Orrin Hatch, Rush Limbaugh Lie about Carol Lam

A minor, but interesting, aspect of the ongoing US Attorney firing scandal has been this statement last Sunday on Meet the Press by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), questioning the qualifications of Carol Lam:

She’s a former law professor; no prosecutorial experience; and the former campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton.

Now, the interesting thing about that is that it apparently is completely untrue: Lam was never a law professor, had lots of previous prosecutorial experience, and was never associated with the campaign of either Clinton. Hatch wasn’t called on it on the show, for which I guess we can thank the kwality of TV “journalism” these days. (Though presumably Tim Russert will have Hatch back on some day and put the quote up on screen, asking him for his response.)

But I guess it could be worse. I’m willing to stipulate that there’s a smallish chance that Hatch was merely in the throes of creeping dementia. And maybe MTP’s failure to point out the falsehood was the result of mere journalistic incompetence. In the case of the following Rush Limbaugh comment from a few days later, though, I don’t see any way around it: The guy was just flat-out lying:

Carol Lam was a campaign manager! These people would normally be made ambassadors, but Clinton put her in as a US attorney.

Um, no. She was not a campaign manager, or anything else, for Clinton, and was appointed as a US Attorney in 2002 by George W. Bush.

If you want to find people willing to tell blatant lies to support your pre-eixsting biases, you can find them. For those of a right-wing bent, Rush Limbaugh serves the purpose nicely. Just don’t expect the grown-ups to pay much attention to your opinions once they recognize where they’re coming from.

A nice roundup is available from Little Thom’s blog: The Logic of Over-the-Top Suspicion.

Update: Interesting followup from Josh Marshall: I become frightened sometimes… It includes this great quote from Orrin Hatch, released today:

My comments about Carol Lam’s record as a U.S. Attorney were accurate, but I misspoke when making the point of discussing politically connected U.S. Attorneys. I accidentally used her name, instead of her predecessor, Alan Bersin, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton.

Heh. My comments were accurate… except that they were about a completely different person who has no connection with the matter I was actually discussing. Wow, that’s cool. Let’s all try:

Talking to the IRS: Oh, right, yeah. My tax return was accurate… except that it was an accurate accounting of the income of somebody other than me.

Talking to an irate girlfriend: My statement that you have an enormous rear end was accurate… but see, I didn’t actually mean you; I meant Rush Limbaugh.

Talking to a boss: Oh, gee, yeah; that big cash deposit I was supposed to make with our receipts for the week last Friday. I made that deposit, I really did. It’s just that I made it into a different person’s account, rather than the corporate account where it was supposed to go.

20 Responses to “Orrin Hatch, Rush Limbaugh Lie about Carol Lam”

  1. enkidu Says:

    Did Carol Lam wear a hijab?

    Nope, just connecting the dots in the Cunningham investigation. Fired for not being a partisan tool. Gee I wonder how that investigation is proceeding now? I bet Dusty Fogo is laughing his crooked @$$ off right now.

  2. shcb Says:

    Kind of like “I don’t recall having any Rose Law Firm documents” “oh looky what I found two days after the statute of limitations ran out, those documents were right here on my secretaries desk all the time”.

    “Hi, my name is Sandy Burglar, golly gee, how did those top secret documents get in my pants.”

    All poor old Orrin did was try and save a little face.

    Now Orrin retracted what he said at least to point, anybody here going to retract that he lied?

  3. jbc Says:

    Well, I offered already (in the body of the item I posted) that he might just have been very, very confused. Though there’s an interesting comment included in that item I linked to in the update that calls into question whether what Hatch did can be reasonably construed as accidental, and personally, I think that argument carries at least a little more weight than the “he was just talking out his butt without having any idea what he was saying” storyline. But I’m probably biased on that point.

  4. shcb Says:


    It’s just a pet peeve of mine, to call things lies, Nazi, fill-in-the-blank-phobic etc when they aren’t. I know we get caught up in the emotion of the moment and sometimes a little theater spices up the conversation. But when the word lie starts to cover everything from mistakes to deception to actual lies, the word gets diluted to the point it has less impact when a person in a position of trust actually does lie. All in all you do a pretty good job being honest with your updates with the exception of calling things lies that aren’t. But hey, it is the name of the site, and we are both advocates, and have no responsibility to make the others points. I’m just going to call you on it when I think you have crossed a line. But I will try and not get too redundant or include 27 links to prove my point.

    Good Day

  5. enkidu Says:

    Please. Please read all of what Hatch was saying. A single ‘mistake’ in a single paragraph/statement, understandable. Two, regretable. Three in the same paragraph, well gee the pattern seems set here, political hack in action.

    “Take Carol Lam, for instance. Carol Lam was raised on your program, Tim, by Schumer. Carol Lam, it’s amazing to me she wasn’t fired earlier because for three years members of the Congress had complained that there had been all kinds of border patrol capture of these people but hardly any prosecutions. She was a former law professor, no prosecutorial experience, and the former campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton, and they’re trying to say that this administration appoints people politically? Of course they do. That’s what these positions are. But politically they’ve appointed people who have been approved by the Justice Department–the Judiciary Committee, in most cases, who have served well, are strong people and, and, frankly, these, these seven were really mishandled.” Orin (shouldn’t opened my big) Hatch

    Now, this was a pretty powerful indictment — except that Lam has never been a law professor, was an Assistant US Attorney for 14+ years and, of course, was never a campaign manager for Bill Clinton.

    She was praised in a formal letter from the border patrol (or immigration officials, no time to google and wingers won’t read it anyway) for her zeal and actual actions on immigration issues. She wasn’t a law professor (ever) and probably wouldn’t have touched Bill Clinton with a ten foot pole (uness she was beatin him with it).

    Hatch got caught lying. Deliberate falsehoods to spread a partisan agenda/message.

    I am sure (really really sure) that jbc will have plenty of Hillary or Obama lies to laugh about when either of them is elected.

  6. shcb Says:

    Fair enough, I haven’t been here long enough to see this site do anything but trash republicans, which is fine, this isn’t a news site, it is opinion. I don’t want to make a federal case of this. You are probably right anyway, Hatch didn’t make it to the major leagues without knowing how to play the game. You guys can have this point uncontested, at least I was able to make my point about semantic infiltration. But I promised to not get off topic, and I’m a man of my word (unless I can get away with it).

    Have a good Easter guys

  7. knarlyknight Says:

    I got a really short attention span on this issue. Can someone explain to me in 4 or 5 simple sentences what they think are the key differences between lies, deceptions and half truths?

    I read a post ages ago from shcb and my eyes glazed over at the rationalizing of whether something was a lie or something less. I might be naive, but to me you either know you’re being honest or not and there is no middle ground. Lying refers to the latter, whether it’s an overt lie, a lie by ommission, or a lie because you suspect there is something that disproves what you say but you willfully refuse to hear it or are to lazy to find the truth before making the statement. Telling the truth is when you have no doubt that you are being honest.

    I think I just used up all my attention span on this one. Can anyone make it simpler for me?

  8. shcb Says:

    To clarify a little, in this case I don’t think Hatch lied or deceived in his original comments, I think it was just a mistake, but he certainly deceived and possibly lied in his follow up comments. I’m sure he knew exactly what he was saying and writing in his follow ups, hell, twenty lawyers probably looked at that letter before he sent it. It really comes down to the severity of the lie. JBC correctly called it a minor point in his opening comments. That is not to say it won’t become a major point later, it will depend on what the future holds and if he is covering something else up or not.

    Here is the definition I posted a while back. I’ve omitted the little snippy comments. The definition is only the first paragraph, just stop there if you start to glaze over.

    A lie is the telling of an untruth that you know at the time was an untruth, with malicious intent. Deception does not always imply aim or intention. In simplest terms a lie is pretty much black and white, although the results of that lie can have a wide range of ramifications, usually, but not always negative. Deception has every shade of gray and can also have a wide range of ramifications. We add the malicious intent clause to differentiate lies that cause harm from “white lies”.

    When Clinton lied in court, the lie itself wasn’t that bad, two consenting adults having sex. This was a lie because Clinton new at the time he said he didn’t have sex with that woman, he indeed had had sex with that woman. No one knew if he was or wasn’t lying until the DNA was checked on the blue dress. Then he said he hadn’t lied, another lie and then he admitted to having an inappropriate sexual relationship, that was deception to cover the obvious lie. So now we have a lie, that lie is not serious, the ramifications to Clinton’s career may have been serious but the ramifications to the public or to justice were not. Remember a lie is a lie, the level harm depends on the specific case. What raised the bar in this case was that it was material in a sexual harassment case.

    A lie isn’t always a bad thing, nor is deception. In Operation Overlord, the Allies devised an elaborate deception to trick the Germans into thinking the attack was going to be at Calais, not Normandy. If Eisenhower had called Rommel and said “Erwin, your old friend George is going to attack France at the skinniest part of the channel on July 4 to coincide with our Independence Day” it would have been a lie, and placing Patton and all the other elaborate props there with him would have been a deception, but it would not have been a bad lie or a bad deception. Except from our enemies point of view.

  9. knarlyknight Says:

    Thank you, I think I agree with most of your definition… Many of us tend to speak of and understand what is meant by ” a lie” as including any form of deception, but that seems to be more of a secondary definition. The primary definition indicates that a lie is a form of deception where the lie teller intends to deceive. I’m not so sure whether malicious intent is important as white lies are intended to deceive for a noble intent, yet even white lies can undermine the trust that leads to healthy relationships.

    All this is definitely beyond my attention span, but you might be interested in this thorough resource on lying (hey, it even addresses doublespeak as a form of lying!) but no-way can I be bothered to read it all…


    So when lies get out of hand, does that lead to state sponsored terrorism… I refer especially to Gladio in Italy which is described after a short scroll down here:


  10. shcb Says:

    I think that is my issue; calling any deception a lie dilutes the word. I would rather see the word lie reserved for the provable lies that cause harm. If something isn’t provable at the moment, I would like to have the phrase modified to “possibly is lying” or something like that. You are right, white lies can get out of hand quickly, so you need to be careful how they are used.

    Sorry, I don’t have time to read the StateTerror article right now, but yes, when lies get out of hand state sponsored terror and many other bad things can happen. That is why a free press is so important to a free peoples, but then the press needs to be held accountable for lying, hence the rise of talk radio, then talk radio needs to be watched etc. etc. In the end, in government and the press, both areas where deception is a way of life, trust is one of the most important qualities.

    I will try and read your links this evening,

  11. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb – it really is much nicer when we agree, isn’t it? If you read all of the two links I noted you will be way ahead of me – I just scanned for the interesting bits & the bits I wasn’t already aware about.

    This one is easier to read but only covers one example, and the two comments that follow are even perhaps better than the article:


  12. NorthernLite Says:

    I think I can help with this too kk: Here are some recent examples of lies.

    GWB is out there right now claiming that if Democrats uphold the will of the people and force him to change policy in Iraq, the pentagon will run out of money by the end of the month. That is a blatant lie and he knows it. They have enough money to fund the wars until at least mid-summer.

    When John McCain was recently parading around Iraq surrounded by dozens of soldiers, agents, police and helicopters flying above him proclaiming that “Baghdad is a safe place” that was a blatant lie and he knew it.

    Either one lies or tells the truth. Period. Some people try to sugar coat these things but it really is as simple as that, for me anyways.

    Hope this helps.

  13. shcb Says:

    Great example NL, I don’t have the time right now to research the specifics of this case so I will talk in generalities using this as an example. First, you mentioned “the will of the people” America is not a democracy, we are a constitutional republic, so in this matter the will of the people is irrelevant. The only place the will of people matters is at the ballot box every two years.

    This is a perfect example of how neither side, the administration nor congress, are probably lying, but are both being deceptive, at least to the uninformed listener. When Bush says he will run out of money he is probably referring to a bucket of money reserved solely for the Iraq campaign, when Democrats say there is enough money to last until the end of the summer, they are probably talking about that same bucket and a little our of several other buckets, contingency funds, emergency accounts, that sort of thing. In reality Bush could probably tap into accounts with the signing of an executive order and fund the campaign for another year or more. On the flip side, congress isn’t going to defund this war, it would be political suicide. The Democrats are playing to the far and middle left that provide so much funding, and Bush is paying to the far and middle right that likewise provides so much funding.

    In the end we will be in Iraq for another two or three years and finish the job, or we will pull out in six months and have to go back there in 3 or 4 years and stay 2 or three years and finish the job. This is why it is so important to be well informed, so you can listen to statements from both sides through a filter.

  14. NorthernLite Says:

    Speaking of filters, you would do well to note that it’s not Democrats that are saying money is there to mid-summer, it’s the bi-partisan committee responsible for war funds that confirmed that.

    Have you checked your filter latley? Judging by the amount of credit your willing to give this admin, I’d say you may need to replace your filter soon.

    Also, by saying that you will be in Iraq for 2 or 3 more years, aren’t you setting a timetable?

  15. shcb Says:

    We have a two party system in America, the party in power assigns committee chair positions as well as defines the rules of the congress before and during each session (every 2 years). The committee chair then picks the members of that committee and their responsibilities in that committee he also sets the agenda. So while the committee may well be bi-partisan, it is clearly controlled by the Democrats. As it should, the Democrats won that right in the last election fair and square.

    I stand up for this administration because I believe it is usually, but not always right, and I do take what it says through a filter, reread my post above, I said both sides are spinning, that is ok, they are advocates. What is important is which philosophy gets the desired results, as long as their spin doesn’t cross a certain line of decency and trust. Of course the results each of us desire are different. So this gets rather complicated.

    The time is just an estimate, it might be over in 6 months it may flair up periodically for the next 2 decades.

  16. NorthernLite Says:

    Are you calling me a liar when I say that Bush is lying about running out of money in April? I hope not…


    Don’t get me wrong, I know the money is going to run out soon, I was just giving kk a current example of a lie . Money doesn’t last long when you’re pouring $275 million a day down a black hole.

    Btw, if you think you will be out of Iraq in 6 months, can you please send me some of what you are smoking? It must be some kick ass shit.

    Anyhoo, we’re waaaaay off topic. Talk to ya later.

  17. shcb Says:


    No, heavens no I’m not calling you a liar, I’m just saying you’re probably wrong about Bush lying. I am sure you are telling the truth as you see it you’re not trying to decieve anyone. You’re just wrong, it happens to the best of us. If pressed Bush will legitimately point to one batch of money and say “that is all I have”, Democrats will point to another batch of money and legitimately say, “you also have this pile of money”. Both sides are pointing to the pile of money that makes the strongest argument for their side. But neither is lying.

    As you correctly point out it would be a minor miracle for us to be out of Iraq in the next 6 months, so whether the money runs out in a month or 4 is irrelevant anyway. We need to fund this war until the end . By the way 275 million a day isn’t that much money to save the world. It is only about 0.8% of our daily GDP, it would be over 9% of Canada’s, helps to put things in perspective.

  18. NorthernLite Says:

    Fair enough SHCB – but “saving the world”?

    Dude, you gotta send me some of that shit!

  19. NorthernLite Says:

    Oh, 275 million a day may not seem like much for the healthy US bank accounts (aren’t you guys in a massive debt already?), but once you start multiplying it by 30 days, by 365 days, by 730 days, by 1460 days…

  20. shcb Says:

    Saving the world:

    I gotta tweak you a little every now and then.

    The national debt has gone up a little as a percentage of GDP since the war started but not much. This increase is due not only to the actual cost of the war but also increases in security at airports, military installations and ports as well as the economy going in the tank for a year or so after 911, which followed the dot com crash. I don’t have the numbers handy but I think the debt is less than 1 or 2% of GDP higher and is still at or below historic norms. The tax cuts early in the Bush administration and low interest rates have grown our economy to cover a large portion of the cost. Our military was also drawn down to a historically low level during the Clinton administration due to the “peace dividend” after the fall of the Soviet Union. So we could increase our spending almost 100% before we reached our normal average since WWII. Now the actual dollar amounts are huge because all the numbers are huge. But those numbers can be deceptive and hard to get your arms around.

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