This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," October 9, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, FOX HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," the politics of lying. Do some tall tales make you unfit for public office? A new ad in the Connecticut Senate race is raising that question. And we're looking at some of the greatest political whoppers of all time.
Plus, the Supreme Court hears a case that tests the limits of the First Amendment. How far is too far when it comes to free speech. We'll debate.
Plus, will the new documentary "Waiting for Superman" do for education reform what "An Inconvenient Truth" did for global warming? We'll ask the director of both those films, next.
Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report," I'm Paul Gigot.
First up this week, the politics of lying. Lots of politicians do it, but when is a lie so over the line that it should disqualify the teller from holding office. Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate for Senate in Connecticut, released a new ad this week that raises that question. McMahon is running against that state's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, who was outed by The New York Times this spring for lying about serving in Vietnam. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD NARRATOR: Would you lie about serving in a war?
SENATE CANDIDATE RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.: We have learned something very important since the days. I've served in Vietnam.
AD NARRATOR: Dick Blumenthal did, again and again.
BLUMENTHAL: When we returned, we saw nothing of this gratitude.
AD NARRATOR: He covered one lie with another.
BLUMENTHAL: And since the days that I served in Vietnam.
AD NARRATOR: He lied about Vietnam. What else is he lying about?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; editorial board member, Dorothy Rabinowitz and opinionjournal.com editor, James Taranto.
Dorothy, all politicians lie or at least their opponents accuse them of lying. Is this ad fair?
DOROTHY RABINOWITZ, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Well, you mean fair being truthful? Yes, it's fair. Is it kind? No. It's a really perfect example — and he's a perfect expression of political lying at its worst, which reveals character in a very fundamental way. You cannot say, as often as he does in that, in that ad, "in Vietnam, when we came back." Can anybody be so absentminded and gotten the details of the military career, such as he did not serve in the war? And what really happened is that, this is an exposure after he was outed.
GIGOT: He was in the Marine Reserves.
RABINOWITZ: He was in the Marines, stateside at all times. But the point is that the amount of bluster that went into defending this lie was telling, because it told you something about his attitude toward the electorate. You have perfectly clear expressions of what he did.