In last week’s debate for Republican presidential candidates, Carly Fiorina tried to make the case that President Obama’s tenure has been “demonstrably bad for women,” all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. In fact, she offered proof, insisting, “92 percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.”
Almost immediately, the claim – a line recycled from Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign – was proven to be completely untrue.
A day later, Fiorina appeared on CNN and was asked if she should have avoided the misleading figures. “No, absolutely not,” the Republican candidate responded. “Wow, this is the same conversation we had after the last debate. Everybody came out and said I was using wrong data. No, I’m not using wrong data. The liberal media doesn’t like the data. Perhaps the liberal media doesn’t like the facts.”
A day later, undeterred by reality and pesky fact-checkers, Fiorina published a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which she argued, once again, “92% of the jobs lost during Mr. Obama’s first term … belonged to women.”
Yesterday, however, the GOP candidate reversed course.
Carly Fiorina acknowledged Sunday that one of the facts she used to criticize President Obama during the third GOP presidential debate last week was misleading, after fact-checkers called her out.“In this particular case, the fact-checkers are correct,” Fiorina said on ABC’s “This Week.” Fiorina had said that 92% of the jobs lost during Obama’s first term were held by women.
She proceeded to complain some more about journalists anyway. “This is what the liberal media always does,” Fiorina added, “it attacks the messenger trying to avoid the message.”
Just so we’re clear, Fiorina lied, then she defended the lie, then she repeated the lie, and then she grudgingly conceded that the “fact-checkers are correct.” But she still sees herself as a victim of a media “attack.”
Regardless, given Fiorina’s previous approach to reality, I’m inclined to see this as a positive development. The last time she was pressed on an obvious falsehood, Fiorina simply refused to acknowledge the truth, repeatedly insisting that fiction is fact, simply because she preferred her version of reality to everyone else’s.
The fact that she acknowledged her falsehood yesterday is heartening.
Perhaps it’s a sign of things to come? If Fiorina is suddenly open to admitting when she says things that aren’t true, maybe she can also acknowledge some of the other claims she made in last week’s debate that were also false?
Postscript: Given the intensity of Fiorina’s harangue on Thursday – “The liberal media doesn’t like the data; perhaps the liberal media doesn’t like the facts” – it’ll be interesting to see if the Republican candidate makes any attempt at an apology.