Al Gore Is A Big, Fit Liar
By Arianna Huffington
February 03, 2000
There are those urging Bill Bradley to discontinue his campaign against Al Gore in the name of salvaging Democratic unity. But it appears that Bradley has instead decided to fight on full throttle, putting Gore's trustworthiness on trial. And that's good news for our democracy.
Maybe Bradley can prove to the country that, like crime, chronic deception doesn't pay. "How can the people trust a candidate," Bradley asked in New York the day after the New Hampshire primary, "who doesn't respect them enough to tell them the truth in the campaign?"
And Gore and his staff clearly don't -- having displayed a gift for spinning, double talk and out-and-out lying of which the vice president's participle-parsing mentor would be proud. "He's always been for Roe v. Wade," Gore press secretary Chris Lehane said in Amherst, N.H., to a group of reporters trying to reconcile Gore's various positions on abortion through the years.
When I asked him if the vice president still believed, as he wrote in 1987, that abortion is "arguably the taking of a human life," Lehane repeated, "He's always been for Roe v. Wade."
"That's not what I'm asking," I pressed on.
But Lehane kept mouthing his mantra, maybe hoping that if he said it enough times we would all disappear and he'd wake up back in his own warm, cozy bed. Next time he should try closing his eyes and clicking his heels together while he says it.
Gore and his handlers traded stonewalling for hair-splitting when the veep's repeated assaults on Bradley's campaign finance record threatened to blow up in his face. "I didn't wait until I ran for president to first speak up on campaign finance reform," said Gore during the last New Hampshire debate. Unfortunately for Gore, the Grand Poo-bah of reform, Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21 and former head of Common Cause, begged to differ. He both derided Gore's commitment to the issue and pointed out that Bradley had, in fact, co-sponsored campaign finance reform bills in each of six straight Congresses -- from 1985 to 1996.
Unfazed, Team Gore claimed that their man meant Bradley had not "authored" any bills, but only "co-sponsored" them. "The vice president was saying that he didn't play a leadership role," explained spinmeister Lehane.
Like a schoolyard bully unwilling to give an inch on even insignificant points, Gore and his handlers have shown a steadfast unwillingness to ever admit having made a mistake. Take this past weekend's ugly incident at a Gore rally in which Bradley backer Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) was set upon by a group of Gore supporters -- including New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen's husband Bill -- who splattered Kerrey with mud and called him "a cripple."
Now, you'd think the first thing the Gore camp would do is issue a full apology for the callousness of its followers. But that would be giving an inch -- clearly something Al and his pals don't do. "It was in good fun," insisted the veep, while his handlers chose to play the Constitution card: "First Amendment," shrugged Lehane. "They have the right to say what they want." For his part, Kerrey turned the confrontation to Bradley's advantage: "I am a cripple -- that's the first honest thing they've said in 10 days."
Bradley has warned voters to watch for Gore's "tricky" way with words, going as far as to compare him with Richard Nixon: "the kind of politician who'd chop down a tree, then stand on the stump and give a speech about conservation." Gore as the Anti-George Washington -- he simply cannot tell the truth, he cannot help but lie -- is now the recurring theme of the Bradley campaign. "There has never been a time during this campaign," Gore vowed before Tuesday's primary, "when I have said something that I know to be untrue." In fact, not only this campaign but Gore's entire career has been laden with untruths -- all demonstrating a pattern of serial abuse of language, truth and reality.
He invented the Internet, discovered Love Canal and was the inspiration for "Love Story." He lives on a farm, was "always pro-choice" and claimed that, "unlike Sen. Bradley," he had co-sponsored the original McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill -- even though Feingold was not elected to the Senate until Gore had already left to become v.p.
Two recently uncovered memos reveal that some of Gore's own advisors have been uncomfortable with his fast and loose way with the truth as far back as his 1988 presidential campaign. "Your main pitfall is exaggeration," cautioned Arlie Schardt, the campaign's communications director in March 1988, while Mike Kopp, the campaign's press secretary, warned him that his image "may continue to suffer if you continue to go out on a limb with remarks that may be impossible to back up."
You have to wonder what this compulsive need to embellish what is already an impressive resume says about Gore. It's not enough that he served in Vietnam, he has to have come under enemy fire. It's not enough that he worked as an investigative reporter in the 1970s, his reporting has to have sent a bunch of people to jail. It's not enough that he's strong on the environment, he has to have written the Superfund law.And now it's not enough that he is vice president, he has to -- absolutely, desperately, compulsively needs to -- be president. If truth and reality matter, he should not be.
© 2004 Christabella, Inc. All rights reserved.
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