Hi, this is Rudy Giuliani, and I'm calling for John McCain and the Republican National Committee because you need to know that Barack Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences for sex offenders, drug dealers, and murderers.
It's true, I read Obama's words myself. And recently, Congressional liberals introduced a bill to eliminate mandatory prison sentences for violent criminals -- trying to give liberal judges the power to decide whether criminals are sent to jail or set free. With priorities like these, we just can't trust the inexperience and judgment of Barack Obama and his liberal allies. This call was paid for by the Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin 2008 at 866 558 5591. [TPM]
TPM's Greg Sargent points out the incredibly misleading use of the term "mandatory sentencing":
Note that Rudy claims Obama "opposes mandatory prison sentences" for rapists and murders, Rudy is actually referring to Obama's opposition to specific mandatory minimum sentences. By dropping the word "minimum," he's insinuating that Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences in general.
That’s dead-on. The correct term is "mandatory minimum sentencing," but Giuliani reworks the phrase to make Obama’s position on sentencing reform sound more sinister.
Of course, this is all just total nonsense. Giuliani uses the word "liberal" to disparage judges, as though they are a criminal’s best friend and they all want to "set free" sex offenders, drug dealers, and murderers. Moreover, McCain and Obama are on the same page when it comes to sentencing nonviolent drug offenders. Obama’s opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing stems from his concern that we have too many first-time nonviolent drug offenders in prison, a point McCain agrees with. The Republican platform completely omits drug crimes from the list of offenses for which republicans support mandatory minimum sentencing.
As sleazy and disgusting as this is, I just don’t see it going anywhere. At this point in the campaign, this kind of hysterical mudslinging is inherently suspect. There’s just not much to debate in terms of the candidates’ differences on crime issues anyway, so if the McCain campaign wants to go there, they’ll need to create some kind of meaningful distinction. Arguing that Obama wants to free dangerous criminals sounds ridiculous on its face and won’t survive as a talking point without some substance to back it up. There is none.
My prediction: Giuliani’s throwback to the "soft on crime" attack politics of the '80's will accomplish nothing.
(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)