By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Every day we hear candidates making grand statements from the campaign trail and from the White House.

So how do we know what’s true and what isn’t?

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Governing may be the art of the deal, but running for office is often the art of the boast.

And while a little exaggeration may be par for the course, going too far is good way to flunk that truth test.

Two cases in point:

President Trump likes to claim he’s been the first to do something. And he did it again at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting when presidential aide Kellyanne Conway discussed plans for this year’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, when the public is encouraged to safely get rid of unused pills that might otherwise fall into the wrong hands.

Said the president approvingly: “Take Back Day is a big deal. They’ve been talking about it for a long time; nobody’s ever done it.”


Take Back Day began in 2010 under President Obama and has been an annual event since, a fact Conway noted just before the president made his false claim.

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“The DEA runs two Take Back days each year,” Conway said.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is branding herself as a can-do presidential candidate, pointing in a new TV ad to her 12 years in the Senate as proof. “I have a proven record of getting things done,” she says as a screen graphic reads, “100-plus bills passed.”

And the website shows Klobuchar is the Senate’s second most successful Democrat at getting her bills out of committee.

But her campaign’s list backing up her claim of 100-plus bills passed falls short right off the bat.

The Senate sponsor of the first accomplishment she cites, the Abolish Human Trafficking Act, was Republican John Cornyn of Texas.

Klobuchar was just one of 31 co-sponsors. Claiming credit for its passage is quite a stretch.

Political spin – and sometimes, outright lying – is nothing new. And if President Trump has taken it to a new level, it may be because he figures he can get away with it.

But judging from the frequent requests we get from voters for help separating truth from falsehoods, people do care.

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And that’s why we’ll be applying the truth test regularly between now and Election Day next year.

Jon Keller