Cheney’s Debate Misleads Debunked

excerpted from 6 Oct. 2004 | Email

[Of the recent] vice presidential debate … CBS News reported … that Edwards “continued the Democratic ticket’s winning streak,” beating Cheney by 13 percentage points in a post-debate poll of uncommitted voters.[1]

Again and again, Cheney tried to mislead the public about the war in Iraq and our economic problems here at home. He even claimed that he’d never met Edwards before when he had, in public, twice. But John Edwards wouldn’t let him get away with it: when Cheney tried once again to link al Qaeda and 9/11, Edwards said, “Mr. Vice President, you are still not being straight with the American people,” and explained that there was absolutely no connection. We’ve compiled a bunch more of these misleads — and the facts — below. And we captured that strong rebuttal on tape: you can check it out at

The problem is that Cheney lies with utter conviction, so for some of the folks who are just tuning in to the presidential contest, it’s difficult to tell who was fabricating and who was telling the truth. But if we all just take one of Cheney’s false statements listed below and write to our local paper about it, we can debunk Cheney’s distortions …

Vice President Cheney’s remarks last night were riddled with inaccuracies — more than we can describe here. But we’ve listed a few of the biggest whoppers below.

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.[2]
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.'”[3]

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.[4]
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.”[5]

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.”[6] 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.”[7]

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.”[8]

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.[9]

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.”[10]
You can actually watch video of the two of them shaking hands at

As Edwards mentioned last night, Cheney’s record is pretty scary: “When he was one of 435 members of the United States House, he was one of 10 to vote against Head Start, one of four to vote against banning plastic weapons that can pass through metal detectors. He voted against the Department of Education. He voted against funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors. He voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King. He voted against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.” Let’s make sure we vote him out on November 2nd.


5. Same as 4, above.

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