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Gov. Perry is flaming, PolitiFact says

With the first governor’s race in Texas since the national sea changes in American politics in 2006 and 2008, it will be interesting to see if our majority Red state is feeling a little more Blue.

But with all those Republicans/Democrats/Libertarians/Independents, um, squeegeeing the truth all the time, who can you trust to wiper off the mud on your pickup window?

If only we had some kind of fantastic machine that would take politicians' claims and spit out what’s really going on …

Hey, wait! Texas now has the Truth-O-Meter!

PolitiFact.com has teamed up with the Austin-American Statesman to provide the same BS-detecting service that it won a Pulitzer Prize for. The Texas site fired up on Jan. 13 and it’s already given a “Pants on Fire” rating for one of Gov. Rick Perry’s claims against an opponent.

PolitiFact employs impartial fact-checkers to look up the nitty-gritty behind -- oh, let's say politicians’ self-aggrandizing blurbs or one of their often less-than-truthful hits on opponents. Instead of a boring recitation of the facts, PolitiFact presents the results in an easy-to-navigate site with a wee dab of tongue-in-cheek style.

Gov. Perry got the site’s lowest rating for a claim he made against his primary primary-election opponent, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Now, PolitiFact is not saying the governor is deliberately lying to every living Texan (cover little Roy's ears!), just that the Truth-O-Meter burst into flames when they wanded it near the governor’s slacks.

In a Dec. 20 press release, his claim was, “Sen. Hutchison abandoned Republicans and stood with Democrats to ensure health care legislation would pass quickly." PolitiFact’s explanation of why this claim is shakier than Balloon Boy’s dad is here. Basically Perry flim-fammed to call Hutchison a flip-flopper.

Hutchison herself got a second-lowest Meter reading with a claim that she “quadrupled the agents to secure our border.” Democratic front-runner Bill White, Houston’s mayor, only has one judgment (truthful). (The Democratic primary is barely on simmer compared to the roiling Republican contest.)

PolitiFact doesn’t have a Dallas elections site, but for news and opinions on the local scene check out the Examiner’s politics site. For info on all the Dallas County elections coming up this year, and how to register, click this Dallas County site.

My policy is that if a politician can’t bother to get things right in a campaign, do you really want to trust that person to handle your tax money right?

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