Never letting the facts get in the way of a good soundbite, Michele Bachmann's been caught with her pants on fire by PolitiFact again.
George Stephanopoulos, on "Good Morning America," asked her why it was okay for the wealthy to get tax breaks, but not okay to extend unemployment benefits. So instead, she equated plumbers with rich people; who wants to raise taxes on plumbers?[jump]
Here's what she said:
"And people want to think that these are millionaires, sitting in leather chairs, lighting their cigars with $100 bills," she said. "That's not what we're talking about. These are people who, who are carpet layers who maybe employ two or three other guys, or a plumber, maybe himself and his brother, and it's $250,000 in gross sales for their business. They're the ones that are looking at massive tax increases."
PolitiFact found that, like Joe The Plumber, she's not telling the truth.
It wasn't true then, and it isn't true now. Here's why: Plumbers -- or any other small business owner -- get to deduct their business expenses, so they'd have to be bringing in more than $250,000 in gross sales.
A lot more, given that small business owners get to deduct a laundry list of expenses before paying taxes: "employees' pay, supplies, a car or truck, fuel costs, advertising, association dues, utilities, shop repairs, and the list goes on."
A post-interview fact check on the ABC News website also showed that her statement was bunk. So PolitiFact opined:
Her misstatement of the facts on Good Morning America seems designed to scare small business owners into thinking they're in line for a tax increase, even if their income is modest. For distorting the tax proposals to a ridiculous extent, we rate her statement Pants on Fire.
But our question is why Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton White House whiz kid, would get rolled on air by Bachmann in the first place. He knew he was going to ask her about the Bush tax cuts. Yet when her answer came, he let it go unchallenged. And she then posted the GMA clip on her own congressional website with the ABC News imprimatur as "proof" her nonsense was legitimate.
She tried the same move right after the election with Anderson Cooper on CNN. Parroting the Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity line she asserted that Barack Obama was taking 2,000 people with him to India at a cost of $200 million a day.
The story was bunk, based on unattributed rumors from a fifth-rate Indian news website. Cooper, to his credit, challenged her a little bit during their initial interview, then he came back the next and called her out totally. But even then, it was too late. For Bachmann's amen corner, her word's as good as gold. The fact checkers? She just a carnival barker leaving them in her dust.