President Bush Should Consider Edwards’ Criticisms in Preparing for St. Louis Debate

October 7, 2004

After listening to the VP debate on the radio — with poor reception — I read the transcript that I posted a few days ago on the blog. I paid particular attention to two things as I was combing through the text: 1) the amount of times that Edwards accused Bush/Cheney of lying and what about, and 2) the lies or distortions Edwards himself told, not counting his lies about Bush/Cheney lying. Since it’s obvious that Kerry and Edwards are now joined at the hip and clearly coordinated Edwards’ plan of attack for the debate, I think the president should thoroughly familiarize himself with this plan of attack as revealed in the text of Edwards’ remarks. Did any of you see the staged phone call between Kerry and Edwards after the debate where Kerry was congratulating Edwards on his performance? Kerry was clearly performing for the cameras as he went into a speech outlining the things Cheney didn’t have an answer for, beginning with “Halliburton.” Again, this stuff would be funny if it weren’t so serious.

I just believe that President Bush needs to answer the charges that he has lied with indignation and specificity. He doesn’t have to dwell on it long enough to make it appear to defensive, but it’s time he answered these things. Even VP Cheney, despite his incredible performance in the debate otherwise, let Edwards get away with a few too many unanswered personal attacks. Another thing President Bush should do, in my opinion, is to point out for the viewers every time that John Kerry doesn’t answer a question. John Edwards failed to a number of times, most notably concerning the “global test” issue. Gwen Ifill asked Edwards how Kerry’s global test was not tantamount to giving other nations a veto power over our national security. After talking all around the question, Edwards basically said that VP Cheney was distorting Kerry’s position because Kerry said that he would never give a foreign nation veto power over our national security.

That answer was exceedingly insulting. Of course Kerry said that and Ifill and VP Cheney both acknowledge he said it. But he also said there’d be a global test and the two clearly appear to be inconsistent. So the question was: how are the two things not inconsistent. It would be like John Kerry, in the same speech, saying “I would have attacked Iraq” and “I would not have attacked Iraq.” Then, the moderator asks Kerry how he could say that he would not have attacked Iraq, having just said he would have attacked Iraq. Then Kerry says angrily, “I said I would not have attacked Iraq,” never bothering to explain that the inconsistent statement remained on the table. That’s exactly what Edwards did, in effect. These guys have been campaigning as though no one remembers what they said a few weeks ago, especially on Iraq, so they can utter inconsistent statements anytime they choose without being held accountable. But it sets a new standard to take inconsistent positions inside the same debate and then go on the attack when you’re called on it. Kerry and Edwards really do seem to assume people are too stupid to notice these things.

In a later post I’ll highlight a few of Edwards’ false charges of Bush/Cheney lying and also note a few of Edwards’ other lies or distortions.