Raise your hand if you thought the job of the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Poltifact page was to be the mouth piece for a candidate when they won’t clarify themselves. Yea, I didn’t think so either. This is exactly what the editors behind the PolitiFact page did yesterday for non-candidate for senate Josh Mandel.

PolitiFact gave the Ohio Democratic Party’s claim that Josh Mandel endorses the US defaulting on its loans a  “pants on fire” rating.

We find the Ohio Democratic Party’s claim isn’t just inaccurate, it’s also ridiculous.

On the Truth-O-Meter there’s just one ruling for that kind of statement: Pants on Fire.

This isn’t the first time we have covered Josh Mandel’s extreme view on the debt ceiling. When I wrote about it last it was when Senator Jim DeMint’s PAC, Senate Conservative Fund, put out a release announcing their support for Mandel’s senatorial campaign. In the same release DeMint praises Mandel for supporting the idea of not raising the debt ceiling while bashing Brown for supporting the idea.

Brown SUPPORTS raising the debt limit. Mandel opposes it.

I’m sorry, but that is as clear as day. I don’t understand what the disagreement is here.

The PoltiFact page comes to Mandel’s defense in a couple of ways. One, the article asserts that just because Mandel opposes raising the debt limit doesn’t mean he endorses the idea that the US should default. Keep in mind though, that is not what Mandel himself has said, that is what the Plain Dealer is saying what Mandel meant to say. When the Plain Dealer asked Mandel’s spokesperson to clarify the matter they didn’t receive much help.

We next called Mandel’s spokesman on political matters, Anthony Conchel, to ask about Mandel’s position on default.

“I’m not going to respond to that,” he said, instead providing a quote from Mandel that he said “mirrors his public comments” on the matter:

“I am a proud supporter of the ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’ plan that includes a balanced budget amendment and that passed the House with a bi-partisan vote. If families and small businesses have to tighten their belts and balance their budgets, then government should do the same.”

The Plain Dealer should understand that; a) that response has nothing to do with raising the debt ceiling, that is a response about a separate piece of legislation that Republicans are using to hold the debt ceiling hostage and, b) he still didn’t comment on whether he opposes raising the debt ceiling or not.

What is more odd, for evidence that Josh Mandel does not support the US going into default, the article uses quotes from Sen. DeMint. The problem is, later on in the same piece the Ohio Democratic Party is chastised for saying Mandel favors default for using statements made in a letter of support from Sen. DeMint. How is it that the Democratic Party gets penalized for using DeMint’s words for Mandel while the Plain Dealer can assign DeMint’s statements on default to Mandel? They don’t get it both ways.

Let me make this as simple as possible for you: Josh Mandel is given credit for opposing the raising of the debt ceiling in a release put out by Sen. DeMint. Josh Mandel never once backs away from that statement even when he is asked to clarify it. Opposing to raise the debt ceiling is the equivalent of supporting default. There are no other options at this point; the US either raises the debt ceiling by Tuesday or we default on our loans. Period.

Don’t let this article fool you, Josh Mandel clearly still supports a radical, dangerous policy that threatens the entire US economy and would have staggering implications if it was ever achieved.

I give this PoltiFact article a rating of pants-on-fire.