tea Partiers.”
The truth is alluded to at the end of the Politico story, but it took Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo to connect the dots and put this stupid storyline to rest. Boehner was involved in a Capitol Hill memorial service for the Arizona victims on Wednesday, and the schedule was changed to allow Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to fly to Tucson with President Obama. If Boehner had gone as well, the leaders of both parties would been absent from the D.C. event.
As a Boehner spokesman explained, “Yesterday, Representative Giffords’ colleagues on both sides of the aisle honored her, and mourned those who were lost. The Speaker felt his place was here in the House, with them.”
It wasn’t difficult to pin these details down. A simple call to Boehner’s office would have sufficed. And yet, the Politico headlined this story as “John Boehner Turns Down Air Force One Ride To Tucson,” while USA Today went with the simple slander of “Boehner Skips Memorial For Ariz. Shooting Victims.”
My guess is that you’ll still hear liberals sneer about Boehner blowing off the grieving people of Tucson for a cocktail party, months from now.