The Best Lies Carry An Element of Truth

Chris Christie made a very specific, enumerated claim the other day:

"When I was U.S. Attorney we wound up putting 10 percent of the state Legislature in jail during my seven years."

Politifact checked this out and discovered that the number is actually three percent.  That means Christie was 333% off from his actual record.  It explains how he can claim a Jersey Comeback while state income tax receipts are down, state business tax receipts are down, and unemployment is up.

Called on this fabrication, Christie's spokesman said:

"Really?" Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said in an e-mail.  "Every other person in the audience understood the Governor was making a rhetorical point about his extensive record in combating political corruption as U.S. Attorney and not, as you seem to be suggesting, citing, with great exactitude, some baseball statistic."

But Christie did speak with great exactitude about his own record. He didn't say, "something like ten percent."  He didn't say, "a whole bunch."  He didn't even resort to ridiculous hyperbole as in, "Every second seat was vacant because they were all in jail."

Christie gave a number that was exaggerated but still within the realm of possibility, knowing that the people in the room would walk out with a specific number -- ten percent -- in their heads.

Which is a lie.

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