Cheney's bad memory

Published October 6, 2004 3:19AM (EDT)

There will be quite a bit of fact-checking of tonight's debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards -- but the vice president probably didn't expect the corrections to begin with a conversation with Elizabeth Edwards on the stage in Cleveland directly after the debate.

During the debate, Cheney, trying to make the point that Edwards missed votes and was hardly ever in Washington, said: "You've got one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate. Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of the Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session." And he ended with this zinger: "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."

Some pundits were very impressed, apparently, with this line from Cheney. Andrea Mitchell went on "Hardball" and said she thought Cheney did "awfully well at, first of all, putting John Edwards in his place, saying that I have been presiding over the Senate and I didn't meet you until tonight. Talking about his not having been on the job was pretty devastating." Except, it's not true.

He has, in fact, met Edwards, and Elizabeth Edwards corrected Cheney right after the debate, according to Kerry advisor David Ginsberg. The two men first met at a National Prayer Breakfast, the Kerry-Edwards campaign said -- here's the transcript -- and then later in the Senate when Edwards escorted fellow North Carolinian Elizabeth Dole to her swearing-in. (Update: The Kerry campaign now has a photographic evidence!)

By Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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