Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) beat President Bush in the debate, but his smooth performance stemmed largely from the fact that no one called him out on several misstatements, falsehoods, and outright lies he told.
HUMAN EVENTS has studied the September 30 debate transcript and come up with several erroneous Kerry statements. In each case we juxtapose Kerry’s statement with the truth.
Kerry Did Accuse Bush of Lying
Jim Lehrer: “You’ve repeatedly accused President Bush . . . essentially, of lying to the American people about Iraq. Give us some examples of what you consider to be his not telling the truth.”
John Kerry: “Well, I’ve never, ever used the harshest word (‘lie’) as you just did.”
“These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I’ve ever seen. It’s scary.”
–John Kerry, to a supporter in Chicago, March 10, 2004.
“Kerry also told a New Hampshire newspaper editorial board Friday that Bush had ‘lied’ about his reasons for going to war in Iraq, a word Kerry has been reluctant to use publicly for months.”
–The Boston Globe, Dec. 8, 2003
Subways Did Not Close
John Kerry: “The President hasn’t put one nickel, not one nickel, into the effort to fix some of our tunnels and bridges and most exposed subway systems. That’s why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican convention was there.”
“That’s not true, that’s totally untrue,” former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik told the New York Daily News October 1. The subway did not close down during the Republican National Convention. In 2003 alone, the administration provided $65 million in grants specifically for upgrading mass transit security. The administration claims it has provided $50 million more in 2004.
–Source: Office of Justice Programs website, Allocation of Urban Area Security Initiative Grants for 2003, Appendix A.
Shinseki Not Sacked for Troop Comments
John Kerry:“They avoided even the advice of their own general, Gen. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff. Said, ‘You’re going to need several hundred thousand troops.’ And instead of listening to him, they retired him.”
“That is not true, and even Bush critics in the Pentagon know it. The truth is that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, demanding control of the Army, collided with Shinseki on issues unrelated to Iraq. In March 2002, Rumsfeld announced that Shinseki’s term as chief of staff would end as scheduled in June 2003 without extension–an unprecedented action that made the general a lame duck. It was after that, not before it, on Feb. 25, 2003, that Shinseki told a Senate committee the United States would need ‘several hundred thousand’ soldiers (not precisely 200,000) for Iraq occupation duty.”
–Bob Novak, Sept. 30,2004.
Iraq’s Cost Not $200 Billion
John Kerry: “And so, today, we are 90% of the casualties and 90% of the cost [in Iraq]–$200 billion, $200 billion that could have been used for health care, for schools, for construction, for prescription drugs for seniors, and it’s in Iraq.”
“Kerry has repeatedly used the figure of $200 billion as the cost of the Iraq war–a number that has been disputed many times by several sources. . . . According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the actual figure is closer to $120 billion and Kerry could reach his number only by including money spent to fight the war in Afghanistan and funds spent on homeland security.”
–Boston Herald, Oct. 2, 2004
North Korea Got Nukes on Clinton’s Watch, Not Bush’s
John Kerry: “And for two years this administration didn’t talk at all to North Korea. While they didn’t talk at all, the fuel rods came out, the inspectors were kicked out, the television cameras were kicked out. And today there are four to seven nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea. That happened on this President’s watch.”
“U.S. intelligence analysts have assumed North Korea had one or two nuclear bombs since the early 1990s. Under a 1994 agreement with the Clinton Administration, North Korea froze a potential source of weapons material–spent fuel rods at a nuclear facility–and allowed international inspectors to verify the freeze. The Bush Administration walked away from the accord in 2002, after learning that North Korea had secretly pursued nuclear weapons via a second route, by enriching uranium.”
–Cox News Service Report, Oct. 1, 2004
American Troops Did Not Botch Osama Capture
John Kerry: “Unfortunately, he escaped in the mountains of Tora Bora. We had him surrounded. But we didn’t use American forces, the best trained in the world, to go kill him–the President relied on Afghan warlords that he outsourced that job to. That’s wrong.”
“The fact of the matter is within 72 hours of the time we were receiving reporting on where Osama bin Laden was in Tora Bora, I received similar reporting every place from Baluchistan, to a lake up to the northwest of Kandahar. . . . And so we don’t know. I don’t know whether Osama bin Laden was in Tora Bora at that time.”
–Gen. Tommy Franks on CNN, Sept. 30, 2004
Osama Probably Not in Afghanistan
John Kerry: “He’s got 10 times the number of troops in Iraq than he has in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden is.”
“I am reasonably sure, as I think the previous commentator was, that Osama bin Laden is not in Afghanistan today, as the senator said he was. . . . I think our intelligence services believe he is in–believe he’s in Pakistan. I just rest with a degree of assurance . . . he is not being harbored in Afghanistan as he was eight years prior to the time we saw 9/11 erupt.”
–Gen. Tommy Franks on CNN, Sept. 30, 2004
Bush Did Not ‘Divert Forces’
John Kerry: “The President made the judgment to divert forces from under Gen. Tommy Franks from Afghanistan, before the Congress even approved it, to begin to prepare to go to war in Iraq.”
“I caught just a part of a news conference that [Kerry] gave wherein he talked about how bad it was that the Commander-in-Chief had taken troops away from me and put those out of Afghanistan and put those troops to work in Iraq. Sean, that’s absolutely incorrect. . . . I would refer you to page 386 of my book where we go ahead and we talk about the fact that the President used to stress to me every day his concern that we should not distract from Afghanistan and the fight there while we were conducting Iraq. We entered Iraq with 9,500 troopers in Afghanistan. And by the time we finished major combat in . . . Iraq we had 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.”
–Gen. Tommy Franks, The Sean Hannity Radio Show, Sept. 21, 2004
U.S. Troops All Had Body Armor
John Kerry: “[President Bush sent] troops to war without the body armor that they need.”
“Every soldier and Marine on the ground over had body armor. The difference is, is that our industry has produced an even better body armor than what we have, so what the folks went over to the war with is what we’ve been wearing for several years, which is body armor that’s very, very good against a certain caliber of munition. The new body armor is better against large caliber munition. Industry produced it and Congress funded it and industries producing as fast as they can and as fast as they’re making it we’re getting it to Iraq. The projection is that by December of this year  everybody in Iraq will have the new armor, so everybody has armor. . .”
–Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Oct. 21, 2003
Firehouses Not Closing, Not Underfunded
John Kerry: “What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open firehouses in Iraq, but we’re shutting firehouses, who are the first responders, here in America?”
In fiscal 2001, Clinton’s last budget year, the firefighters received $92 million in federal grants through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Bush’s Homeland Security Department gave $246 million for the same program for fiscal 2004. For 2005, Bush has requested $500 million for the program.
–Source: U.S. Fire Administration/FEMA website. President’s Budget Request for fiscal 2005.