Dubya Watch

Tuesday, October 22, 2002
He lies exaggerates is imprecise with facts. In a story that I'm sure will further his reign as the Bush Administration's least favorite reporter, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank tallies up a list of things that Bush has been claiming that simply aren't true. As the headline puts it, "For Bush, Facts Are Malleable":
As Bush leads the nation toward a confrontation with Iraq and his party into battle in midterm elections, his rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy in recent weeks. Statements on subjects ranging from the economy to Iraq suggest that a president who won election underscoring Al Gore's knack for distortions and exaggerations has been guilty of a few himself.

Presidential embroidery is, of course, a hoary tradition. Ronald Reagan was known for his apocryphal story about liberating a concentration camp. Bill Clinton fibbed famously and under oath about his personal indiscretions to keep a step ahead of Whitewater prosecutors. Richard M. Nixon had his Watergate denials, and Lyndon B. Johnson was often accused of stretching the truth to put the best face on the Vietnam War. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, too, played with the truth during the Gary Powers and Bay of Pigs episodes.

"Everybody makes mistakes when they open their mouths and we forgive them," Brookings Institution scholar Stephen Hess said. Some of Bush's overstatements appear to be off-the-cuff mistakes. But, Hess said, "what worries me about some of these is they appear to be with foresight. This is about public policy in its grandest sense, about potential wars and who is our enemy, and a president has a special obligation to getting it right."

Monday, October 21, 2002
He uses HHS money to pay for campaign trips. We might never have known had someone not slipped the documents to The Washington Post:

The White House has billed the federal Office of Family Assistance $210,000 to help pay for five trips in which President Bush promoted welfare reform at official events and made separate fundraising appearances for GOP candidates.

The White House and Department of Health and Human Services said the spending and the trips were appropriate promotions of administration initiatives. The Clinton administration employed similar billing practices, they said.

So Republicans now cite things Clinton did as appropriate behavior, eh?