How can you tell when politicians are lying? Answer: When they moves their lips. Until now, that had been considered a joke. Today, however, that seems especially true when listening to Republicans seeking their party’s presidential nomination.

Thanks to, sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center the University of Pennsylvania; PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-Prize winning site operated by the Tampa Bay Times and the Washington Post’s The Fact Checker blog, it’s easier to catch politicians in lies. Here are some notable examples:

“We’re only inches away from no longer being a free economy.”
– Mitt Romney, Republican debate Jan. 7 in Manchester, N.H.

“…There’s strong evidence undercutting Romney’s claim that comes from, of all places, the conservative Heritage Foundation. Heritage published an economic freedom index for 2011 – an international ranking of nations using a combination of 10 types of statistics, covering business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labor freedom…The U.S. ranked ninth out of 179 nations on the list, with a score that placed it near the top of the ‘mostly free’ category. The only nations to be considered more ‘free’ than the U.S. were, in descending order, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, and Denmark.

“If the results of this study – which, we’ll remind readers, was produced by a staunchly conservative think tank – suggest that the U.S. is on the verge of socialism, then Lenin must be partying in his mausoleum.”

“I was talking to a state official the other day in Iowa that told me that the state of Iowa is being fined because they’re not signing up enough people on to the Medicaid program.”
— Rick Santorum, CNN debate Jan. 19 in Charleston, S.C.

The FactChecker:
“Santorum has made this puzzling comment before. ABC News investigated and found there was little to it. ‘Iowa, like other states, receives federal reimbursement for the money it disburses in Medicaid fees,’ Huma Khan reported. ‘There is no quota system or target that the state has to meet in order to be eligible for federal money. The amount of money that each state receives is dependent on its economy.’ She quoted a state official as saying that any reduction in payments ‘is not a punishment. This is a recognition that Iowa’s economy is improving relative to other states.’”

“Under Jimmy Carter, we had the wrong laws, the wrong regulations, the wrong leadership, and we killed jobs. We had inflation. We went to 10.8 percent unemployment.”
— Gingrich, Charleston debate

The Fact Checker:
“Actually, unemployment reached 10.8 percent during the term of Gingrich’s hero, Ronald Reagan. The unemployment rate did not get higher than 7.8 percent under Carter.”

“I could have stayed in Detroit like and gotten pulled up in a car company. I went off on my own. I didn’t inherit money from my parents. What I have I earned, I worked hard, the American way.”
— Romney, Charleston debate

The Fact Checker:
“No one questions that Romney earned huge sums on his own – he is now worth an estimated $200 million or more – but he has been inconsistent in the past on the question of his inheritance. He has said he did inherit money but gave it away.

“In a 2006 interview with C-SPAN, he said that ‘I did inherit some funds from my dad. But I turned and gave that away to charity. In this case I gave it to a school which Brigham Young University established in his honor, the George W. Romney School of Public Management.’

“More recently, in an interview with Reuters, he said: ‘What I got from my parents when they passed away I gave away to charity and to my kids.’ Moreover, The Boston Globe and the new book The Real Romney have reported that he lived off stock investments as a college student and he received a loan from his father to buy his first house.”

“Any child born prematurely, according to the president, in his own words, can be killed.”
– Rick Santorum in a speech March 7 to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.

“We researched Obama’s position on ‘born alive’ legislation extensively during the presidential campaign. Obama favors abortion rights generally, and he opposed the state version of Illinois’ ‘born alive’ measure as a state senator. But he never said that premature children, even those who survived an abortion, could be killed.”

“More people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”
Newt Gingrich, Republican debate Jan. 11 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“…Gingrich goes too far to say Obama has put more on the rolls than other presidents. We asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition service for month-by-month figures going back to January 2001. And they show that under President George W. Bush the number of recipients rose by nearly 14.7 million. Nothing before comes close to that. And under Obama, the increase so far has been 14.2 million. To be exact, the program has so far grown by 444,574 fewer recipients during Obama’s time in office than during Bush’s.”

Don’t believe every word that leaves a politician’s lips.

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, You can also follow him at

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George E. Curry

NNPA Editor-in-Chief