Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) faced anger and ridicule after claiming earlier this month that abortions account for 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's business — the actual figure is 3 percent. First, his office tried to calm the furor by saying that Kyl's assertion, made on the Senate floor during debate over the group's federal funding, was "not intended to be a factual statement." Now Kyl has stricken what some called his "Planned Parenthood lies" from the congressional record. Is that fair?
Kyl should not get to cover up his lie: The Senate's No. 2 Republican wants his "egregiously, ludicrously wrong not-intended-to-be-a-factual-statement" to magically disappear, says Rosie Gray at The Village Voice. But you can't erase one lie by telling another. Kyl made up a statistic to get publicity for his attack on Planned Parenthood, but he'll get more publicity — of the bad variety — for trying to whitewash what he said.
"It's as if Jon Kyl never even opened his mouth"
He's merely setting the record straight: Kyl misspoke, and he's embarrassed, Nick Carbone says at TIME. His critics might not like it, but the Library of Congress gives all senators the right to edit their remarks before they are printed in the permanent record. Now the record will reflect that Planned Parenthood does indeed perform abortions, but without any quantitative exaggeration. "Thank you for the factual statement, Sen. Kyl."
"From not factual to non-existent: Jon Kyl's remark stricken from Congressional Record"
The damage is already done: It's easy to understand why Kyl would want his wildly inaccurate statement to go away, says Ryan Witt at Examiner.com, but simply expunging it won't achieve that. Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert has ridiculed Kyl mercilessly over this — and no matter how the official congressional record reads, Kyl's "original non-factual statement will likely forever remain part of congressional lore."
"Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) tries to erase 'not intended to be a factual statement'"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- The NFL is terrified of the culture war
Subscribe to the Week