John Kerry in a press conference last week repeated his accusation that Gen. Eric Shinseki was "forced out" as U.S. Army chief of staff because he wanted more troops for Iraq. The trouble is that the Democratic presidential nominee was spreading an urban myth. The bigger trouble is that it was no isolated incident.
Sen. Kerry last week also said the Bush administration may push reinstatement of the military draft, when in fact that idea comes only from anti-war Democrats. At the same time, he said retired Gen. Tommy Franks complained that Iraq was draining troops from Afghanistan, when the truth is he never did. Over a week earlier, Kerry blamed Bush for higher Medicare premiums when in fact they are mandated by law (one that Kerry voted for).
Exaggeration is a familiar political staple, but presidential candidates usually are held to a higher standard. Kerry's recent descent into myth making may reflect the campaign's anxiety in the final weeks. The immediate questions are whether he will engage in misstatements during Thursday's first presidential debate, and whether he will be challenged if he does.
Kerry is voicing inaccurate statements that have been repeated so often on the Internet, on radio talk shows and by campaign surrogates that they have come to be regarded as the truth -- for example, the explanation for how Eric Shinseki's long and distinguished military career ended.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Robert Novak nails Kerry. Kerry is so desperate now that he is spreading lies. It seems to be the only hope he has.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 5:51 AM