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Truth is constant casualty in 2016 presidential campaign

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump waves from his

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump waves from his vehicle during a tour of the the World Trade International Bridge at the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero) Credit: AP / LM Otero

On Jan. 20, 2017, the 45th president will take the oath of office with a hand on the Bible. In the meantime, it’s just as well that the candidates keep their hands elsewhere.

The current tally by PolitiFact, a highly respected nonpartisan organization, finds each of the three remaining contenders stretching the truth or telling falsehoods on at least half the statements that were scrutinized for fact-checking.

A YouTube video posted by Hillary Clinton foes last week has received almost 8 million views. The compilation purports to show her lying for 13 minutes straight.

PolitiFact found parts of the video debatable when her remarks are considered in context, but also determined there was at least one indisputable Clinton lie — her Brian Williams-like claim during the 2008 campaign about landing in Bosnia a dozen years before “under sniper fire.”

Then again, the way Donald Trump’s falsehoods are piling up, they could become a feature-length movie. His own profile in make-believe courage came last year as he visited the border city of Laredo, Texas — at the risk, he warned, of his life.

“They say it’s a great danger, but I have to do it,” he said. “I may never see you again,” he told Fox News, “but we’re going to do it.”

The remarks puzzled residents of low-crime Laredo. While there is a violence on the other side of the border in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, it’s rare on the boundary itself. Accompanied by his own security detail, local law enforcement and a large news media presence, Trump managed to come and go unharmed.

Here’s PolitiFact’s truth tally on Trump, Clinton and Bernie Sanders:

  • Trump is the most estranged from facts, with 2 percent of his statements ruled true, 6 percent mostly true, 15 percent half true, 15 percent mostly false, 43 percent false and 18 percent such egregious lies they were given the “pants on fire” rating.
  • If Clinton wants to change the minds of the considerable voters who deem her dishonest, she has work to do. PolitiFact rated her statements 23 percent true, 27 percent mostly true, 21 percent half true, 16 percent mostly false, 12 percent false and 2 percent “pants on fire.”
  • Sanders escaped the “pants on fire” rating, but his grades otherwise are no better than Clinton’s — true 14 percent, mostly true 36 percent, half true 19 percent, mostly false 18 percent and false 12 percent.

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