Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn't the only politician prone to overstatement. But even by the bipartisan fact-stretching standards of the pontificating political class, the Nevada Democrat has displayed a shameful penchant for avoiding the truth.
Such was the case recently when Sen. Reid made this patently false assertion about widespread reports of Americans losing their insurance coverage due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
"There's plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they're being told all over America ... tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies, distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements."
Sen. Reid did later back off - a little - from that blanket "all of them are untrue" statement. His amended version was that the "vast majority" of Obamacare horror stories featured in ads funded by Americans for Prosperity were untrue - though he added that the group's primary financial supporters, the Koch brothers, were "un-American."
However, The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" concluded that "even Reid's revised rhetoric went too far" on those AFP ads.
And though many liberals revile the Koch brothers as dastardly, deep-pocketed champions of conservative propaganda, they are simply participating in the very American process of funding political messages - just as their wealthy counterparts on the left do.
What should be regarded as "un-American" is the unseemly spectacle of the U.S. Senate's majority leader spouting such whoppers.
Sen. Reid still hasn't apologized for issuing this scurrilous falsehood, which he also issued on the Senate floor, about Mitt Romney on Aug. 2, 2012, four weeks before he became the Republican presidential nominee:
"The word's out that he hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years."
In fact, Mr. Romney paid lots of taxes during those years - including nearly $2 million in taxes on his $13.7 million income (a rate of about 14 percent) in 2011.
Meanwhile, Sen. Reid has repeatedly refused to release his own income tax returns. But last year his Senate financial disclosure form listed his assets at between $2.8 million and $6.3 million - not bad for a man who, after his hardscrabble beginnings, has served in elective office for 37 of the past 45 years.
But even Sen. Reid's affluence and position won't buy him credibility when he persists in demonstrating such aversion to the truth.