So much for the night's very palpable hit…

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Cheney and Edwards have actually met at least three times. A vice-presidential memory skip or a calculated fib? Can anybody tell the difference anymore? Here's how Edwards is playing it:

"The vice president said that the first time I met Senator Edwards was tonight when we walked on the stage. I guess he forgot the time we sat next to each other for a couple hours about three years ago. I guess he forgot the time we met at the swearing in of another senator. So, my wife Elizabeth reminded him on the stage," Edwards said as the crowd roared.

According to Edwards' staff, Cheney replied, "Oh, yeah."

C'mon, Cheney! If ever there was a moment for "Go fuck yourself," this was it.

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  1. Three times!
    In..how many years?? How many times on the Senate floor..? No wonder Edwards let that one slide last night…

  2. It’s transparent bullshit, still. The VP spends almost zero time on the Senate floor. His Tuesday trips there are get-togethers with the GOP leadership.

  3. Adam,

    First, Edwards entered office in 1999; Cheney was not Veep until 2001. Why would they be meeting on the Senate floor in the two years after Edwards entered office?

    Second, Cheney has been stashed away for much of his term of office in secret locales (due to national security concerns arising out of 9/11). Because this is the case, its not particularly strange that they didn’t see much of each other in the Senate; indeed, Cheney has been out of sight for so much of the time that many have commented on this fact.

    Finally, careful reading of the write-up would tell you that they had met at “least” three times.

    I have to say, whether Kerry or Bush wins will bring some pleasure to my life; since I’ll be able to watch folks like Adam, R.C. Dean, Mona, Joe, etc., go apoplectic over the result.

  4. Cheney said at work on Tuesdays when he is presiding over the Senate that he never saw Senator Edwards. No conflict there!

    Most likey Edwards never liked to work on Tuesdays for the last three years.

  5. Uh… sarcasm, exaggeration for effect? Like a wife of 10 years saying “you never tell me I look pretty” Husband replies “yes I DO, what about the day we got married?”
    Edwards might as well be yelling “you can’t triple stamp a double stamp!!!”

  6. So, will people start dissecting the statement “The first time we met…” like it was a holiday in Cambodia?

    Will we get right-wing bloggers pointing out that Edwards and Cheney really only nodded to each other at such-and-such event? Will left-wing bloggers produce an invitation for Edwards to attend some event that Cheney was at, only to find out that the caligraphy doesn’t match any DC-area event planners? Will we analyze photos of an event with Cheney and Edwards and try to infer from the 2D image of a 3D event whether they made eye contact? Maybe we can get a font expert to

    Come on people! This has blogosphere obsession piece written all over it! Let’s treat this triviality with all of the attention that we’d give to proportional fonts, Valerie Plame, a holiday in Cambodia, and other burning issues!

    😉

  7. Let’s count the lies:

    1.) Never met Edwards.

    2.) 900,000 small businesses affected.

    3.) Free elections in El Salvador.

    4.) Coalition money.

    5.) Never asserted connection between 9/11 and Iraq.

    6.) Edwards’ Halliburton claims disproved at FactCheck.org (or FactCheck.com for that matter).

    7.) Iraq part of the coalition.

    8.) Gulf War ’91 coalition wasn’t far stronger than this one.

    9.) Libya gave up nuclear material because of the invasion of Iraq.

    10.) Iraq had an “established relationship” with al-Qaida.

    Are there any more? I know that if I included just plain old misleading stuff, Dick’s material on senate votes would be good for a couple entries.

    P.S. Do we really know Zarqawi is in Baghdad?

  8. Yoda was on his best game.

  9. Fodderstompf

    If you’re going to be nothing but a new shrill voice for the left, I have to say that most people here will quickly roll up the welcome mat. This is an intelligent blog with intelligent debates and commentators. We don’t need an A.N.S.W.E.R. sycophant such as yourself.

    We all already have joe to pick on.

  10. I’d like to expand a little on the supposed negative small business impact the R’s like to accuse the D’s of in their proposed tax policies.

    I have a small business S corporation. As the owner, the only way I can pull money out of the corp is either by salary or by dividends. As we know, dividends are now not taxed at all but salary has the usual payroll, local, state,etc taxes taken out. The corporation pays no taxes at all but I, as the owner, do it on my personal return at whatever bracket I fall in.

    The game now is to pull as much out in dividends without getting the attention of the Man. There’s rules on it but little enforcement. The kicker is the less I actually work, the more I can pull in dividends. Perfect for an investment company.

    I’ll leave it to you to figure out how raising the tax rate for incomes above $200,000 will affect me. Zilch.

  11. Let’s count the lies:

    Most of your statements are highly subjective: 900,000 small businesses affected, Iraq part of the coalition, Gulf War ’91 coalition wasn’t far stronger than this one, Libya gave up nuclear material because of the invasion of Iraq, etc.

  12. Seems to me that Edwards is taking way too much pride in the fact that he is forgettable (to Cheney, at least).

  13. Ok, so Cheney should have said “I don’t remember meeting you before tonight.” Big deal, same point. Edwards is often somewhere other than where most senators are supposed to be.

    And, how memorable could their meeting(s) have been, if Edwards’ wife had to remind him of it?

  14. Oops. Sorry, I didn’t catch that the “him” was Cheney.

  15. Ok, so Cheney should have said “I don’t remember meeting you before tonight.”

    Clinton should have said “It’s none of your business what I did with that woman,” but he didn’t.

    Cheney said, “The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.” He didn’t say “I’ve never seen you on the Senate floor,” or “I’ve never met you on one of my Tuesday visits,” or “I’ve never seen you cast a vote on C-SPAN.” He said, “The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight,” and he said it in a manner of absolute, damning, theatrical certainty that impressed even me, and I don’t think Senators should ever show up for work.

    The point itself may or may not be important, but this was the most dramatic and memorable hit Cheney scored against Edwards all night, and it was factually, demonstrably, and really false. I don’t know what Cheney was thinking, though I suspect he figured by the time anybody caught the falsehood the discussion would have moved on, and his partisans would move in to pettifog about it.

  16. I dunno, Tim. Seems like saying that Kerry can’t handle AQ if he can’t handle a moonbat like Dean is pretty strong medicine.

    Or accusing him of dissing the dead Iraqis.

    Or saying that tough statements in a political campaign don’t erase a 30-year record

  17. Cheney can’t seem to remember what he said on “Meet the Press” about the connection between the Hussein regime and Al Qaeda, so it doesn’t surprise me to hear that Cheney doesn’t remember appearing with Edwards on “Meet the Press”.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6188565/

  18. Gadfly, as far as I know S corporations are excluded from the tax exempt dividend. Talk to someone before you put that plan in action….

  19. On the point that Iraq isn’t a coalition country:

    At first I scratched my head when he said that, but in reality Iraq is currently a coalition country. It’s a new state with troops fighting alongside other coalition troops. If it wasn’t a coalition country, then we would still be fighting the iraqi gov’t.

  20. Ayn_Randian,

    I’d sooner roll up the welcome mat on authoritarian egomaniacs who have no respect for vigorous debate or free speech.

  21. Come on, guys, this was the Vice Presdential debate. Cheney could have dramatically revealed himself to be Edwards’ father, chopped his hand off, and flown away in a spacecraft and no one would care or notice.

  22. ” I don’t know what Cheney was thinking”

    He was probably thinking that he’d never met him, having forgotten the meetings. Is that hard to figure out?

  23. Accusing him of dissing dead Iraqis is so stupid. Although Edwards’s point about the casualty percentage was unimpressive to begin with since no matter how much of the world we have behind us they’re likely to leave the actual fighting up to us (I wonder if our percentage of casualties was any lower in Gulf War I? I don’t think that was addressed), it’s also rather obvious that the Iraqis have no choice but to be involved with this, so their number of casualties have nothing to do with Edwards’s point. And he certainly wasn’t dissing them or belittling them or whatever Cheney actually said.

    What Jesse said….

  24. Gadfly, as far as I know S corporations are excluded from the tax exempt dividend. Talk to someone before you put that plan in action…

    I Am Not A Tax Lawyer, but I have recently incorporated a business, and I’m pretty sure Gadfly’s little tax-dodge plan is not legal. If it were, I’d be doing it right now.

  25. He was probably thinking that he’d never met him, having forgotten the meetings.

    Do you actually believe that?

  26. “Do you actually believe that?”

    It’s too stupid a lie to tell. Edwards was sitting right there, he could have just called him on it. The fact that he didn’t seems to indicate that Edwards had forgotten it to. I suppose Cheney could have been using some sort of mind control device, but I’m only willing to entertain sane arguments.

  27. Gadfly-

    We at the Internal Revenue Service would like to make you aware the we have frozen your bank accounts until we can ascertain the legality of your activities. You will be receiving a letter regarding the unfortunate action in a few days. If you have any questions, you can ask our representatives when they are at your house taking inventory.

    Sincerely,
    Internal Revenue Service
    Department of the Treasury

  28. So we are left with the choice of Cheney deliberately lying for effect, or Cheney possessing poor long-term memory? 🙂

  29. “So we are left with the choice of Cheney deliberately lying for effect, or Cheney possessing poor long-term memory?”

    No, just a memory lapse, really. Given the state of Cheney’s arteries, it wouldn’t be surprising, arterialschlerosis leads to memory loss. Edwards may want to get checked out. His wife seems in the clear…

  30. JDM,

    Or Edwards didn’t have time to respond? I didn’t watch the so-called “debate,” but there are a number of plausible reasons why Edwards might not have responded. And of course the fact is that Edwards carries no burden of proof here, since he is not the claimant; Cheney is.

    And lots of people tell lies, whether it is too stupid for them to do so or not.

  31. JDM, other Bush partisans, etc.,

    Really, just get over it. Cheney got egg on his face; the thing blew up on him; just admit it and move on. Don’t do a Joe or Mona and try and obfuscate the matter.

  32. “Or Edwards didn’t have time to respond? ”

    He had time, he made a rebuttal to a previous question at the start of a new one at least one other time, so even if the question was “closed” he could have said something.

    “I didn’t watch the so-called “debate,” but there are a number of plausible reasons why Edwards might not have responded.”

    Like what? It’s immaterial anyway, since there is no plausible reason for Cheney to be certain that Edwards wouldn’t have.

    “And of course the fact is that Edwards carries no burden of proof here, since he is not the claimant; Cheney is.”

    This isn’t a courtroom, and there is no reason to think that Cheney being wrong here was a lie as opposed to a memory lapse.

  33. I don’t know, JDM. Anytime there’s a peroration like that in a debate, it’s planned, paced, and premeditated. Note that Cheney used this line when he was supposed to be replying to an Israeli/Palestinian question-as clear a sign as I can think of that he had this up his sleeve and was making sure to play it. This was not just something that came off the top of his head. Note also that after making that point, Cheney used the balance of his time to talk about the middle east question. So I say the simplest solution is: He gambled that Edwards wouldn’t want to look stupid by doubling (or by that point tripling) back just to call him on such a trivial point.

    Anwyay, I’m getting tired of talking about this trivial point…and I’m sure that’s just the way Cheney wanted it!

  34. “Don’t do a Joe or Mona and try and obfuscate the matter.”

    I’m not obfuscating anything. It looks bad, I find it highly improbable that it was a lie.

  35. “It’s too stupid a lie to tell.”

    You do remember that we’re talking about Dick Cheney here, right?

    Anyway, the quip was too carefully constructed – Cheney built up to it listing his responsibilities presiding over the Senate, describing the Tuesday meetings, etc. This was as scripted as “You’re no Jack Kennedy.”

  36. Sure, they met at least a couple times. Interesting that apparently neither one of them remembered it.

    The Demmies need to be careful, though – the more they talk about this, the more they remind people that Edwards hasn’t done shit as a Senator. Its a tough line to hold – do you obfuscate your opponents main point, or illustrate it, by obsessing publicly about a minor side issue.

  37. JDM,

    This isn’t a courtroom, and there is no reason to think that Cheney being wrong here was a lie as opposed to a memory lapse.

    There are plenty of reasons to think so. One might be that Cheney thought he could score a hit that would only be responded to later. Now, maybe they aren’t “plausible” reasons (that’s a subjective judgment), but there are reasons to think that Cheney might want to lie about it.

    Nevertheless, that point is moot; because whether he lied about it or not (and it is impossible ultimately – absent some objective evidence – to tell one way or the other), Cheney fucked up.

  38. I find it hard to believe that he could have just forgotten. If you read the quote, Cheney states:

    “And Senator, frankly, you have a record in the Senate that’s not very distinguished. You’ve missed 33 out of 36 meetings in the Judiciary Committee, almost 70 percent of the meetings of the Intelligence Committee.

    You’ve missed a lot of key votes: on tax policy, on energy, on Medicare reform.

    Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you “Senator Gone.”

    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 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.”

    All of the statistics preceding Cheney’s false statement are presumably accurate. Cheney wasn’t pulling those figures out of thin air; he, presumably, had them ready in front of him. This would suggest that, like the statements preceding Cheney’s undeniably false statement, the whole thing was rehearsed.

    Here’s another quote from the debate:

    “CHENEY: The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there’s a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there’s clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror.

    The link I placed in my previous comment shows that Cheney’s statement is a lie. Per the link:

    “On Dec. 9, 2001, Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that “it’s been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.” On March 24, 2002, Cheney again told NBC, “We discovered … the allegation that one of the lead hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had, in fact, met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague.”

    …or do you think Cheney forgot about saying that on “Meet the Press” too?

  39. Seems like saying that Kerry can’t handle AQ if he can’t handle a moonbat like Dean is pretty strong medicine.

    You’re right, that was an excellent shot. I still think the meeting thing was more personal, and thus more dramatic.

    Or accusing him of dissing the dead Iraqis.

    Are you shitting me? That whole line of argument was pathetic and desperate.

    Or saying that tough statements in a political campaign don’t erase a 30-year record.

    Standard debate boilerplate. No, the meeting bit and the Howard Dean bit were the evening’s best shots. Which is why I’ve already said I think Cheney won.

  40. First of all, it is a trivial point. Does anybody care about a senator’s attendance record? How would Cheney not realize that he’d be called on it the day after, if not by Edwards? It looks worse for him today, than it would have looked last night for Edward’s if it were true.

    “So I say the simplest solution is: He gambled that Edwards wouldn’t want to look stupid by doubling (or by that point tripling) back just to call him on such a trivial point. ”

    Clearly that’s not the simplest solution. Memory lapse is undoubtedly simpler.

  41. R.C. Dean,

    Give the level of response here by Bush supporters here, I don’t know who is obssessing; you folks, or the Kerry supporters.

  42. JDM,

    In the context of the situation as here presented, it is the simplest solution. Now, outside that context, that is generally, you are likely right; but the context pulls this one out of the general rule.

  43. Come on everyone. It’s just a question of what the meaning of “met” is? 🙂

  44. Also, yes, I think it was clearly scripted, that doesn’t change the dynamics one bit. The whole point would have been to establish a “There you go again not being a JFK” moment, which is only useful if it gets replayed, which it will, given the easily detectable falsehood as the punchline, except as a weapon against Cheney. It could not work for him with a known lie.

  45. “I don’t know who is obssessing; you folks, or the Kerry supporters.”

    I’m not claiming this is important. I don’t think the entire election is that important. If you’re worried about obsessing over nothing, why do *you* keep responding?

    Personally, I’m fine arguing over a nothing point, since if the most important argument ever constructed came about here, in this forum, it would mean exactly nothing.

  46. He kept repeating the Atta/Prague bit, even though it was widely discreditted. Ditto with the Iraqi atomic weapons program, and directly contradicting the 9/11 report on Iraqi/Al Qaeda ties the week the report came out.

    Cheney clearly believes he can contradict reality as much as he wants, and no one will call him on it.

    After the way the press and the CIA have crumpled before him over the past 3+ years, he probably has good reason to.

  47. the level and intensity of denial among bush partisans that their man cheney could possibly have been caught with his pants down trying to score a zinger is just a-m-a-z-i-n-g to me. not that it doesn’t have counterpoint on the other side of the aisle.

    but it really saddens me that no one can admit anything anymore, even the very likely — not just the candidates, but their toadies as well. is it me or has the level of blind zeal and hatred simply gone off the fucking charts like never before in this election?

  48. “but it really saddens me that no one can admit anything anymore, even the very likely — not just the candidates, but their toadies as well.”

    I’m with you. I can’t see how what is most likely a memory lapse can be reconstrued by Cheney haters as an “obvious” lie.

  49. “On Dec. 9, 2001, Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that “it’s been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April,”

    Czechoslovakia??? It has not been called Czechoslovakia for more than 10 years.

  50. most likely a memory lapse

    that is your optimism, but i rather agree with mr cavanaugh — very rarely does anything like that emerges from a debate so thoroghly choreographed as these are without having been written and memorized beforehand.

  51. A vice-presidential memory skip or a calculated fib?

    Presumably the former; Edwards was pretty much just a political trivia question until Kerry tapped him for the VP spot. There wouldn’t have been much reason to remember him at the time.

  52. Cheney also was apparently at only *TWO* Tuesday sessions of the Senate this year. So basically ever factual component of the statement was false.

  53. And, really, if Cheney was really concerned about honesty, how much time after thinking up that line (which was obviously pre-scripted, not off-the-cuff) would it have taken for him to get someone to make sure it was true or to check it himself?

    Frankly this is one of his least significant lies in a long list of them, but still….

    Ted

  54. Dan,

    Presumably the former; Edwards was pretty much just a political trivia question until Kerry tapped him for the VP spot. There wouldn’t have been much reason to remember him at the time.

    News organizations have been running articles about Edwards for some time now (since like the 2000 election), and he has been the subject of Republican attacks for several years now (starting with the whole “he’s a trial lawyer” line). Indeed, the first article I read about Edwards was several months prior to 9/11.

    More obfuscation and bullshitting from the Bush partisans.

  55. Ayn_Randian writes:
    If you’re going to be nothing but a new shrill voice for the left, I have to say that most people here will quickly roll up the welcome mat.

    Oh no! Not the welcome mat! Anything but the welcome mat!

    rst writes:
    Most of your statements are highly subjective: 900,000 small businesses affected, Iraq part of the coalition, Gulf War ’91 coalition wasn’t far stronger than this one, Libya gave up nuclear material because of the invasion of Iraq, etc.

    Either you belong in the tax bracket or you don’t. And it’s not like Cheney was off by just a couple of thousand businesses.

    I suppose the question of Iraq being a part of the coalition is highly subjective in that it pits me against the “I want to have George W Bush’s love child so I’ll go along with anything Dick Cheney says” crowd. Even Cheney isn’t consistent about it; when he mentioned the number of coalition countries, he didn’t include Iraq.

    As for Gulf War 1991 coalition not being far stronger than this one… C’mon. Be serious.

    The Libya thing is debatable, I suppose, because it’s difficult to disprove conclusively. The burden of proof is with Cheney, and I doubt he’ll ever meet it.

    Another one of Cheney’s zingers was that Edwards’ “hometown newspaper has taken to calling you ‘Senator Gone.'” There are a couple of problems with this:

    1.) Edwards’ actual hometown newspaper says the epithet was coined by the Southern Pines Pilot, a modest weekly in the same state as Edwards’ hometown.

    2.) The Pilot says they used the name once:

    The Pilot hasn’t “taken to calling him” anything. In fact, the vice president’s obscure reference sent us scrambling to our library. And sure enough, we did publish an editorial 15 months ago, on June 25, 2003, headlined, “Edwards Should Do His Day Job.” In it, we noted that Sen. Jesse Helms used to be called “Senator No.” And we added: “Four and a half years into his first term, John Edwards is becoming known as Senator Gone.”

    The reference was to Edwards’ frequent absences from the Senate floor as he traveled here and there (mostly there) pursuing his presidential ambitions.

    But we also wrote: “Members of the senator’s staff point out that Edwards’ attendance record this year has been better than the three other Democratic senators who are campaigning for president – Joe Lieberman, Richard Gephardt and Bob Graham. And the aides also say none of the votes Edwards missed was close, so his presence on the floor would not have changed the outcome.”

    Thanks for the plug, Mr. Vice President. We’re proud to count you among our many readers.

    Is it even worth pointing out that Cheney has presided over the Senate two times during the last four years?

  56. “Either you belong in the tax bracket or you don’t.”

    If I were you, I would ammend that statement to read, “Either you belong in the tax bracket or you work for someone in the tax bracket or you sell something to someone in the tax bracket or you buy something from someone in the tax bracket or you inherit something from someone in the tax bracket or you hope to one day be in the the tax bracket.”

  57. …and then I’d erase the extra “the” before the last “tax bracket.”

  58. Ken Schultz,

    …or you are living off the charity of someone in that tax bracket, or…

  59. Gadfly writes: “As we know, dividends are now not taxed at all but salary has the usual payroll, local, state,etc taxes taken out. ”

    Sorry to disappoint you, but dividends are still taxed.

    The rate was only reduced to 15%, not zero.

    “These announcements occurred because the Job Growth and Taxpayer Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 cut the maximum individual income tax rate that stockholders pay on dividends to 15 percent.” – Bruce Bartlett, http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba/ba483/

  60. You’re right. I’m having a talk with that boy.

    However, in certain circumstances Gadfly could be right, although I don’t ever advise telling him that – he can be insufferable.

    Generally, distribution dividends paid to a shareholder by an S corporation are not subject to the new, lower taxes on dividends. But many S corporations were originally incorporated as C corporations. That being the case, many S corporations are sitting with prior accumulated earnings and profits from their days as C corporations.

    If that’s the case, there is nothing under the new law that disallows paying qualified dividends from those accumulated earnings and profits. And those qualifying dividends will be subject to the lower tax rates. To make things even sweeter, if some of the shareholders of the S corporation are in lower tax brackets, the dividends might be taxed at a rate much lower than 15%, perhaps down to 5% or even zero.

    That’s my gratis work for the month.

  61. Kerry in photo with Fonda – Not a big deal, they probably never even met!

    Edwards in photo with Cheney – Damning evidence of the Vice President’s lack of integrity!

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