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Cheney Lied

October 7th, 2004

From the Debate, with lies noted in red, misleading in green:

CHENEY: (1)Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you “Senator Gone.” (2) You’ve got one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate.

(3) Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session.

(4) The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.

Here’s the breakdown: (1) the paper that used the pejorative about Edwards was not his hometown paper, but a paper in a town some distance away. It’s a weekly paper, no less. And oh yeah: they don’t agree with Cheney on this. It was an editorial written 15 months ago and was in the greater context of criticizing Helms and mentioning that Edwards’ record was not as bad as other Senators’ records.

(2) Edwards has a bad attendance only during the recent campaign, which is SOP for any politician who is running for office. Bush was not in attendance as Governor of Texas much at all during his entire campaign four years ago.

(3) Cheney implies in his statement about presiding over the Senate that he’s doing his job there more than Edwards. Note the careful wording that gives the definite impression that Cheney presides over the Senate every Tuesday, without actually saying it. It is true that it is his capacity to be the presiding officer of the Senate, but in fact, he rarely does so. In fact, he only presided over the Senate three times in 2003, for tie-breaking votes–in other words, only when he is absolutely forced to attend.

His statement about being there “most Tuesdays” is the most misleading statement here of all, and is absolutely a lie in context: he suggests that he presides over the Senate, or at least is at the Senate in a way that he could meet Edwards, every Tuesday. That’s a lie: Cheney is only there on Tuesdays to attend Republican strategy meetings, to which Edwards is of course not invited. But Cheney is not there to preside on Tuesdays. In fact, during his entire tenure as vice president, Cheney presided over the Senate only twice–the same number of times Edwards has presided over the Senate during that same time! As far as Tuesdays are concerned, Edwards was doing Cheney’s job just as often as Cheney was!

(4) And then there’s the final statement, that he never met Edwards before the debate. In fact, they met on at least three different occasions, once at a prayer breakfast where Cheney even thanked Edwards for coming, and another time when Edwards escorted Elizabeth Dole to the podium of the Senate to be sworn in. Furthermore, Edwards did attend the Senate before he hit the campaign trail, and if Cheney had been doing his job as President of the Senate, he would have seen Edwards a lot more–in other words, Cheney didn’t miss Edwards because Edwards was absent, but rather because Cheney himself was absent! More later if I find out that Edwards was present at any or all of the times Cheney presided over tie-breaking votes in the past.

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