The debate that spawned 1,000 lies

Tracy Van Slyke

While we don't have time to record all the lies, misstatements or distortions that came from our esteemed v-p, we thought we'd bring you some of Cheney's most egregious falsehoods that we caught throughout the evening and the facts and rhetoric that refute them. Lie #1) (In record-setting time: within the first 10 minutes) Cheney claimed he hadn't asserted a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9-11 (see previous post from Jessica Clark detailing Cheney doing exactly that). Even Rumsfeld has acknowledged in recent days that there is no clear link. Lie #2) There are 10 million registered voters in Afghanistan The U.N. has disputed these figures, and observers have noted double registration of some voters, and stories of votes being sold. Lie #3) ???What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do??? Edwards' response: ???The American people don???t need you to explain it to us; they see it everyday on the TV…the incompetence of the administration… We're at $200 billion and counting." Edwards was able to demolish Cheney and the Bush administration's rosy rhetoric about the success of the Iraqi invasion and subsequent war. Cheney could only counter Edward's and Kerry's facts that the American people have had to suffer 90% of the casualities in Iraq and 90% of the cost by FINALLY mentioning the number of Iraqi casualities that have occurred only because of the inept strategy of the Bush administration in following through with their preemptive war. Lie #4) Cheney implicitly linked Hussein and Abu Musab al Zarquawi. But in fact, a new CIA assessment (which Cheney himself requested) suggests that "there is no conclusive evidence that the regime harbored terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi." One U.S. official stated, "The evidence is that Saddam never gave Zarqawi anything." [Knight Ridder, 10/05/04]. Lie #5) Cheney claimed that they have a coalition of 30 countries supporting the invasion of Iraq. But the coalition of the willing became less willing as time went on. Norway pulled out 90% of its personnel last June, New Zealand had suggested it intended to pull out by September and Thai officials talked of withdrawing more than its 450 troops last month as well. Spain pulled its troops out this summer and the Costa Rican government has ruled supporting the war illegal. Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic have all cut their support short and Bush's favorite, Poland, plans to leave mid-2005, according to diplomats. "A growing number of nations no longer look to the U.S. for leadership and sanctuary. The Bush Administration's unilateralist policies in Iraq and its perceived aloofness have left it less trusted at a time of widening global vulnerability." [LA Times, October 3, 2004] Lie #6) Cheney said that 40 million seniors benefited from Medicare reforms. An AARP study shows that savings promised to medicare beneficiaries have all but been eliminated by price increases by drug manufacturers which counteract the discounts offered by the prescription drug card program. Lie #7) Cheney claims that No Child Left Behind has benefited American students. In a July 2004 In These Times article, Barbara Miner writes: Proposed on January 22, 2001, two days after Bush took office, NCLB passed a year later in the heady months following 9/11 when Bush???s popularity was high. The bill effectively merged the privatization agenda of right-wing Republicans with the corporate-supported standardization and testing agenda of centrists in both parties. Backing by Democrats, including Kerry, ensured bipartisan support for what has become an albatross???some say noose???around the neck of public education. Read more here. Lie #8) Cheney claims that the economy is on an upward path and that we've gained 1.7 million jobs in the last four years. For the real story of how the Bush administration has lost more than jobs than any other presidency since Herbert Hoover, visit the Economic Policy Institute's Web site, Job Watch. Lie #9) While still on the topic of foreign policy, Cheney directly addressed Edwards (in a violation of the rules and another example of not answering the question) and said: ???You???ve got one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate. Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of the Senate, the presiding officer. I???m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they???re in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.??? Edwards did not respond specifically, saying only that ???that???s a complete distortion of my record.??? BUT, according to MSNBC: Many Democrats noted afterward that Cheney was incorrect in saying he had never met Edwards before Tuesday night. Edwards??? campaign provided a transcript of a prayer breakfast in February 2001 at which Cheney began his remarks by acknowledging Edwards. The two men also met when Edwards escorted Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole to her swearing-in by Cheney in January 2003, a meeting the Edwards campaign emphasized by distributing news articles about the ceremony. Democratic spokesmen also contended that when Cheney does visit the Senate, he meets only with Republicans and would not run into Edwards or any other Democrats. Continue to follow In These Times' coverage of the Bush administration's worst failures and why you need to encourage your friends and families to go the polls this November and vote these liars out of office in the coming weeks. By Jessica Clark and Tracy Van Slyke

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Tracy Van Slyke, a former publisher of In These Times, is the project director for The Media Consortium.
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