This campaign is going to be nasty, bloody, filled with lies, and very entertaining.
Now, remember Bush’s claim that Kerry wanted to gut the intelligence agencies through immense budget cuts? Well, the Washington Post sets the story straight on that one:
President Bush, in his first major assault on Sen. John F. Kerry’s legislative record, said this week that his Democratic opponent proposed a $1.5 billion cut in the intelligence budget, a proposal that would “gut the intelligence services,” and one that had no co-sponsors because it was “deeply irresponsible.”
In terms of accuracy, the parry by the president is about half right. Bush is correct that Kerry on Sept. 29, 1995, proposed a five-year, $1.5 billion cut to the intelligence budget. But Bush appears to be wrong when he said the proposed Kerry cut — about 1 percent of the overall intelligence budget for those years — would have “gutted” intelligence. In fact, the Republican-led Congress that year approved legislation that resulted in $3.8 billion being cut over five years from the budget of the National Reconnaissance Office — the same program Kerry said he was targeting.
The $1.5 billion cut Kerry proposed represented about the same amount Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), then chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Senate that same day he wanted cut from the intelligence spending bill based on unspent, secret funds that had been accumulated by one intelligence agency “without informing the Pentagon, CIA or Congress.” The NRO, which designs, builds and operates spy satellites, had accumulated that amount of excess funds.
Bush’s charge that Kerry’s broader defense spending reduction bill had no co-sponsors is true, but not because it was seen as irresponsible, as the president suggested. Although Kerry’s measure was never taken up, Specter’s plan to reduce the NRO’s funds, which Kerry co-sponsored with Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), did become law as part of a House-Senate package endorsed by the GOP leadership.
I wonder if someone, on some blog, is keeping a comprehensive list of all the lies and misrepresentations (from both sides) that are used in this campaign?