Not just false - entirely false
It isn't often you see a politician issuing a statement calling news reports "entirely false." Usually the political-media differences are over nuance, emphasis or headlines.
But Deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff appears to be starkly aggrieved by a quote attributed to him in today's LaPresse. Reading the quote, it does seem a wee bit on the outrageous side -- if true or false.
Here's the troublesome paragraph, in an overall story about how Ignatieff was in Montreal fundraising precisely when Dion is under leadership siege in the province. The offending quote is at the end.
Entre ces cocktails, M. Ignatieff a eu des rencontres avec des militants qui avaient organisé sa campagne au leadership en 2006. Il leur a fait comprendre qu’il en avait assez d’attendre le départ de M. Dion et qu’il n’avait pas l’intention de rester dans l’ombre de Bob Rae, nouvellement élu aux Communes. Frustré, M. Ignatieff a laissé tombé dans une rencontre : «M. Dion a été un très bon ministre, mais il n’a pas la stature d’un chef.»
Rough translation: "Over cocktails, Ignatieff met with supporters of his 2006 leadership bid. He led them to believe that he was awaiting the departure of M. Dion and he had no intention of resting in the shadow of Bob Rae, newly elected to the Commons. Frustrated, M. Ignatieff let drop during this meeting: "M. Dion was a good minister but he doesn't have the stature of a leader."
Here's Ignatieff's full statement, issued this afternoon:
"The statement directly attributed to me in this morning's La Presse is entirely false. I was in Montreal to raise funds to repay my leadership debt. I have worked tirelessly for our Party and our Leader and will continue to work with our strong Liberal team to ensure we win the next election. No one has the right to call my loyalty into question."
It may be splitting hairs, but we here are wondering why Ignatieff used the word "directly" in that statement. Is he denying the direct quote only or the entire paragraph, including that little bit about the impression he left -- what he led them to believe?