Bush's motto: If it sounds good, say it
When you spend so much time torturing the truth, it's hard to keep your story straight -- or even remember what you just said.
The most remarkable moment in Tuesday's debate between Vice President Cheney and Sen. John Edwards came when Cheney issued a blanket denial of the obvious.
Edwards, who proved both his value and his loyalty to Democratic nominee John Kerry, declared that "there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th. Period. The 9/11 Commission has said that's true. Colin Powell has said it's true. But the vice president keeps suggesting that there is."
What Cheney said next was, literally, incredible: "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11."
This is the same Cheney who, just minutes before, in the very same debate, had defended the attack on Iraq by declaring flatly that Saddam Hussein "had an established relationship with al Qaeda." Hello? If that is not a "suggestion" of a connection, what is?
Well, this: On Sept. 14, 2003, Cheney said Iraq was at the heart of "the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."
If the Cheney-Edwards debate made nothing else clear, it is that the central issue in this presidential election is becoming the administration's lack of credibility and its tendency to say whatever is convenient to make whatever case it is trying to make.
Day by day, we learn more and more about how the administration led the nation into war by distorting intelligence and twisting facts. A president who once condemned a mentality that declared "if it feels good, do it" has now embraced a related principle: "If it sounds good, say it."