Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Cheney & Edwards Debate Tonight

The debate starts at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific and it looks like it will be shown live on all networks and cable news channels. ABC News's The Note called it "Shrek vs. Breck" and salon.com calls it "youth and beauty vs. old age and treachery." The stark contrasts between these two candidates will make the debate all the more interesting to watch. As The Wall St. Journal puts it:
Dick Cheney is nearing the end of a political career that spans three decades. He has no desire to run for president in 2008. He is a reluctant campaigner and an unlikely politician. The Los Angeles Times says Mr. Cheney has "anticharisma." He doesn't seem to care. He speaks in short declarative sentences and uses few unnecessary words. And he prefers to conduct the affairs of state in private.

John Edwards has been an elected official for only six years. Few expect that his meteoric rise in politics will end if he and John Kerry lose this race. Sen. Edwards, who could answer a Holywood casting call for southern politician, actually seems to enjoy his public appearances. He is a loquacious lawyer who has made millions as a direct result of his ability to tell stories.
And what should we expect to hear tonight?
There is one big question that Mr. Cheney does need to answer. More than anyone else in this administration, he provided questionable information about both the evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the likely consequences of war with Iraq. In each case, he spoke with great conviction, as a man who had examined the evidence himself, and who wasn't just passing along the administration's line.

For instance, the vice president appeared on "Meet The Press" shortly before the war to assure Americans that U.S. troops would be "greeted as liberators." He spoke of his own conversations with Iraqis when he said there is "no question" that the people of that country "want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."

In the same appearance, Mr. Cheney confidently dismissed the comments of Army General Eric Shinseki, who said it would take several hundred thousand troops in Iraq for several years to maintain stability. "I disagree," the vice president said without equivocation. "That's an overstatement."

An epic story in The New York Times reminds us that Mr. Cheney made another appearance on "Meet The Press" in September 2002, when he said the administration knows "with absolute certainty" that Mr. Hussein "is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon."
In other words, Dick Cheney was more wrong on more occasions about more things than anyone else in the administration. John Edwards needs to remind viewers of that and make Dick Cheney squirm.


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