U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann wasn't even close.

When readers and editors of award-winning PolitiFact picked a "Lie of the Year," the Republican congresswoman's claim that on Page 92 of the House health care bill, "it says specifically that people can't purchase private health insurance after a date certain, which means people will ultimately go into a single-payer plan where it is government providing health care and only one single government system."

PolitiFact checkers found something that could have been misinterpreted to read that but...it was on Page 91 and decided Bachmann was guilty of  "misinterpretation to a ridiculous extreme."

No matter how ridiculous or extreme, only 3.2 percent of Politifact readers thought it was worthy of "Lie of the Year."

The winner/loser by a country mile was from former VP nominee Sarah Palin. From PolitiFact:

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

"Death panels."

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn't made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, "Death panels? Really?"

The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural "Lie of the Year."

PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose "death panels" from a field of eight finalists. (See the complete results.)


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