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Mini-Muth’s Truths: April 27, 2010

The Wall Street Journal notes this morning that Ford Motor, the American automaker that did NOT take a government bailout, “reported a $2.1 billion first-quarter profit, raised its forecast for the year, and boosted its second-quarter North America production by another 30,000 vehicles.” Go figure.

According to chatter on the political grapevine, there will be no gubernatorial debate this Friday at The Orleans because Jim Gibbons had a scheduling conflict and Brian Sandoval didn’t want to debate just Mike Montandon. So he opted out as well.

Hey, hey, HEY! I’ve got an idea. Since U.S. senate candidate Bill Parson and congressional candidate Ken Wegner have not been included in the debates for their respective offices – a decision perfectly within the rights of the sponsoring organization – why not let them “sub” for Gibbons and Sandoval in the gubernatorial debate. I mean, they probably couldn’t do any worse, right?

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden’s campaign made national news again last night, when The Colbert Report weighed in on the “chickens for checkups” brouhaha. And to be honest, it was pretty funny. Watch it here. The challenge facing Team Lowden now is how to turn this lemon into lemonade. A personal follow-up appearance on Colbert armed with a little self-deprecating humor would go a long way.

Not that Lowden is the only Republican U.S. Senate candidate having some challenges with the media. John Chachas is taking issue with one particular aspect of a profile story about his campaign that was published in Sunday’s Las Vegas Sun. Here’s what he wrote yesterday to veteran reporter Patrick Coolican, who wrote the original story:

“Thanks for taking the time to write your article. I think you misunderstood one of my positions — the concept of the mortgage deduction. I took the liberty of posting a reply, but I wanted you to know that you incorrectly reported that item, Patrick. I have never asserted that, nor do I believe it.”

Further elaborating the point, here is what Chachas posted on the Sun’s website about this issue:

“Let me be clear: I am not in favor of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction within our present taxation scheme. I DID say that in the context of a European style tax structure, VATs and consumption taxes are paired with flatter tax structures with no mortgage deductions of the magnitude in the American tax system. . . . I am also vehemently opposed to a VAT generally.”

For his part, Coolican stands by his story. In an email response he wrote:

“As for the mortgage deduction, it did NOT come up in the context of the VAT. You said people need to sacrifice if we’re ever going to address the deficit.

“After you finished your short stump remarks, I approached you and asked whether people such as yourself should also sacrifice, since you’ve done quite well since the 1980s. You pointed out that even if taxes were to be raised to their Eisenhower levels for wealthy Americans, it wouldn’t eliminate the deficit. You then allowed that you would be ok with an excise tax on luxury goods. But then you said the middle class would also have to contribute to make a dent in the deficit. First we discussed the mortgage interest deduction, and then we moved on to entitlement reform.

“My notes are clear, and you offered no clarification about this being in the context of VAT. We weren’t talking VAT. At all. If this was supposed to be the context, you never provided it, so I’m not sure how I’m supposed to have noted that context. Repeat: We were NOT discussing the VAT, so any miscommunication is not mine. It never once came up in our conversation. (Our photographer Steve Marcus will back me up on this.)”

To which Mr. Chachas responded:

“Thanks for writing back. I’ll stipulate any miscommunication is owed to my being inarticulate. That said, I stand by my follow-up to clarify what ‘I meant’ but I guess didn’t convey clearly.”

To which Mr. Coolican responded to me after I inquired about the matter:

“I stand by what I wrote. My notes are clear. We never discussed VAT in the interview, so I’m not sure what’s he’s referring to. He can say I misunderstood him or that he meant something else and would like to revise and extend his remarks. It’s his right, and we gave him space on our website to do so. Certainly I’m not immune from mistakes, but people who know my work know it would be unusual for me to misrepresent something so badly. I’m sorry if there was some confusion, but I highly doubt it was on my end.”

OK, glad we cleared that up. Meanwhile, back at the ranch….

“As governor, I am committed to improving Nevada’s education system by empowering local control of our schools,” wrote Jim Gibbons in an email fundraising pitch yesterday. “Every candidate running for governor talks about reform, but I am fighting today for real change.”

Really?

Well, as Newt Gingrich says, real change requires real change – which would be to empower parents to control the education of their children, not the government – be it local, state or national. And the only way to do that is via school vouchers, a reform the governor talked about including in the recent special session of the Legislature but abandoned when the heat got too hot. In other words, what we have here is the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

In voicing his opposition to and indignation over Arizona’s new tough-on-illegals law, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid said yesterday, “You can’t determine whether someone is undocumented simply by the way they look, dress or speak.”

True. But you also can’t determine if someone is illegal by ignoring the problem and pretending that the vast majority of the millions of people in this country illegally are of Hispanic heritage. And no, it’s not racist to point out such an obvious fact.

Jon Ralston writes this afternoon that “Gov. Jim Gibbons, obviously trying to get Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford’s goat, sent him a letter today on the idea to have a new panel to look into spending efficiency and accountability, saying the executive branch is already on it!”

Hey, if Gibbons gets Horsford’s goat and adds it to one of Sue Lowden’s chickens, plus one of Assemblyman Ed Goedhart’s cows, we’d have a veritable Old McDonald’s Farm!

And finally, Jim Clark of Incline Village, a regular columnist here on the “pages” of Nevada News & Views, writes to remind me that “taxes are taxes” and that local and municipal office holders often make decisions impacting our tax burden. And he’s absolutely right. So let me take this opportunity to give a shout-out to Joe Wolfe, a candidate for Incline Village General Improvement District who proudly inked the Taxpayer Protection Pledge yesterday.