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Washington Post fact-checker gives Harris four Pinocchios

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler awarded Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) four Pinocchios in a Tuesday column, writing that she had selectively edited a video of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's comments about "abortion-inducing drugs" to argue he is against birth control.

Kessler wrote that in a tweet highlighting Kavanaugh's comments, Harris did not make it clear that Kavanaugh was actually reiterating the plaintiff's position in a 2013 court case. Instead, he wrote, she made it seem that Kavanaugh was offering his own opinion.

"The issue at hand is Kavanaugh's reference to 'abortion-inducing drugs,'" Kessler wrote. "A plain reading of his sentence, with its reference to 'they said,' suggests that he is merely reflecting the plaintiffs' argument."

He said Harris had omitted the words "they said" in a widely circulated tweet that said Kavanaugh's comments were a "dog whistle for going after birth control."

"Harris's decision to snip those crucial words from her first post on the video is certainly troubling," the Washington Post fact-checker wrote.

In a second tweet sent out by Harris a day later, Harris did provide the full context of Kavanaugh's remarks, Kessler wrote.

"But there was no acknowledgment by Harris that the original tweet was misleading," he added. "She earns Four Pinocchios -- and her fellow Democrats should drop this talking point."

A four-Pinocchio rating is the most egregious one can receive from the Post fact-checker.

In the first tweet sent out on Sept. 7, Harris, a member of the Judiciary Committee overseeing Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, said Kavanaugh was nominated "for the purpose of taking away a woman's constitutionally protected right to make her own health care decisions."

The tweet has been "liked" more than 30,000 times and retweeted more than 15,000 times. 

After conservatives blasted the tweet as taking Kavanaugh's remarks out of context, Harris replied to her own tweet one day later by including a video showing the nominee's comments in full while not backing off her original assertion. 

"There's no question that he uncritically used the term 'abortion-inducing drugs,' which is a dog whistle term used by extreme anti-choice groups to describe birth control," she wrote. 

The fact-check is the second in two days to cite Harris, with Politifact also rating her comments about Kavanaugh during last week's confirmation hearings as "false." 

Harris, a former California attorney general, is considered a top-tier presidential contender from the Democratic side to challenge President Trump in 2020. 

--Updated 9:47 a.m.

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