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Two Truths and a Fox News

As the election nears, it’s time to bury some persistent Obama myths.

One of my favorite days at In Business HQ (and it’s a madcap, Great Gatsby-worthy saturnalia at least thrice a fortnight on these premises) was when we played Two Truths and a Lie as part of a team-building exercise.

It’s a fun diversion that allows participants to discover facts about their friends and coworkers that they might never otherwise know. For instance, my two truths and a lie might be, “I was the salutatorian of my high school class,” “I once spurned an invitation from funnyman Rip Taylor to meet with him following a theatrical performance in Green Bay,” and “I have not thrown up since the ’80s.” Then you have to guess which one is the lie. (Check the end of this column for the answers.)

As the fair-haired days of autumn shrivel and darken before our eyes like Bill O’Reilly’s head molting pancake makeup in the twilight of a long, fruitful day of GOP spinmeistering, we enter the homestretch of the wild and wooly 2012 election cycle.

It’s been an entertaining one, that’s for sure.

Unfortunately, as the duly appointed loyal opposition (i.e., token liberal) at IB, it falls to me to make a final pitch for the re-election of Barack Obama. Admittedly, that’s kind of like having to tell people to eat a lot more kale, turnip greens, and seaweed. It will pay dividends eventually – promise. Hey, look how much better we’re doing since we got off the George W. Bush pork rinds and Yoo-Hoo diet.

But even if Obama has been a model of mediocrity, that still hasn’t stopped Republicans from trying to turn him into an absurd caricature of evil. So maybe the best use of this space is simply to tackle some of the persistent myths about Obama that have been gnawing at me lo these many months. It’s the least I can do for our 44th president.

Out of the following choices, see if you can spot the lies. (Fox News viewers’ results may vary.)

1) Like most U.S. political figures of the last century, Barack Obama believes in progressive taxation.

2) Obama is a Christian in good standing.

3) Obama is a Muslim and a socialist.

Comment: Easy one. The lie is No. 3. If you’re looking for a socialist president, try Dwight Eisenhower, who presided over a top marginal tax rate of 91%. If you’re looking for an infidel, try Thomas Jefferson, who edited the Bible to remove all of Jesus’ miracles.

1) Obama singlehandedly ballooned the national debt.

2) Obama inherited a large deficit that was “baked into the cake.”

3) Dick Cheney once said, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.”

Comment: No. 1 is the lie. Even before Obama stepped into the Oval Office, the Congressional Budget Office forecast a deficit for 2009 of $1.3 trillion. Much of that resulted from two unfunded wars, a collapsing economy (that Obama has at the very least stabilized), and Bush’s upper-class tax cuts.

1) Obama is a hyper-regulating job killer.

2) In his first three years, Obama wrote 5% fewer regulations than George W. Bush.

3) The economy cratered in part because the government failed to regulate the financial sector.

Comment: The lie is No. 1. No. 2 is true, according to an October 2011 Bloomberg analysis. No. 3 is obvious to anyone who was awake the past 10 years and not getting his or her financial news from Fox News or Highlights for Children.

1) Obama cut taxes for 95% of working families.

2) Under Obama, tax rates hit a 30-year low.

3) Obama is a fiendish tax-raiser.

Comment: No. 1 is true according to Politifact. No. 2 is true according to the Congressional Budget Office. No. 3 is true according to Ted Nugent, Toby Keith, pretty much everyone who draws a paycheck from Rupert Murdoch, and my brother Paul.

Hope you scored well. Enjoy the final month of the spin cycle. I’m predicting an Obama Electoral College victory on Nov. 6.

 Answer to my two truths and a lie: Sadly, the lie is the first one.

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