Ah, Context

For a candidate who likes to complain that quoting him accurately constitutes out-of-context foul play, John McCain sure does love distorting things Barack Obama has said. For example, Obama says "Iran, Cuba, Venezuela - these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us." This, it seems to me, is indisputably true. But in the Land of Straight Talk where you lie constantly, McCain says "The threat the government of Iran poses is anything but tiny" and that Obama calling it tiny "betrays the depth of Senator Obama's inexperience and reckless judgment." But of course they're only even disagreeing here at all if you leave out the part where Obama said Iran is tiny compared to the Soviet Union.

Similarly, it turns out that if you take a joke Barack Obama was making about duck hunting, and then change it around so that you have him saying that you hunt ducks with a six shooter, you can make a nice joke about how Obama thinks you hunt ducks with a six shooter. The one small problem in this narrative, of course, is that Obama never said you hunt ducks with a six shooter which makes a stump speech line about how he did say that pretty dishonest.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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