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Gore's Exaggerations and Embellishments Vs. Bush's Bumbling Babblings

It has finally happened. The Republicans have made headway on the "character issue". And only because the mainstream media has, for some reason, decided to give attention to a subject that conservatives have been harping on for years: Al Gore's tendency to, well let's just say stretch the truth a bit.

Recently, the Newsweek, the Washington Post, New York Times and several other publications that are destined to endorse Gore for president, have begun to point out that the vice-president may have a credibility issue with American voters. And poll numbers are "beginning" to reflect that possibility.

What has been most interesting in all of this recent attention to Gore's integrity, honesty and credibility is the Gore campaign's response to the attack. The Gore campaign, obviously realizing that the evidence is pretty strong against their candidate in this particular area has decided to depict Gov. Bush basically as a buffoon. This effort was dramatically on public display this weekend when Gore representative Mark Fabiani questioned Bush's ability to express himself coherently and whether Americans could trust a president that couldn't even express his ideas.

I thought the attacks were surprisingly mean-spirited and evidence that the Gore campaign is very much on the defensive on the issue of their candidate's character.

By countering the attacks on Gore's honesty with a ridiculing exercise against the Texas Governor, Democrats and Gore look less than ready for prime time.

The whole initiative to highlight Bush's "bumbling babblings" reminds me of how we used to make fun or "bust" on people in elementary and high-school when we found an item of clothing, bad haircut or pants that were too short (otherwise known as "high-waters")

That kind of thing may be fine for high-school but appears to be a bit out of character for a presidential race. Especially when we saw what appeared to be two gentlemen, in the person of Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman, give a course in civility in their presidential debate.

The Bush campaign is certainly not free of immature tactics but in the battle of Bush's speaking difficulties and Gore's problems in telling the truth, most Americans will side with Bush, as his problem is easier to identify with than that of Gore's.

The Gore campaign may actually be helping Bush by making fun of him.

Below is the showdown that few have been waiting for Bush's Bumbling Babblings vs. Gore's Exaggerations and Embellishments. You decide the winner.

But regardless to who you pick as the winner, the big loser is the American electorate that either has to pick between a "liar" or a "buffoon" (depending on which side you take) or at least has to watch the campaigns of the two men who will most likely become the next leader of the most powerful country in the world, take the campaign of little issues even lower.

[I dare any of you to keep a straight face as you read this stuff (smile).]

Cedric Muhammad

October 10, 2000

Bush's Bumbling Babblings

"I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans."--Oprah, Sept. 19, 2000

"A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness."-The Edge With Paula Zahn, Sept. 18, 2000

"The woman who knew that I had dyslexia-I never interviewed her."-Orange, Calif., Sept. 15, 2000

"The best way to relieve families from time is to let them keep some of their own money."-Westminster, Calif., Sept. 13, 2000

"They have miscalculated me as a leader."-Ibid. "I don't think we need to be subliminable about the differences between our views on prescription drugs."-Orlando, Fla., Sept. 12, 2000

"This is what I'm good at. I like meeting people, my fellow citizens, I like interfacing with them."-Outside Pittsburgh, Sept. 8, 2000

"That's Washington. That's the place where you find people getting ready to jump out of the foxholes before the first shot is fired."-Westland, Mich., Sept. 8, 2000

"Listen, Al Gore is a very tough opponent. He is the incumbent. He represents the incumbency. And a challenger is somebody who generally comes from the pack and wins, if you're going to win. And that's where I'm coming from."-Detroit, Sept. 7, 2000 (Thanks to Michael Butler, Houston, Texas.)

"We'll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers."-Houston, Texas, Sept. 6, 2000

"We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans."-Scranton, Pa., Sept. 6, 2000

"I regret that a private comment I made to the vice presidential candidate made it through the public airways."-Allentown, Pa., Sept. 5, 2000.

"The point is, this is a way to help inoculate me about what has come and is coming."--on his anti-Gore ad, in an interview with the New York Times, Sept. 2, 2000

"As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards."--CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000

"Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness."--Ibid. "I don't know whether I'm going to win or not. I think I am. I do know I'm ready for the job. And, if not, that's just the way it goes."-Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 21, 2000

''This campaign not only hears the voices of the entrepreneurs and the farmers and the entrepreneurs, we hear the voices of those struggling to get ahead."-Ibid. "We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.''-Ibid. "I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together."-Bartlett, Tenn., Aug. 18, 2000 (Thanks to Tarja Black.)

"I think he needs to stand up and say if he thought the president were wrong on policy and issues, he ought to say where."-Interview with the Associated Press, Aug. 11, 2000 (Thanks to Ryan Rhodes.)

"I want you to know that farmers are not going to be secondary thoughts to a Bush administration. They will be in the forethought of our thinking."-Salinas, Calif., Aug. 10, 2000 (Thanks to Kris Sester.)

"And if he continues that, I'm going to tell the nation what I think about him as a human being and a person."-President George H.W. Bush, on the Today show, Aug. 1, 2000

"You might want to comment on that, Honorable."--To New Jersey's secretary of state, the Hon. DeForest Soaries Jr., as quoted by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, July 15, 2000

Gore's Exaggerations and Embellishments

On Texas fires October 2000 Statement: Mr. Gore claimed in a debate with his Republican rival, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, that he accompanied Federal Emergency Management Agency Director James Lee Witt to Texas during a spate of wildfires several years ago. Fact: The day after the debate, Mr. Gore conceded he made no such trip. "I was there in Texas. I think James Lee went to the same fires. I've made so many trips with James to these disaster sites. I got that wrong."

On school overcrowding October 2000 Statement: Mr. Gore said in the debate a Florida school forced a female student to stand in an overcrowded classroom. "She is the 36th student in that classroom....They can't squeeze another desk in for her, so she has to stand during class." Fact: Sarasota High School Principal Daniel Kennedy said that isn't true. The class was short a desk for a day. "We don't really have any students standing in class and we have more than enough desks for all of our students." The Gore campaign said the candidate based his story on a news account.

On the Strategic Petroleum Reserve September 2000 Statement: Mr. Gore said he was involved in talks about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve "since the days it was first established." Fact: Mr. Gore entered the House in 1977 - two years after the reserve was created.

On union songs September 2000 Statement: Mr. Gore told a Teamsters meeting that the "Look for the Union Label" song was one of the "lullabies I heard as a child" and he sang a bit of it as the audience cheered. Fact: The song was written in 1975, when Mr. Gore was 27. He subsequently claimed he was joking.

On prescription drugs August 2000 Statement: Mr. Gore said his mother-in-law and his dog take the same arthritis medicine, Lodine, but his mother-in-law's prescription costs nearly three times as much as the dog's - $108 a month vs. $38. Fact: Gore campaign aides conceded the anecdote was a "composite" that used numbers from a Democratic congressional report, not from family expenditures.

On abortion February 2000 Statement: Mr. Gore said he "always, always, always" supported Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. Fact: In 1977, Mr. Gore voted for the Hyde Amendment, which says that abortion "takes the life of an unborn child who is a living human being." Mr. Gore wrote to a constituent in 1984: "It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong. . . . Let me assure you that I share your belief that innocent life must be protected."

On being a speechwriter for Hubert H. Humphrey December 1999 Statement: Mr. Gore told The Washington Post that as a youth he had contributed important lines to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey's presidential-nomination acceptance speech at the 1968 Democratic convention. Fact: When challenged, Mr. Gore conceded the story was false. "Faulty memory. Faulty memory," he said.

On discovering the Love Canal November 1999 Statement: Mr. Gore told a New Hampshire high school forum that he discovered the Love Canal hazardous-waste site and started the investigations. "I found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal. Had the first hearing on that issue. That was the one that started it all. . . ." Fact: Mr. Gore did hold hearings on Love Canal - two months after the state did. By then, the problems of the canal were already known and the federal government had declared the town a disaster area.

On the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform bill November 1999 Statement: Mr. Gore said during a debate with Democratic rival Bill Bradley: "Unlike Senator Bradley, I was a co-sponsor of it." Fact: Mr. Gore and Sen. Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, never served together in the Senate. Mr. Gore later said: "What I meant to say was that I supported it."

Earned Income Tax Credit law November 1999 Statement: Mr. Gore said, "I was the author of that proposal. I wrote that." Fact: The EITC law was enacted in 1975, two years before Mr. Gore entered Congress.

On action in Vietnam October 1999 Statement: Mr. Gore said he "walked through the elephant grass and was fired upon" in Vietnam. "I carried an M-16. . . . I pulled my turn on the perimeter at night." Fact: He was a journalist in Vietnam and never saw combat action.

On inventing the Internet March 1999 Statement: Mr. Gore told CNN: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Fact: The Internet, originally called ARPANET, dates to 1969, when the Defense Department began funding the project. Mr. Gore, then 21, was still eight years away from joining Congress.

On his sister in the Peace Corps February 1992 Statement: Mr. Gore called his sister "the very first volunteer for the Peace Corps." Fact: Nancy Gore Hunger was a paid midlevel employee at the Peace Corps' Washington headquarters office from 1961-64, but never volunteered for overseas work.

On the Superfund April 1988 Statement: Mr. Gore said in campaign ads in 1988 that he "led the fight to clean up toxic waste" and was the "author of a tough Superfund law to protect the environment and crack down on toxic polluters." Fact: Then-Rep. Jim Florio, New Jersey Democrat, wrote the law in 1980. Mr. Gore played only a supporting role as one of 42 House co-sponsors.

On growing up February 1988 Statement: Mr. Gore said that he grew up in Carthage, Tenn. "I'm Al Gore. I grew up on a farm," he said in a 1988 campaign ad. Fact: Mr. Gore grew up at the Fairfax Hotel in Washington, D.C., in a suite overlooking Embassy Row.

On being a 'brilliant student' February 1988 Statement: Mr. Gore is called a "brilliant student" in a 1988 campaign ad. Fact: Mr. Gore's transcripts show that his high school and college grades were predominantly B's and C's.

On his days as a reporter September 1987 Statement: Mr. Gore said he "got a bunch of people indicted and sent to jail" as an investigative reporter in the 1970s. Fact: Two city council members were indicted; one was acquitted, the other given a suspended sentence. Mr. Gore later conceded to "a careless statement that was unintentional."

Source: Lexis/Nexis, USA Today, Boston Globe,

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

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