Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Oh That Wacky Cheney! Jeez!

One of the great things (and one of the curses) of the modern political campaign is that true rapid response is more possible than ever. As has been the way for most of this presidential election, bloggers, emailers, hacks of all stripes, and even occasionally journalists have been able to stay on top of events as they unfold and buck the script laid down by traditional media outlets.

Last night at the conclusion of the vice-presidential debate I flicked over to Hardball to see what the professional talking (or rather yelling) heads had to say about the evening's gabfest. Now, I'll state up front that I'm a pretty partisan fellow and am a Kerry/Edwards supporter but in all fairness I scored the debate as a tie; Cheney didn't do anything to flay Edwards alive, whil L'il John had trouble staying on subject but did a decent courtroom job. So I was a mite surprised when the pundits sat and giggled that Cheney had crushed Edwards and that the Democratic ticket looked weak and babyish.

I suppose I shouldn't have been so shocked; after all, the script says that Bush will look like a loveable doofus in contrast to the professorial Kerry, while Edwards is supposed to cry for his mummy every time he encounters the Wyoming Verbal Wedgie Master. Still, it seems that the good folks in the heartland who took part in the instant polling that followed the debate didn't get their copy of the script; among partisans the debate was scored as a tie and among the non-aligned Edwards prevailed.

Of course, one of the highlights for us dedicated White House watchers with long memories was squirming in frustration as the Veep calmly spewed more of his usual lies, half-truths, and distortions with his traditional aplomb. However, and this brings me back to my original point, thanks to the internet and the democratization of publishing by folks such as my hosts here at Blogger this kind of hard-to-shift crapola is now instantly avaliable to dedicated debunkers of every stripe. Just as folks did with CBS and the forged Bush National Guard memos, a hard working few have compiled a list of Cheney's whoppers from last night's debate. Enjoy and share!

CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11"

THE TRUTH: As the Washington Post reports today, Cheney has repeatedly insinuated and "strongly suggested" that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on September 11th. And in its fact check column today, the Boston Globe says "Cheney has consistently asserted strong prewar links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, even after the 9/11 Commission definitively concluded that there had not been a collaborative relationship between the two. In a radio interview in January 2004, Cheney said: 'I think there's overwhelming evidence that there was a connection between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government.'"

On December 9, 2001, Cheney went on "Meet the Press" to perpetuate the now entirely debunked theory that one of the 9/11 hijackers met with an Iraqi official. He went back on a year ago to describe Iraq as part of ""the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

Most recently, Cheney has claimed that Iraq harbored the terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and said Zarqawi "is an al Qaeda associate who took refuge in Baghdad, found sanctuary and safe harbor there before we ever launched into Iraq." But yesterday, a report Cheney himself requested found that there is no conclusive evidence to support that claim. An administration official said, "The evidence is that Saddam never gave Zarqawi anything."

CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "900,000 small businesses will be hit" by the Kerry-Edwards plan to roll back tax cuts for people in the top income bracket.

THE TRUTH: As the Washington Post writes this morning: "This is misleading. Under Cheney's definition, a small business is any taxpayer who includes some income from a small business investment, partnership, limited liability corporation or trust. By that definition, every partner at a huge accounting firm or at the largest law firm would represent small businesses. According to IRS data, a tiny fraction of small business "S-corporations" earn enough profits to be in the top two tax brackets. Most are in the bottom two brackets."

CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "We have added 1.7 million jobs to the economy."

THE TRUTH: On November 2nd, George Bush will be the first president in 70 years to lose jobs. There will be about a million fewer jobs than there were when Bush took office -- and about 7 million fewer than Bush's own post-9/11 estimate. Cheney's using fuzzy math: 1.7 million jobs have been added, but millions more have been lost.

CHENEY'S MISLEAD: "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."

THE TRUTH: This one-liner was one of Cheney's best zingers of the night, but even it isn't true: Cheney and Edwards have met in public at least twice. They met when Edwards escorted Elizabeth Dole to be sworn in by Cheney as Senator and at the National Prayer Breakfast. At the Breakfast, he even called Edwards out by name, starting his remarks with the words, "Thank you very much. Congressman Watts, Senator Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I are honored to be with you all this morning." You can actually watch video of the two of them shaking hands at

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