February 22nd, 2010
07:00 PM ET

How honest are federal government officials?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Yet another sign of our broken government:

Three-quarters of Americans think our federal government officials are dishonest.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/22/art.wash.jpg caption=""]

A new CNN/Opinion Research corporation poll shows only 22 percent of those surveyed say federal officials are honest; a whopping 75 percent say they're not.

These figures have remained virtually the same since 1994. And, what's more, people think the problem of dishonesty goes back much farther than that.

This poll is out on the 278th anniversary of George Washington's birth - and it shows 74 percent say the father of this country lied to the public while he was president... that would be the very same George Washington who was known for never telling a lie.

Also, Honest Abe doesn't fare much better in this survey... with 71 percent saying Abraham Lincoln also lied to the public as president.

All this goes to show the idea of broken government has been around for a very, very long time. Probably for good reason, Americans are always a little cynical about people seeking elected office. They don't believe that politicians always tell the truth - because they don't. Also, experts suggest that people might sense that the president sometimes has to keep things from the public.

But whatever the reason - we keep sending these politicians to Washington, hoping they will represent the people's interest. Even though we think they're dishonest. The voters are their own worst enemy.

Here’s my question to you: How honest are federal government officials?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Scott in Panama City, Florida writes:
This administration is rife with radicals, socialists and czars of a hundred descriptions who never went through any vetting process or congressional scrutiny appointed at the whim of the biggest radical of them all. We know nothing of this president... Of course, the elected officials under this administration are not honest. All they have to do is look to the president. And they can be as dishonest as they want.

Nancy writes:
We have a government of liars and thieves. They are in it to line their own pockets, not for the benefit of the people.

Cameron in San Francisco writes:
I almost spit out my coffee when I read this question. Isn't it obvious? It's hard to be respectful and law-abiding when I believe many of our government officials are not held to the same standard.

Angela writes:
What has happened to our country, where lies and cover-ups seem the norm? Whatever happened to honesty, good morals, respectability and good values? Why did putting yourself first to make a big profit at the benefit of cheating others become the norm? Whatever happened to the Golden Rule? What has happened to our country?

James in Florida writes:
They are not very honest at all, and the reasons are simple, Jack: 1) The vast majority of them are lawyers, nuff said. 2) We don't elect people that tell us the absolute truth, we elect people that tell us what we want to hear.

Don writes:
One indicator that most politicians are not honest is their incredible individual and family wealth. Another damning point is how they always manage to find extremely lucrative employment after their political careers end. I am also suspicious whenever it is revealed that a spouse or child of a politician is somehow on the payroll.

Jen writes:
Honest government officials? Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Filed under: Government
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Larraine

    My husband was a government worker for over 30 yrs plus served in the army including a year in Vietnam. I also worked for the US Gov' and my mother did also. Government workers are no different from any other worker. Some are honest. Some are not. I saw a poll in which people said that 75% of government "officials" are dishonest. I'm not even sure what the question means. Who is an "official?" My husband worked hard and was squeaky clean throughout. He erred on the side of caution. He traveled a lot in his job. The daily expense allowance wasn't enough to cover even two full meals. MANY times he traveled on weekends and well into the night so that he could maximize his time in his temporary assignment. My mother was also scrupulous in her adherence to rules and regs. I have worked in both the public and private sector and see no difference. Some people are honest and some are not. To lump all government workers into one big pot of dishonesty is just stupid.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  2. Calvin - Los Angeles,CA

    Jack so the point of your question is to do what? Make us all so sick of the govt that no one votes, no one participates, no one has any credability in the govt that we have some sort of revolution. And I find it is interesting you only pointed to the Federal govt. I guess that means that from your state house down to the local mayor...things are just peachy keen....must be nice to live in paradise.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  3. Mac K Broward FL


    That's a joke, right?

    February 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  4. J. Lichtenberg

    I think they're "honest" and telling the truth as they see it. The problem is they have not learned basic problem solving, so they rely on compromise instead, and as a result they compromise the truth habitually.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  5. frank

    I've worked as a Defense contractor. I've seen Federal officials for over a decade. I also have worked for a state agency. Federal were more honest on average. Now were there people who were totally incompetent at their job? Yes. In all THREE instances. As far as honesty, Federal officials were the top. I actually had a state manager who created data out of thin air and published it in a report. Which led to the state agency being sued. He later resigned and never put in his resume he was a manager. As far as contractors, depending on the company, when you get to operations and management, they're bottom feeders. Anything to win the contract. Manufacturing, pretty honest. But the further you get away from actually doing the contract, the more iffy the management. Federal is pretty bureaucratic. But you have to deal with politicians, its the same in state government. Those swine think because they're elected they're gods.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  6. M & M

    I think most of them are honest and caring people who honestly want to do a good job for the taxpayers. Sometimes their focus is a bit off-the-mark, but intentions are usually good and honest.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  7. BJ-West Central Illinois

    You can tell when they are lying because they are opening their mouths.
    Most people bitch because of it but they wouldn't vote in an honest politician. Uh, what's that?

    February 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  8. Russ in PA

    If you're speaking of Ron Paul, very honest, and his voting record proves it. Other than that, I have my doubts...

    February 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  9. A. Smith, Oregon

    The Republican Lawmakers are the most dishonest, unethical and most disgusting excuse for human beings walking the earth!

    February 22, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  10. David Gerstenfeld

    Who knows? LIke the old saying, you can always tell when a politician's lying," his lips move". Nothing's change.
    David, Las Vegas

    February 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  11. Joanne B

    The Whitehouse through the Congress is riddled with corruption – – other Federal Officials seem to try...who knows the percentage of crooks there, however we think it is smaller than Whitehouse and Congress.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  12. Terry in Texas

    With exceptions, not very. It permeates the entire administration. What really gets my goat is the bald face lying and then the usual "you didn't understand what I said". I guess I'm just too stupid to know what they mean by "is". It leaves me with they are stupid to think that we won't find out about their lies or they are too stupid and uninformed to know they are lying. Given the arrogance of this administration, I'll go with the former.

    February 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  13. Jack in Boynton Beach Florida

    They are just as honest as the rest of the country is. No better no worse. Our elected officials however are a different story. They do not seem to be aware of the difference between honesty and dishonesty and do not seem to care!

    February 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  14. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    There are many honest government officials, unfortunately they are not the ones that are in control.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    That word is not applicable to anyone in Washington.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  16. Moe Dallas TX

    Jack, I'm retired from the used car business after 40 years .Thank God for Politicians and Lawyers or I would be the biggest lair and crook in the world..

    February 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  17. Katja in Bradenton, Florida

    Their not. End of subject. They are all on the take and go out of their way to screw the rest of us. I am now well on my way to becoming a pessimest.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm |

    Today you have a good bunch of questions. I don't trust any gov't not untill we get rid of LOBBISTS

    February 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  19. Rob of Brooklyn

    I think probably about 99% of them are liars – crooks – cheats. Their out for their own good. They have the hands in every pocket they can get them into. Their getting nervous now because the gravy train hopefully is coming to an end. I can't wait till this election I'm voting everyone in office out.. And I'll keep doing it until I see they are working.. They spend more time avoiding work. and its both parties. The GOP are far worse , but the Dem's aren't far behind.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  20. Eugene Northern Cal

    Jack, My first experience with federal government officials was in South East Asia. They said we wern't in Cambodia and Laos and I'd been in both places for weeks. I haven't trusted them since. The Big Lie just continues on Jack.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  21. Gail, Illinois

    As honest as any executive, lawyer and other representatives of the corporations that own this country can be. Afterall, they are our "government officials." Congress is but puppets on financial strings that dance to the tunes of their puppetters, Monsanto, Cargill, Wal-Mart, JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs, etc. etc.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  22. Albert K., L.A., CA

    Jack, officials can only be as honest as the system is itself. It’s no different than when Jefferson opposed slavery but his plantation had to compete in a slave economy, so he had to bow to the system. Now global corporations are protected by the Supreme Court as “persons who speak” like a golden calf with a golden tongue making lawmakers who bow to them rich and those who don’t will have to compete against candidates who do. The system is dishonest!

    February 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  23. Pete - Georgia

    Most officials start off reasonably honest but they learn to be CLEVER.
    Very clever. Then the line between clever and dishonesty is invariably crossed and a whole new mind set is born. Much the same as a child who is born innocent then enters the world and learns to be devious.............................and clever.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  24. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Dear Jack, Have you ever heard of a politician not leaving an elected office much more financially well off than when first elected?

    Signed, Daddy Warbucks

    February 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  25. Mary, Front Royal VA

    Honest!! ??? I hear many people say, "it doesn't matter whom we elect because they never do what they say they will do". If congress would vote for what they TRULY felt was best for this country regardless of party affiliation, maybe we could get somewhere instead of being bogged down in rhetoric. Besides, those in office are constantly running for office instead of doing what they were elected to do.....help their country.

    February 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm |

    The 22% ARE the crook and their friends and people getting rich by keeping them in office, Some don't watch the news, and don't want any better

    February 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  27. Doug - Dallas, TX

    I think you answered your own question Jack. They tell us what they think we want to hear. Ever notice how good they are at avoiding answers to questions they don't like? If we're dumb enough to keep electing and re-electing them, we then get what we deserve.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  28. Gary H. Boyd

    Were a list to be compiled of the stupid people in government it would stretch from here to the horizon and I think it should be written on toilet paper.

    Gary Boyd in Scottsdale, Arizona

    February 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  29. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Define federal official. While lower level officials sometimes like to cover themselves, they are mostly honest. Executives can be less honest. Elected officials toe the party line most times (especially the current opposition) – even when they know what they are saying is wrong.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  30. David in San Diego

    Your premise is wrong: All this DOES NOT show the idea of broken government has been around for a very, very long time. Long ago, people few people thought their goverment was dishonest–it is the irrational, angry, self-centered opinion of the discontented in this decade. I think people who serve in government–elected, appointed, and just plain employees–are at least as honest as a group as people not in government. The real white-collar crooks are in private business and industry.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  31. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    In terms of honesty, on a scale of 1-10, I would give federal officials a minus (-) 3,000. In order to save their own skins, they will claim plausible denial, point fingers at someone else, or twist the truth. The downside is that at the times when they really are honest, they are still disbelieved.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  32. Ray in Nashville

    Jack, we Americans have a problem. We keep thinking our politicians are going to live up to the standards of our founding fathers. Of course, we don't know that all of our founding fathers were honest, upright gentlemen. We hear about Washington, Jefferson, Adams and a few others, but the rest are mostly just names on a document to most of us. It's time we realize that politicians are just as honest as humans are in general, so keep your eye on them.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  33. Eric Platt

    Your question brings to mind an old joke:

    How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.

    Reflecting on what is going on, maybe it isn't funny.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  34. Don from Belleville, Ontario

    One indicator that most politicians are not honest is their incredible individual and family wealth. Another damning point is how they always manage to find extremely lucrative employment after their political careers end. I am also suspicious whenever it is revealed that a spouse or child of a politician is somehow on the payroll.

    Unless America can clone people like Ralph Nader and then manage to get those clones elected, your politicians will continue to find ways to line their own pockets at the expense of the country.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  35. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    I have never met anyone who is 100% honest but these people make a living at it and far exceed all other sins of humanity. At least the party of NO doesn't hide as they are being honest and say their main objective is to defeat the President at all costs. Well the cost is our lives as we know them today and all future generations of this great country.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  36. Eric from Toronto

    Of course politicians are dishonest! They'd never get elected if they didn't promise to do things that any sane person can see are completely impossible! (Balancing the budget by cutting taxes and leaving spending untouched comes to mind)

    February 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  37. jerseylou

    As honest as palin and the rest of the klan.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  38. William Joseph Miller Los Angeles

    Which federal government officials are you talking about, political appointees, or civil servants? Many civil servants are quite honest people. If we are talking about political appointees – you have to decide who is paying their salary. If they are recruited from major corporations, chances are they will lie to promote the interest of those corporations. For instance, President Bush filled the FDA with people from the pharmaceutical industry, and now we are upset by the FDA's approval of killer drugs.
    When we vote for people, we need to know who is paying their campaign bills and why. The GOP is funded by the oil industry, Wall Street, and health insurance companies, so naturally we can expect whole scale bribery. When Sarah Palin stumps the country bragging about going "rogue", be aware that rogues are crooks and con-men. So why would you elect a crook or conman to office. People promoted by FOX news are also puppets of the same corporate interests that control FOX news.
    In other words, follow the money. And yes, beware of politicians who brag about serving Jesus Christ, that's usually a cover up. And a lot of mega-churches are multi-million dollar corporations.
    If you want honest government, vote for honest people. People who are promoted by razzle-dazzle commericals and corporate interests, or people who are ex-CEO's are almost always bound to be crooks. Don't vote for them.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  39. Rick Medina,OH


    It is clear that many of those surveyed never read some of the heart-wrenching stories of the American Revolution and the U. S. Civil Wars? Occasionally, I play cards with four federal officials ... one is an FBI agent who did two tours in Iraq training his counterparts ... another is the second in command of an airport TSA group, (responsible for 8000 flights every Monday AM,) ... the other two are guys I used to work with, now retired (who remain as occasional, but very involved, consultants.) I'd give any one of them the key to my house with no concern. And, so would you, Jack, once you got to know them.

    You'll find good guys and bad guys in every large organization. What matters is a great culture and a process to ferret out those who don't get it. It does not matter if the organization is public or private.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    February 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  40. Craig C

    That question probably creates more laughs than an entire hour of the Letterman show! Not everyone in government is corrupt but there are so many that are that Americans can barely tell which ones are which! These people lie on a regular basis then lie more to make sure they don't get blamed for it! It's so bad that the American people have almost accepted corruption in government as a necessary evil!

    February 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  41. David of Alexandria, VA

    They are only honbest enough to serve their purposes. Ifwe look at major, seminal debates like health care, energy management, and immigration, we can't seem to get a single set of reliable data on which to base our opinions. In health care, about all we hear is the "good stuff" we'll get and the "bad stuff" we'll punish the insurance indistry for, and the "deficit neutrality" which seems to magically erase cost. Honesty starts with balanced, reliable information - not simply enough rhetoric and posk to sway a few votes.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  42. Rob in NC

    Most are dishonest! but not all. I believe there are a (very) few who actually try to do what is best. I also believe they are drowned out by the majority and are eventually corrupted by the system. Perhaps we, as Americans, can pass a petition that truly limits terms in office. 2 and done – no moving to another branch. Rob in NC

    February 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  43. chris

    your odds of having a govt offical honest to us the taxpayers even one would be the odds of finding a needle in a hay stack

    February 22, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  44. Greg, Ontario

    I would wonder how many of these people that were polled about the honesty question could point to anything specific. I doubt it. A few might be able to point to the few that got caught messing around on thier wives or they might remember the one that got caught with cash in his freezer and the one that didn't pay his taxes, because that's all you guys in the media report.
    You never point out the people that work all hours to get a Bill that is really needed passed or any of the people that really do go there to work and serve the people. When all they hear everyday from people like you and Wolf is the negatives is it such a big leap to think that they are all dishonest? I mean Abraham Lincoln? Come on America.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  45. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    I have the same trust in our politicians as I do in use car salesman. That means I do not trust anything they tell me. Today's politician goes on TV and double talks.Today's politicians will only tell you what they will stop from happening by voting no, if elected. They have no ideas on how to work together and solve our problems. It takes a strong interviewer to pin them down and that rarely happens. I do feel that the president cannot be truthful all the time be cause of national security. The county I live are like so many other counties in the United States. They vote one party no matter who is running for office. If people would start voting some of these clowns in both parties out of office. Then we will see a big improvement in Washington and a big improvement in the way we live.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  46. Terry, Chandler AZ

    We think, "Sure he cares more of himself than he does for his country. Hell yes she takes advantage of her position. Of course he seldom shows the meaning of the oath of office he took. She certainly seldom speaks the truth. But you know what, he/she is my dishonest, contriving, stealing, attention grabbing, conceited congressman and I don't think I can vote for a challenger I don't trust." We are to blame Jack. I wonder what Shakespear would write of we Americans?

    February 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  47. Allen L Wenger

    They are as honest and as corrupt as any other segment in our society.

    Mountain Home ID

    February 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  48. Kyle, Irvine, CA

    I believe that they are honest when it is politically convenient. The rest of the time, the elect do business negotiating deals behind close doors (kind of like the president and Congress on health care) and trying to keep their constituents support so they can get re-elected.

    February 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  49. Ed from MD

    It depends what the truth is. If the official story of 9/11 is false, we're looking at more than white lies. And the mortgage fraud scam that set on the fast track to economic ruin. Global warming and the proposed carbon tax to correct it. They tell some whoppers.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  50. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    Jack, they are all about as honest as your pastor, your preacher, your priest, your investor, your employer, your so-called best friend. We all have that behavior, innate or not, we have it. We all lie. To what depth will those lies damage you is the concern.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  51. Dan Louisville, Ky

    Can we slow down fanning the flames of discontent – please? The elected officials are likely more honest and upstanding than a random sampling of the American people. We live in an age in which these people are expected to be wise in law, finance, economics, national security, healthcare, education, manufacturing, farming, space exploration and nuclear physics, while their every move and every word may be recorded, sliced and diced, hyped or ridiculed.

    You should ask who in their right and honorable mind would want a thankless job as this.

    I believe absolutely that Barak Obama is a thoughtful, honest and decent man, and is earnestly doing his best.

    As for Congress, there is not a "Leader" among them – only cheer leaders whose "Vision" is only as far as election day.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  52. Darren

    Let's just say if politicians had to take a lie detetor test during campainging, no one would ever get elected.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  53. Jane (Minnesota)

    I hope most are honest; the problem is Washington's climate as a whole gives too much temptation to the officals to not be honest. Making lobbying illegal would help; fat chance of that happening. It would be like asking the federal officials to bite the hands that feed them.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  54. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Most likely no more honest than they have to be. I imagine that there is a tiny kernel of truth in most things that they say, but the whole truth eludes most of them. As you can see, I have little faith in either elected or appointed officials these days–on any level.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  55. roger

    On a honesty scale of 1-10, our elected officials would score a minus 30! They would not recognize honesty if it was a rabid dog and bit them on the buttox.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  56. Leslie

    Not very honest. When you consider that almost everyday we see and read about some politician and there deceitful ways either they're cheating on their wives or finding money in their basement. So yeah I think we can trust them with the country.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  57. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Even though they'd love to run healthcare, I sure wouldn't want any of them being my doctor. they would gouge you every way imaginable and never give you a straight answer about if you are even sick.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  58. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack the mere term "Politician" is the most vulgar word I know. From experience we also know that lying is inherent in politics. The best we can do is to try and pick the one that lies the least and that is a very hard thing to do. If they seldom lied before they are elected they will surely be accomplished at it when they leave office. They all have delusions of adequacy.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  59. Evian in Austin

    It's all about entitlement, Jack. Politicians are entitled to be dishonest maggots.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  60. Melissa

    The Democrats are more honest than the Republicans. Just look at places like politifact.com to see that. But are they totally honest? Of course not. This country has supported the selfish mindset for far too long for it to be otherwise.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  61. Loren, Chicago

    I find it hard to believe that so any people now believe Lincoln and Washington lied to the American people. What I can believe is that they were selective in what they tod the people. I would contrast to recent times when our Presidents have repeatedly lied, not even selective telling, but outright lies. So if our Presidents do it, how can we expect other senior officials not to. (I will say that the career officials do not suffer the same faults to a great extent. I believe that those people try to do the job that they were hired to do and it is only when politics intrudes, does lying begin.)

    February 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  62. Mr. D

    Most of them probably start out honest and with good intentions. But the "cesspool" of politics soon dictate a less than honest approach. Doing anything for a vote or "payback" for political contributions corrupts and can lead honest politicians to questionable behavior.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  63. Tina Texas

    I would rather sit in a box with cobras than to trust this lot.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  64. cy gardner

    They're probably more honest than the GOP smear machine and their corporate media partners give them credit for. If government workers were REALLY dishonest they'd be working on Wall St. or for an insurance company or my greedy stinking landlord who wouldn't even spring for one lousy bag of SALT!!!!! Government workers crave security, people who crave money don't work for the government. cy from arlington, va

    February 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  65. Sabrina

    The better they know how to speak with a spin is just another name for a lie! I think it is more of what they do not say rather then honesty. I think if the American people knew all the extra bonus perks and pluses these dogs get for doing not much of anything but soaking our tax dollars and having a good time and putting things off, people would pay better attention. Maybe they should have time limits, and get paid based on what they actually do.
    They do not think secrecy is a lie or being dishonest, we just need to take away the rules that permit all the deceit an lack of accountability. Its not like you see a boss go behind closed doors or not show up everyday, its not the same when they are all partying and having a good time and no one sees a tab. Something else needs to change, I doubt Obama is not doing a good job, its just he expects these behindthedoornotellingall to live by the standards he keeps!!!

    February 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  66. Don (NH)

    Government officials will say whatever they think the people want to hear to get them elected. Once elected they owe favors to those that got them there. These are the people they are honest with. The public are just a means to an end. That's what democracy is all about.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  67. cy gardner

    Compared to who? Compared to Wall St? Insurance company execs?The cable company? The liars on Fox? The banks and credit card companies? America doesn't make anything anymore except for excuses. I'll bet more than half the people in America routinely lie as part of their jobs. We are a nation of chiselers and liars. We've got the government we deserve. cy from arlington, va

    February 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  68. Jill

    As honest as used car salesmen. Their sole purpose for existence is self-preservation in pursuit of their pension plan. They will lie, cheat, and steal to reach that end goal, regardless of the what is in the best interest of tax payers. Hence government being 20 years behind the times.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  69. Tom, Atlanta

    Yes, Jack. George said "yes father, I cut down the cherry tree". But, we were never told the rest of the story.

    George's father got so angry with George, that he took off his wide leather belt he wore to hold up his pants; bent young George over the cherry tree he chopped down and spanked George so badly that George never told the truth again, and the rest is history.

    Now you know the rest of story.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  70. Dennis North Carolina

    no comment, jack, it is a good joke but not a good question. oh, it is not the presidents that lie the most but congress,etc and etc.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  71. Michael G Tampa, FL

    Well Jack,
    According to most polls, Federal Government officials rate BELOW used car salesmen, who have a stereotyped reputation as lying continually just to make a sale.....
    The American public has been sold a bill of goods over the years that is worthless, which is soon what the dollar will be worth.
    America and many other nations are at a crucial point in major decision making regarding policy, and fiscal prudence.
    What is going to happen when the US defaults on the Chinese debt they hold ?
    I see a large immigration of Chinese nationals moving into foreclosed US homes in our future.....
    Jack, we need to be electing federal officials into office that have been completely vetted and our government needs to ban closed door meetings, regardless of the issues.
    It's the secret meetings with lobbyists by Congress and the closed committee meetings, as well as the unnamed earmarks and midnight votes, as well as the multi hundred page bills that makes it impossible to have transparent government.
    A 13,000 page tax code and a 2000 page proposed health care bill that does NOT have a public option ?
    When former presidents like W invade coutnries like Iraq claiming links to WMD and tried in vain to link Saddam to Al Queda and 9/11, how can we EVER trust them to EVER tell us the truth about anything ?
    And by the way, fixing Social Security should come BEFORE creating a new federal bureaucracy managing health care.
    And the idiotic Patriot Act needs to die a quick death.....

    February 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  72. Larry D.


    Our Government is very secretive and unhonest most of the time, although with obama in its getting a little better,But our government needs to be more open about things to us the american people

    Larry D.

    Albany ny

    February 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  73. Ronald Holst

    Jack how honset is any one it depends not on morals alone sorry hate to say this but there a lot of christians in our prisons .It comes down to what they believe is good and what is wrong or evil .
    So once again Jack How honest is any one in any job I mean truly honset , What we need is the integrity to enforce the laws and rules that we have . I think Any ONE WILL ADMIT THAT WITH OUT ANY OIN FORCEMENT THERE IS NO LAW. LOOK AT THE BORDER .
    look at the ethics in the House and Senate I mean there are laws and
    rules that are in place for a reason not to be abused as some have on both side of the isles .
    San Antonio TX.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  74. Gail, Plano,Texas

    Let's see Jack. Was it Watergate and the first president in history having to resign, that started the American people thinking their elected officials lie? Or was it the 2000 election which was decided by the Supreme Court? Or was it the invasion of a sovereign nation called Iraq, because we were lied to about nuclear weapons? Ummm, could be all of the above. Adding to that list all of the peccadillos Congressional workers have been involved in, plus all those who have been convicted of fraud, washing money, taking bribes. It's like a laundry list. It never ends. None are worthy of my trust!

    February 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  75. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, Government officials are, by and large, very honest, unless you are talking about elected officials? If you are referring to elected officials, you need only to take a serious look at the criminal records of Congress, records rampant with DUIs, drug use, sex scandels, unpaid tickets, fraud, election abuses, huge PACs full of Millions of lobbyist dollars they get when they retire, payoffs, under the desk deals, bribery, etc. Honesty is not a word I would use in reference to the majority of our elected officials, or their legion of political appointees.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  76. Lorita

    How can we trust the Fed people when there is so much corruption, pussyfooting, deception, fraud, aka major felony events, most of which go unpunished. There is few on The Hill I'd even begin to trust to even make Jello. As for State level, depends on the state you are from. When a person watches C-SPAN fairly regular and watches all the pussyfooting and manure going on, one really has to wonder who is psychologically sound. Las Cruces NM

    February 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  77. Johnnie from Florida

    They are the biggest group of criminals!! And that sums it all up in a nutshell. Need i say more?

    February 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  78. Carl

    It's a simple answer, they are not honest at all. Almost all are Greed, Corrupt swine and thats the good things I have to say about them.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  79. Denis Duffy

    Jack, honest and federal government official should never be used in the same sentence. I think I saw that in my first grade primer.

    Denis Duffy
    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  80. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Some are more honest than the public they represent. The radio talk show clowns make contradictory statements in back to back sentences. Some of the TEA Party protesters lie in large letters and hold them aloft for all the world to see. Mostly we lie about caring about our country. When insurances companies suck the blood out of America, where is the outrage and the visible support for reform?

    February 22, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  81. Cameron in SF, CA

    I almost spit out my coffee when I read this question......Isn't it obvious? It's hard to be respectful and law-abiding when I believe many of our government officials are not held to the same standard.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  82. AspenFreePress

    Politicians would tell the truth if we could handle the truth.
    Sterling Greenwood/Aspen

    February 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  83. Soul Leister- undisclosed bunker

    Honest by omission, just like the media... kettle questions the pot's honesty, there is no honor amoung theives.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  84. Tony from Southport

    There are crooks in Washington, and most of them are not in prison, they are in Congress.

    For man years, some who chose to work in the local, state and federal governments have seen it as a free meal payed for by the taxpayer. Stealing for themselves and adding pork to every decent bill that tries to survive makes it very difficult for the American people to get their money's worth. Shame on them.

    Even some in the current cabinet failed to pay their taxes, while they seem bent on spending ours. Shame on them, they should step down or be fired, and possibly imprisoned for tax evasion.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  85. jimmy in greenville, north carolina

    I don't think federal government officials are dishonest. They are just scared. They don't understand the rules any more than we do and in many cases retirement is long off. So they dance around the questions. That's why only the federal officials with rythym ever make it to retirement.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  86. Scott Stodden

    Not honest enough in my opinion! I believe Jack we do have a great President leading Washington but in my opinion I think the current Senators all need to leave office and we need to start from scratch because the Senate is what's holding us back from real change and progress in this country! Then President Obama like I said he's a good leader with great ideas but he's not experienced enough to handle the problems our nation is facing and we need good experienced leaders in this country!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  87. Nerw York gal

    The majority of them are looking to see whats in it for themselves. Now Obama not perfect but hes one of the more honest politicians around . He says what he wants to do and tries to do it. If only he could succeed.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  88. Sean in Castanea PA

    To the 22% in your poll, all I can say is the lights are on but nobody's home. I hope by saying it this way,It doesn't get Sarah mad.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  89. Carla Martin-Wood from Birmingham

    I don't believe there is a single honest human being in Washington DC. And that's our own fault. Dishonest people will lie to you as long as you allow it. When we know a politician has a history of lying, and we delude ourselves into thinking that politician has changed and we pull that lever and vote for them - we have no right to complain. We need a new government. What we have is so broken that it can't be fixed. We need to read the actual Constitution and demand that the people in office abide by it and act to support their constituents. We need to outlaw paid lobbyests. We need to make it illegal for any business to support a political campaign or make contributions. We need change - but I don't see that happening. I expect that would take a revolution at this point.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  90. Joe CE

    Folks are folks regardless of the sector they work within. AST the political level in the federal government, honesty is a non-starter. At the lower levels, worker act more honestly than average because they are not pressured to support some corporate objective regardless of truth.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  91. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Jack, the novel '1984' had it right. The government says whatever it needs to say to protect it's own interests and stay in power. Maybe that's why Thomas Jefferson said there should be a revolution every 20 years to keep the government honest and responsive to the will of the people.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  92. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Depends how you define honest, if you say that they honestly lie about ever thing, then you could say that they are honest. Ninety five percent of congress lies, if their lips are moving they are lying. You would have to be a complete idiot not to know when a politician is lying and they think the American public is so damn stupid they don't know it. What a shame

    February 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  93. Doris Lauter

    If the campaigns are any sign of honesty, we are in trouble. Once a candidate starts telling lies, I don't imagine that it would change much after they are elected. Unfortunately, a lot of people who don't follow politics really don't know that they are being lied to.
    Ojai, california

    February 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  94. john ....marlton, nj

    The current administration is the most dishonest, unethical and corrurpt group our nation has ever seen. They make the Bush crew look like virgins..!!

    February 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  95. Dan, Chantilly VA

    Politics is the business of well crafted lies. The blame doesn't follow on the politicians, it falls on us because your average voter doesn't want to hear the truth that solving big problems requires time and sacrifice. They want to hear about how you've got a magical solution that the other guy won't use because he's trying to hold us down. The truth gets you nowhere; fear and pandering get you elected.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  96. Sean in Castanea PA

    If a politician was honest they wouldn't be a politician. It cost millions to get elected. The big business or special interests that pays to get a politician elected, doesn't want what most voters want. The politician lies and misleads you for your vote, but does what the big money wants after elected. I don't know why but they get reelected over and over.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  97. Homeless D in Atlanta

    As compared to what? A used car salesman?

    February 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  98. Terry Gnsbg,IN "Hoosier Hillbilly"

    How honest are federal government officials?
    How honest are "who can you trust" anywhere any more?
    Where the finance companys honest?
    was health insurance
    were the oil companys when gas was $4 + /gal.
    are the cops!
    is local government?
    Point!!! "WE've" lost trust in everything & everybody, can society continue as a democracy with these thoughts churning in "OUR" stomachs??
    Even the local clerk at the convenient store can not be trusted anymore!
    Why, because they are either foreign or they got the education of a 3rd grader.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  99. Joe

    Federal government officials are no more honest or dishonest than the majority of American people. It is obvious when we can see extreme agendas promoted by groups that do not benefit the American people. Who is to say what is right and wrong – me, Czar Joe.
    Binghamton, NY

    February 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  100. honestjohn in Vermont

    Honest? How ever can they be honest with K Street and special interests just a couple blocks away. Our gov is bought and sold everyday to the highest bidder with the most influence to peddle. We like to call ourselves a democracy but are in fact a kleptocracy.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  101. Bob White

    The govement needs to control Insurance companys, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Wallstreet and Banks because large companys refuse to control themselves. Greed rules. They have no incentive to do anything except seperate working people from there money.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  102. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Not very. I think there's a HUGE difference between national security and everyday business, however, and that is what makes me see red. I send e-mails to my Representative and Senators about what I think are the important issues facing us, and all I get back are form letters telling me how "Wonderful it is to serve me" but basically that I'm too stupid and immature to understand the complexity of the issues, and how much "hard work" it is for these "ADULTS" to get their jobs done. The scariest thing for me in all my voting years, is that I have never voted for an incumbent (I'm an Independent), and done as much research as I can on a candidate, and even if that person is elected, within a year or so, they're just as corrupt as the one kicked out. I truly believe it's the lobbyists that are to blame for this mess, at least more-so than the collusion between elected officials. I could be wrong about this, it could be equal amounts of both. Either way, I thing it's more the system than the voters. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  103. JENNA

    How honest are federal government officials?

    Politicians and Used Car Salesmen rank about the same in my book. I don't blame either it is just the way it is under this present climate. Both are trying to sell you some broken down product as something brand new..

    We can change how we think about Politicians and our elected leaders but it is going to take a TOTAL CHANGE of how we do things and folks WE ARE THERE – THE TIME IS NOW!

    1. ELECTION FINANCE REFORM IS A MUST – I don't care if the GOP heavy SC said Corporations are people, if the corporations want to be "people" then send them all to Iraq and Afghanistan starting with the CEO's.

    2. A NEW FAIRNESS DOCTRINE IS NECESSARY – The nation needs to hear ALL VIEWS not just one view – Equal Air Time (radio and tv – since the airwaves belong to ALL AMERICANS not just Republicans) for all opnions, equal press for all opinions. Plus we need to break up the monopoly of radio/tv ownership too few own too much.

    3. TERM LIMITS FOR ALL BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT – A Constitutional Amendment prohibiting any person from exceeding 12 years per branch of government, Congresspersons can have up to 6 (2 year terms), Senators can have 3 (4 year terms) and a President can have 2 (6 year terms). Let's also add the Supreme Court Justices to this term limit clause. 12 years then out.

    4. No more Salary and Medical Care for LIFE for former leaders of any level. Whatever Americans on a whole is being offered is the same Medical care that our elected leaders will be given – and NO they can not go out and purchase additional care for themselves or their families and the spouses can not do that either. To be an elected official is a priviledge and they should get what we get.

    This would be a good start. I am sure others will want to chime in with their own ideas as well..

    Roseville CA

    February 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  104. A Teacher in Illinois

    Government IRS worker Vernon Hunter was a true hero–a Vietnam Vet and an honest civil servant. The home grown anti-America anti-government terrorist, Joe Stack is just as evil as Osama bin Laden. Stack's daughter and family should be ashamed of themselves and their hate filled lives. We the People are the government of the USA. Extremists and those who feed their delusions take note, the full power of the American justice system should come down hard on you if you violate OUR laws and attack OUR government institutions!

    February 22, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  105. Larry B

    Absolute power corrupts absolulty,
    Health Insurance monoply has existed since the 40's
    Enough is enough, the Presidents plan to regulate them is way past due and an important part ecomomic recovery
    We are sick of existing conditions, donut holes & little or no acces to health care.
    In the best interest of America we should have a public option including opening up Medicare
    Get rid of the health insurance companies altogether. They're just a drain on the health care system

    February 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  106. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I'd say they are about as honest as the rest of us, on average. Only they have more temptations, and more chances to succumb to temptation. We need to save them from themselves and send them back home where it is safe for the weak-willed.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  107. Peter from Taxachusetts

    As honest as a hungry snake.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  108. Johnny From South Carolina

    Of course the american people don't trust our officials. I've become so discussed with them that I've decided not to bother to vote again. It doesn't matter if you vote for change or vote for the same. It's impossible to get anything meaningful done. Because the good ones are overpowered by the crooked ones.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  109. Bev

    It depends on which ones you are talking about. The Party of NO change their tune every time it will stoke their fire. I am so sick of this crap that they are putting out. I guess if they lie enough they think they will make believers out of the fence sitters. Look at the CPAC meeting, it was one untruth after another. Can we please let Obama have the next 3 years to get things worked out? Bush had 8 years to make this mess happen.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:36 pm |

    This should sum it up!
    A scorpion had to cross the river but it was too swift. A wolf came along and the scorpion asked if he could ride on his back to get to the other side. The wolf asked "How do I know you will not sting me".
    The scorpion said " If I did that we both would drown". He was convinced of his honesty and let the scorpion hitch a ride.
    Halfway across, the scorpion stung him and the wolf said "I thought you weren't going to sting me because we would both drown".
    The scorpion said I couldn't help it, its in my nature, its what I do.
    My answer is they are all dishonest, some more than others and we are all going to drown together.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  111. Louis Patyk

    Heres the thing, The hihest court in the land just ruled that congressional briebry is legal. Now if I took monies for a quid pro . I would go to jail. Congress can do that TV talk show hosts and radio pundents ( some of the any how) can dothat and hide behind the 1st ammend. So I guess that they are doing what is allowed, and that makes them honest.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  112. Michael Duffy

    I suspect that honest policitians are somewhat rare to find. We should be thankful for the one's that we can trust. Both of them.

    Michael Duffy
    San Diego, California

    February 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  113. Johnny From South Carolina

    Jake you are so right about the last comment " The voters are their own worst enemy ". It amazes me how many people vote for someone because their cute and can see Russia from their home, or someone that speaks of change without the backbone to make it happen. I voted with the hope that a new face and a new strategy would make things better for America. I think President Obama is doing some good things. But definitely not enough.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  114. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    I live in Chicago , Illinois most of our governors were in jail or are going to jail over 30 alderman in our city have gone to jail. Police have gone to jail. The tow truck company put a help wanted add in cook county jail they are always look for a few good men.

    February 22, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  115. Steve Canada

    I'm not certain honest is a good choice..There is way too much "fine print" with these guys

    February 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  116. Gigi Oregon

    They are like blind fools they seek only their own creature comforts and see only their own brilliance. We see them as parasites eating up our children inheritance. Honest, they don't even now the definition of the word. And we the people would rather torture an apologetic sports figure than our dishonest government representatives.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  117. Jackson

    Yes. Especially the War criminals Bush and Cheney.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  118. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    Ten percent at best, they think that if they shake your hand and smile in your face that you can not see the truth in them that they are total lairs. The definition of a politician is a lair, a betrayer, a opportunist, willing to sacrifice others to save him or herself and a person that loves to be the center of attention. Can you say Napoleonistic Tendencies specifically in the Senate they are way out there! This is what happens when you give far too much power to the 100 people who really do not represent anyone in there state! The House of Representatives if far closer to the people then anyone in the Senate.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  119. Bruce - Delaware

    They are honest to their controllers; the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, the Committee of the Majority, and the Queen of England

    February 22, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  120. Anthony

    Most are dishonest because how is that you get into government not a millionaire and leave office one.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
  121. eddie sauls

    Jack I've agreed with you many times but tonight I agree with you even more Truly EDDIE

    February 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  122. Mark

    Obama has not done ONE thing he promised he would do once he got in Office. We are Stil in Iraq and Afghanistan, Our unemployment rate is worse, He has spent us into bankruptcy, he did NOT make health care debate public like he promised and on and on. So, no Jack, we still have the same crooks in power that we've always had, we have just proven that African-American politicians are phoneys just like the white ones.


    February 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  123. Mical {Michael}

    Politicians have been getting more corrupt and withdrawn from the publics' needs for years now. It's a combination of competition between the parties and a "rockstar" attitude. They've been treated as celebrities for too long. We should be able to "oust" them if they don't produce positive results. And the ones who collaborate with lobbyists should be ousted immediately. As a former president once said – "politicians are so crooked, they have to be screwed into the ground"

    Minneapolis, Mn.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  124. Sue From Idaho

    We have foxes guarding the hen house, need I say more?

    February 22, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
  125. martin523@hotmail.com

    sure very much , hey it's politics!

    no matter how much you wiggle and dance, the last drop is always in your pants

    February 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  126. Lew Day, San Diego

    CNN runs a series on "how your Taxes are being spent"
    I'm sending my suggestion for them to show tan example of wasted expenditures!

    We (you) elected 41 Republican Senators to Congress to Govern our country @ $174,000/year X 41 = 7,134,000/year, now that's peanuts compared to the Millions of dollars spent on campaigning!!
    I suggest that we should have put 41 Detroit unemployed in Congress, it would have saved Millions in donations & Taxes & helped the Detroit economy! Lew...

    PS: Most people learn to say "NO" at an early age, so there is no question they could handle the job!

    February 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
  127. Antonio Placanica

    I would say that government officials are more incompetent than
    dishonest. It takes a high degree of intelligence to be dishonest at a high government level. Many are incompetent in their dishonesty.

    Dearborn, MI

    February 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  128. Jim

    Is this a trick question? I thought everyone knew that politicians are by nature, corrupt. The only difference seems to be that lately ALL of them are corrupt where in the past, it seemed that only a few of them were.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  129. katiec Pekin, IL

    Probably just has honest as they have to be. Of course, during campaigning we all know they promise things they realize they cannot produce. Think some truly want to do what is right for the people, but once they get into the political games, they are outnumbered by those who put personal gains, goals over what they are elected to do. Or obstruct the political process under the guise of trying to improve government, when in fact, they are putting party first, win at any cost.
    Unfortunately, the American people swallow much of the hypocrasy.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  130. Nan Brooks

    Jack, between the corporate lobbyists and the latest supreme court ruling on corporate donations to candidates for congress, I can only think that Republican or Democrat no longer have any relevance,except as representatives of the oligarchs,whether they know it or not.
    We have a sham democracy,, run behind the scenes, by the oligarchy.big multi-national corporate interests.. Sounds like a TV plot doesn't it. That's what is so scary.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  131. Curtis

    Federal government officals are as honest as they think they need to be. Granted, it's harder now to outright lie with so many voters connected to the Internet, but that doesn't stop many politicians from not answering the question directly or resorting to exceedingly vague remarks.

    It's unfortunate, because most Americans will respect, and sometimes even vote for, someone that stands by their principles even if they disagree with some of their positions.

    Perhaps President Obama should put together a bipartisan commission.... that seems to be the answer to everything else.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  132. charlie

    I believe they are dishonest. If they chose not to be, they wouldn't be employed. Government procedure is a smoke screen at best. People are hired specificly to cover up the unmentionables. Unfortunately they have covered up too much and been dishonest too long that they have reached a point of no return. One lie leading to the next, and now the right hand has no clue what the left is doing. No amount of new hires can keep their antics covered up anymore. At any rate, it is time for them to pull their collective heads out of their tightly fit garages and turn over a new leaf. Honesty and transparency. We the people shall be blind no more.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  133. Deborah n Texas

    You know what Jack, the government is as honest as the media. We can't get honest news anymore and we haven't gotten straight information from government in centuries.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  134. Mari, Utah

    Dear Jack, this is a difficult question. IF you ask a Republican they will say, NO. IF you ask a Democrat, most will say YES. There is truth somewhere in the middle. Some people in the federal government are honest, hard working and do the best they can for America. Some do not. That's true of every walk of life.

    I choose to believe the best of people. I may have some serious concerns about the FDA, but I am willing to wait for the investigation.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  135. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Jack, you have constructed an impossible sentence. In order to have the terms “honest” and “federal government official” in the same sentence it would have to be long enough to fill at least one volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica! Your English teacher probably wishes she could make all your high school English grades and F- retroactively!

    February 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  136. Nancy Lawrence

    We have a government of liars and thieves. They are in it to line their own pockets not for the benefit of the people.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  137. Annie, Atlanta

    They're not. When your first priority as a “public servant” is keeping your job rather than actually doing your job, honesty doesn’t play a part.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  138. Jane Jones

    Whitehouse, consultants, and congress (most of Congress) are as crooked as hell. We have to get them almost all out this fall.
    Janes Jones

    February 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  139. Luis Rodrigues

    According to what I perceive on the news media, we have a “lobbyistic” system in our government where special interests (like insurance companies) rule by donating big amounts of money to some of the congressmen, organizations, or parties. Obviously, if the health insurance or other problems are resolved in favor of the people, that money will no longer flow to their pockets, which will make some of the congressmen and their organizations very unhappy. To keep that money coming in, they will come out with all possible excuses, scare tactics, and actions to delay the conclusion of those issues for as long as possible.
    Some of these congressmen, instead of being manipulated by “lobbyists” contributions, they should instead listen to the people. Otherwise our government system will no longer be a democracy but a “lobbycracy”.

    February 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  140. Dan Franklin

    Jack, I'm suprised you even asked that question,when a candidate has kept no promises from day one. In Chicago they still have the "no snitching" rules in place. The entire White House is from Chicago. Dan Franklin Nashville Tennessee

    February 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  141. John, Fort Collins, CO

    The early post Revolution Presidents were largely well-to-do, and did whatever they felt best for their own good. There may have been a rare exception or two, but until President Liccoln was elected, "purely honest" likely never applied to anyone in high office - and of course even Lincoln had to do what he had to do. To a degree, all politicians have always been bought-and-paid-for, but in my lifetime President Obama has been the best to keep his eye on the compass toward what is best for our country.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  142. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    I don't know if dishonest is the umbrella we should place all politicians, undisciplined would define most, and that usually leads to dishonesty.

    M. Scott Peck the psychologist defined self-discipline as, 1) bracketing ego needs for the sake of spiritual growth, 2) telling the absolute truth and being dedicated to reality, 3) accepting responsibility for self, and 4) delaying gratification.

    Is there a politician that is self-disciplined? No.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  143. Larry Seeley

    It's unfair to say Federal officials are dishonest. I've worked with many, and can attest to their character.

    On the other hand, dishonesty (as most of of think of it) may be part of a politician's job description. We all love movies like "Dave" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and are thrilled with the candor of the protagonist, but that's not real life.

    Politicians have learned to answer questions by changing the subject. Part of the blame lies with media people who don't take them to task for evading a response.

    The inability of almost every politician to speak plainly is at the root of the dishonesty, and, like a gateway drug, it leads to greater disingenuity and guile.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  144. Michael (McAllen, TX)

    Simply put: An honest politician is an oxymoron.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  145. Ken in NC

    They are about a honest as the bank robber caught looking into the camera as it recorded him on tape wearing his uniform work shirt with his name on it while robbing the bank and claiming he was not there.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  146. Al

    Not very!

    February 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  147. BeJa Thomas

    Duh!!! I don't know. I forgot what honesty in government means. I moved back to Alabama.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  148. Annie, Atlanta

    Hey Jack, how can you tell when politicians are lying? When their lips are moving.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  149. Gary Marion, IL

    All you can do is hope for the best for the worst!

    February 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  150. Greg Carlson


    All government officials are honest, until they get caught.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  151. KentG

    Yes ALL of them lie.... The majority of them are just in it for whatever they can obtain financially.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  152. Sly, Alpena, Michigan

    I feel that they are very dishonest, that is why we need a 3 party system instead of a 2 party system.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  153. T. Thomas in Abilene Tx.

    Most government officials are concerned primarily with looking out for Number One. I doubt that many are very honest. However, I disagree with your statement that " the voters are their own worst enemy".We cannot hook these people up to lie detector tests(a good idea though) to see if they are telling the truth.We certainly could curtail the damage inflicted by the scoundrels among them if we had term limits and stopped the bribery of our lawmakers by lobbies.Oh wait , I forgot who would be in charge of changing those laws.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  154. susan frost

    Not very, andthe fact that we keep puting up with them probably means that we're either no better than them, too lazy to care, or desperately need a national 12-sttep program to help us learn not to keep repeating the same wrong behavior (re-electing these jerks) over and over again, expecting a different result.

    Tuscaloosa AL

    February 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  155. Jeremy, Ontario Canada

    Let's just say Bernie Madoff would make a great politician

    February 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  156. A. in DFW Texas

    When you only get to choose between the liar on the left or the liar on the right you can't blame the American people from trying to guess, which one is lying the least, when they vote.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  157. Sarah

    No our government is not broken beyond repair. I think the media needs to back off and stop inciting the American people to anger. A better question is whether the top management of corporate America are broken beyond repair? Their greed and selfishness has caused a lot of the problems we face today.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  158. Capt Chuck

    Historical fact, politicians have been dishonest since there have been politicans. Politicians helped create the Mob with prohibition. Im a disabled veteran and I know the politicians responsable for the Veterans Admin are corrupt and also in all forms of government. Thats why the gridlock in the senate. All bought off by specal intrest. Time to kick butt on election day.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  159. James, Florida

    They are not very honest at all, and the reasons are simple Jack: 1. The vast majority of them are lawyers, nuff said. 2. We don't elect people that tell us the absolute truth, we elect people that tell us what we want to hear,

    February 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  160. Craig Watkins

    You ask "How Honest are Government Officials"?

    Honestly, would you even buy a used car from one? I think that says it all.
    I wouldn't. These are the same bunch who voted in a retirement plan for themselves that in the public sector would be illegal.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  161. Atonus H of Tucson AZ

    President Obama has been too honest; it has only provided ammunition for the party of “NO”.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  162. D Stewart

    Most politicians lie at some time in their career. The media force them to - or they force them out of office. There was a time when "no comment" was sufficient but no more.
    Burnside, KY

    February 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  163. Nick

    Trust them as far as you can throw them. Elected officials are bred from day one for the job. The whole congress is crooked and exist only to better a world of their own. Every minute piece of legislation is geared to make themselves, their family or their friends richer. Im grooming my son right now. if you cant beat 'em join 'em.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  164. hampster

    First, there is not a single honest politician in America. Second, there is no honest government officials. Third, It is difficult ot find an honest person in todays America. This is a sad appraisal of America, but politicians and government officials have lied and screwed the public so many times over the past half century that most Americans are very caloused today..

    February 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  165. Sam

    Hi Jack...

    I'll be one of the first to agree that we are all frustrated with the disgusting party quabbling, however this is a loaded question. It's not a black and white issue, especially with "plausible deniability" thrown in. Not all politicians are liars all of the time.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  166. Angela

    What has happened to our country, where lies and cover-ups seem the norm? Whatever happened to honesty, good morals, respectability and good values? Why did putting yourself first to make a big profit at the benefit of cheating others become the norm? Whatever happened to the Golden Rule? What has happened to our country?

    February 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  167. Earl Keeton

    They are as honest as the American people they serve. I remember these words from a song in the seventies: " I can't stand to see the slaughter, but still I eat the meat. I can't stand dishonest people, but still sometimes I cheat. I can't stand this air pollution, but still I drive my car. Maybe that's the reason why things are like they are."

    February 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  168. Rosemarie

    Gee Jack.....with "plastic hairdos" and Armani suits...manufactured smiles and calling us simple Americans "friends".....why ever would we think they were dishonest!

    February 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  169. John in Missouri

    C'mon Jack. A poll taken "today" about whether or not Washington or Lincoln lied to the public has nothing to do with the "idea that broken government's been around for a long time" as you stated. Now, go back a few hundred years and take your survey and if it's 74% and 71%, then I'll bite; otherwise, please get real!

    February 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  170. Jeannette Comer

    Why don't you ask a really hard question Jack, like; Who would you (The average American) send to
    Washington to represent you that you consider honest?
    The problem is we don't know who we are sending to Washington to represent us.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  171. Brian, Houston, TX

    Government officials are very honest, but only honest with themselves, their agendas, and the idealogues who follow. They could care less about the interests of the greater American public, and continue to ignore the very essential things that matter to us. Make higher education more affordable, lower taxes on the middle class and small businesses. The rest of the economy will follow. Trust.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  172. Hacksaw Reynolds

    Government workers are about as honest as Corporation Execs. Unfortunately, the electorate are not a whole lot better I fear. And, the media justs likes to accentuate the extremes. We, the people, are doing this to ourselves and the World is watching and enjoying this. Shame on us.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  173. Jim Austin

    There isn't a one of them that I trust. Put all the dems and repubs in a sack and shake it up it doesn't matter which one you draw out it will be the same. Until we get term limits and rid ourselves of the career politicians things will never change

    February 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  174. Sharon in Texas

    The federal government is as honest as everyday people, ex-husbands, strippers, CEO's, FOX News, etc...

    February 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  175. P Miller

    The saying is an old one. "There's no such thing as an honest politician."

    February 22, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  176. Marc

    The degree of honesty in any politic system takes a backseat to the fact that all politicians seem to want more for themselves than for the public. Hence, all the liberals who want to move towards a more socialistic government in belief that honest leaders will actually care about their society's needs must remember this: Even with Communism, the leaders have "more" than the common person: better health care, summer cottages, better cars and a higher standard of life in general. Their honest attempts to create a fair society is a scam pulled on good people.

    The more we believe that socialistic systems bring about a more honest type of government, is honestly a bad idea.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  177. Jim Thompson

    As a retired civil servant who toiled in the trenches for over 30 years, I can tell you that most senior Civil Servants are honest, hardworking and try to do the right thing. Often the politicos who are put in to the executive branches to push the administration's agenda are less experienced and just polishing their resumes. The Republican politicos are often more dismissive of civil servants and fail to use them properly.
    Then there is Congress. When you have to grovel for money to stay in office, you get behaviors that are not in the best interest of the country – lack of honesty included. And the Supreme Court didn't help with their recent decision on funding of elections being a form of free speech. It is an election year so let the SERIOUS groveling bebegin

    February 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  178. Gregory V. Donovan

    Look no further than the most recent presidential race as an example of in your face lies. How many items did the winner pledge, promise to institute? Let me just cite a few for brevity purposes in particular, C-SPAN GATE, Doddgate, Frankgate.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  179. John Malyna

    Elected officials may start out honest; but after any length of time in Washington, they get corrupted by the system. Too many free perks and people and lobbyists lining up to kiss their collective rear ends, and the politicians begin to believe they are above the law.

    Las Vegas, NV

    February 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  180. tlcallaway

    I seriously doubt that the government "officials" are any more dishonest than the news media these days. Your network is about as biased Fox News used to be and Fox is now off the charts.

    It would be nice to have an unbiased news source, but there is none. You guys are pathetic.

    If you had given as much flack to GWB, as you are to Obama, this would be a better country.

    This might sound a little hostile, but I'm tired of yelling at the TV; it scares my dogs

    February 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  181. Audrey

    Our officials are not different that we are. Look at yourself and your friends and neighbors. There are a lot of good people, a few crooks and an occasional weirdo! It is no wonder that no one wants to run for office. What should be the most noble pursuit in this country has been so badly trashed as a pasttime, you would be an idiot to run!


    February 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  182. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    I doubt it Jack. If they are anything like our local County government,so far within the past year over 22 people have been indited including two judges that were subbed"selling kids for cash." I'm with you. The voters are their own worst enemy – gluttens for punishment. Get the broom out and make a clean sweep this election and clean up DC.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  183. Jenny,Lindenwold, NJ

    There is a complete disregard for the American people, coming from Washington. The American people are not stupid. We know when we are being lied to, at least the ones who are not under the thrall of the president. There are people in congress that mean well and stand on principle but the leadership is so far left of center that the only way they can get their huge programs through is to lie or jam it through. As a center right country, to most of us we see this as complete lunacy. I am a disaffected Republican who left the party because of the endless spending and disregard for the Constitution and big government, now it is worse! Now the president is looking for political cover, he is going to ram this healthcare bill through because he was 'forced' to by the Republicans. Why can't he just call it what it is, we know better than the people so your getting this monstrosity whether you like it or not.........We understand the bill just fine Mr. President and it still sucks. I want power taken away from the federal government not to give them as much as they want. The progressive/liberal philosophy can be summed up best by former President Reagan "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.".

    February 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  184. Renee

    Politics means power. Very few are attracted to political office because they want to do good, most are attracted to the power and influence that go with public office. The personality types who are attracted to power are inherently dishonest whenever it suits their purpose. Why do you think the founding fathers set up limits for those in office? And why those in office are constantly trying to find ways around those limits – behind closed doors, of course.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  185. Charles Martin

    You now that the reason we don't trust these guys is because of the lobbyists(It is like the Emperior has no clothes on, but no will say anything) All weekend I listened to the pundits talking how there is no agreement between the two parties but nothing was said about the lobbyists in Washington and the influence they have on OUR REPRESENTITIVES! Please Jack, why don't you and Wolf finally expose these guys and who is influencing them. I know you can do this so please help the average American so we can again beleive in the American dream.

    Charles from Missouri

    February 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  186. Paula

    Obama ran for office for over two years while taking, but not earning his senate pay. Mc Cain ran almost that long, while taking, but not earning his senate pay. Joe Blow can't run for office because he doesn't get a paycheck when he doesn't work. Obama is running for the next election, and has been since he was in office for two weeks. Does he care how much money he spends taking Air Force One? That plane does not run on air. Not to speak of their heqlth care, retirements & perks galore.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  187. lynne j.

    Are you kidding, Mr. Cafferty? Really now. This is the government.

    However, some come in idealistic and honest. But they are soon corrupted into the liars that they are now.

    But it isn't there fault. It is the climate that we keep letting go on instead of taking to the streets demanding change. In short, it's the money, nothing but the money from the lobbyists.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  188. Jack Frost

    Senator Bayh is honest...he just announced he's leaving.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  189. Dianne

    I think a politician enters public service because he/she cares and wants to help, but the longer in office and the more senority he/she acquires the more power they have. They begin to forget why they are there, because the disease is setting in. It eats away their common sense and the sense of the people.

    They are in the bubble where true Americana doesn't exist and the disease helps them to forget. All they crave is the power....

    The President has term limits....congress should too. The disease will not become malignant.

    (Big business) Money creates greed...(Big government) Power creates arrogance.

    The American people are hurt by both.....

    February 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  190. charlie

    Let me just say. Why would anyone spend millions of dollars to get elected to office so they could make around $300,000 a year? Does this seem odd to anyone? In my home state an elected official stated, and was quite proud of it, that she had spent $12 million of her own money from her internet business and did not use any outside funds or contributions. What she failed to disclose was that her democratic party repaid her money after she won. She used the fact that she only spent her money as a platform, it worked, but I think most people thought she wanted to help her state so bad that she would do this. Not many people even today know that she got every penny back. Was this dishonest or a slip of the wrist? It is a well known fact that special interest (large corporations) have the proverbial under the table pay checks going to their candidate(s) that vote for their legislation. Could that be the reason for someone to spend millions for thousands?

    February 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  191. Alan R. Crumley, San Juan, Puerto Rico USA

    Perhaps federal government officials are more honest as you are, although that isn't much. Your 24-hour breaking news cycle is not trustworthy; you pander for viewers like politicians beg for votes. Shame on you. The essence of your comments today, that government is broken, can be even more readily applied to the media. CNN is now sinking to the Titanic depths that Fox previously achieved. Your network seems to have abandoned all pretense of professionalism in exchange for a few rating points. The media is more broken than the government, and that's the problem. You sometimes make good points, but don't bring out the dirty laundry, because yours also smells.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  192. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    When the first admendment is observed by the media and government then the truth will will be told until then your all a bunch of hipicrit liers .

    February 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  193. Chris

    Jack, it is the Republican't party. The added "T" stands for "Tea.".

    February 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  194. Patrick Sandham

    At least as honest as journalists.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  195. Mitchell L. Oldham

    Term Limits and campaign finace reform would go a long way to mitigate the impact of politicians for sale!
    By the way I don't see how Dick Cheney can be in the hospital for heart prroblems – he doesn't have one!

    February 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  196. The Political Geek

    Our politicians are only as honest as we allow them to be, and unfortunately we as Americans have an irrational phobia of big ideas, or big government regardless of party lines. We love our politicians an seem to always despise the "other" guy.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  197. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    I pleed the 5th admendment that is the new name of our government .

    February 22, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  198. Michael Shawn Kearns, Candidate for Congress

    Jack, this is nothing new...
    Eighty-seven percent (87%) of mainstream U.S. voters view the political situation in the nation’s capitol as busted. (19 February 2010 Rasmussen Report)
    The statistic above is being chanted by every Politician in America today. Even the Vice President of the United States admits it. Just sit back and watch the hoards of politicians clamor to the podium today and spew this rhetoric. They all want your vote (and your money) this year and are willing to say anything that’s overwhelmingly popular (i.e., the “broken mantra”) to get it. This is an example of “Politics As Usual,” whereby politicians say whatever it is they think we want to hear, over and over again, until we actually believe these politicians want what we want. Well they don’t. We want a fundamental change to the political “system,” and every politician who represents a political faction is the problem. In all reality, we shouldn’t really expect anything new to occur from casting our vote this year (if we vote), because we all know deep down inside “Politics As Usual” is all about perpetuating the politicians’ power and control – the politicians’ power and control over our opinions and our perceptions of what’s important to us. Statistically, the fact is, politicians who espouse the most popular issue with the strongest voice of believability will win the race, regardless of their own true convictions about the most relevant issues at hand. Why? Politicians must acquire the one thing we, the voters possess; our vote (and our money). From my perspective as a political scientist and educational psychologist we all need to wake up and smell the political rhetoric for what it is… propaganda and social manipulation.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
  199. Douglas Price

    Honesty and Government Officials is an oxymoron! All career politicians and a large number of goverment workers are in it for the MONEY! They legislate all kinds of pay raises and benefit programs for themselves and the average American gets shafted with the Bill! Pretty soon government employees will be the only ones with jobs and then they're the ones who will get screwed because the rest of us will be on some social program waiting for our FREE HAND-OUT. Naw, they'll just do away with all those programs because they cost too much money and they won't be able to pass it through Congress because there will be no Suckers left to pick up the tab.

    Just another Middle American

    February 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  200. Rene' S.

    Hey Jack,
    I personally think the two party system has run its course. It may have worked at some point, but today the bickering between the parties has created our DISFUNCTIONAL government. Our polititions are self serving and work for the highest bidders.....not the voters. Its obvious and its time for a change. The american people are really on one side....it serves the current political agenda to create an imaginary division between republicans and democrats. The division is over exagerated and used for the manipulation of voters. I would like our system changed to one that puts the citizens on one side, interviewing and hiring the best person for each job. I'd also like to see a limit on the amount of time one can serve as a senator, congressman or any government official. The perks of currently in place for some of these positions need to be reviewed and altered to something a little more reasonable! It would be nice to hire citizens who want to serve the country and the voters and do so out of a civic duty. I actually put together a plan that would end the ridiculous campaigning, fundraising and three ringed circus we currently use to choose our representatives. Instead we would interview and "hire" our representatives as a collective voice.
    Rene' S.

    February 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  201. Dianne

    Why does everyone have to bash someone else? I get so sick of it is this party or that party. Stop the hate and lets try to find a way to get along with one another. We live in the United States of America for God's sake...not in uncivilized nation!!!!

    People forget how so very lucky we were to be born as an American!

    I am grateful for God gave to me and I am the only one responsible for me!!

    Grow up people!

    February 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  202. Dianne

    Hate manifests more hate....

    I need an island....

    February 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  203. D.Matlack

    I think every Bill that is introduced in the Congress should be held until a certain amount is accumulated then voted on by the whole electorate State by State. That is a true Democracy not a Republican type govenment like we have now. We would no reason to complain. It would take a Constitutional change. Then they, the elected officials would be a truley represetative type government. Now that is change. dhm, WV

    February 22, 2010 at 8:57 pm |