Suzanne Kurtz, communications director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, spent her afternoon knowingly misleading -- if not downright lying -- to reporters.
"If Barack Obama is getting advice from Chuck Hagel about Israel, then the American Jewish community has a lot to worry about," the organization's press release read, citing five examples of Hagel's "abysmal record on Israel."
The problem: Hagel isn't going to Israel with Obama. He and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) are flying with the Illinois Senator to Iraq and Afghanistan, but not to Israel or Europe. The RJC should have known this, as it was already public knowledge. The UK Telegraph (among other outlets) reported:
"The senators [including Hagel] will be part of a 'congressional delegation' to Afghanistan and Iraq likely to travel to the war zones as early as the end of this week. Afterwards, Mr Obama will break off for a separate trip on his campaign plane to Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain."
And yet, throughout the afternoon, the RJC continued to propagate what was, at best, something they couldn't confirm and, at worst, a lie. Contacted by the Huffington Post at 2PM ET, Kurtz stumbled and nervously laughed away questions about whether or not she knew her organization's statement to be false. She would not answer whether the RJC would retract it, saying only, "if we retract it, it will be evident."
This, of course, was evasive. And four hours later -- with no retraction evident -- the Huffington Post contacted Kurtz once more. What followed was a foray into the surreal.
Why are you listing Hagel as a companion on Obama's Israel trip if the Telegraph and other news outlets say he won't be there?
"I think what is really interesting is that Chuck Hagel seems to be the latest in the long line of advisers and associates that Sen. Obama surrounds himself with that really have anti-Israel statements and biases," said Kurtz.
Um... The question had nothing to do with Hagel's record.
"I think it is absolutely about Chuck Hagel's record and the votes."
Ok, let's try a different tact. Yes or no, did the RJC believe Obama was going to Israel with Chuck Hagel?
"I can tell you that it is very interesting that Sen. Obama continues to seek the counsel and companionship of those that have..."
That's not what I'm asking.
"We are going around in a circle you understand."
Yes, I do. Is it easy or difficult to have to repeat the same exact answer, no matter what?
"Is it tough to keep asking the same question again and again?"
Do you think it is the least bit misleading that your website says Obama is going to Israel with Hagel, even though he's not.
"I don't think it is misleading. I think if he is or isn't is a question to be directed to the Obama campaign."
The result: A senior aide to the Obama campaign said that Hagel would not be going with him to Israel.
And as of 7:30 PM ET, the press release remains on RJC's website.