It depends on what your definition of “truth” is

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on September 19, 2009

Former Bush 43 adviser Karl Rove made a statement on Fox News the other day that Politifact.com decided needed to be fact-checked.

Rove’s statement: “Obama used to be a lawyer for ACORN.”

Now, this is a fairly straightforward statement. It seems to me that it can only be “true” or “false.” There’s no gray there. Obama either represented ACORN as a lawyer or he did not.

Politifact.com rated Rove’s statement “half-true.”

Say what?

Politifact.com’s explanation:

Obama and two other attorneys represented ACORN in a 1995 federal civil lawsuit against the state of Illinois — Gov. James Edgar and other state officials were the named defendants — to demand that it enforce a new federal law known as "motor voter," which allowed people to register to vote when they got their drivers' licenses.

Exactly how would this translate into “half-true”?

As for Rove's claim that Obama used to be a lawyer for ACORN, yes, Obama once took on a case for ACORN. But Obama was never a staff attorney for ACORN. He did not do ongoing work for the organization. He handled one case along with two other attorneys. [emphasis in original]

So, let me see if I get the standard for “truth” right when it comes to lawyers and the clients they represent.

Johnny Cochran used to be a lawyer for O.J. Simpson.

“Half-true.” Yes, Cochran once represented Simpson in a criminal action. Cochran was not an attorney that Simpson had on retainer. Cochran didn’t clean Simpson’s pool. Cochran handled one case with six other attorneys.

This is fun. Let me try it again.

George W. Bush used to own a Major League Baseball team.

“Half-true.” George W. Bush used to own a share of the Texas Rangers. Bush did not own a share of any of the other 31 major league baseball teams. George W. Bush never wore a Rangers uniform or sat on the bench during a game. Bush shared ownership with numerous other investors.

It must be a relief for the White House not to have to spin President Obama’s history with ACORN – Politifact.com will do it without even asking.

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