E. J. Dionne of the Washington Post writes
Twisting the Truth
There is one good thing about President Bush's new advertisement showing John Kerry windsurfing: Kerry does enjoy windsurfing.
That alone puts the ad on a higher plane of truthfulness than many of the statements the president regularly makes on the campaign trail. A press corps that relentlessly nitpicked Al Gore in 2000 in search of "little lies" and exaggerations has given Bush wide latitude to make things up. I guess the incumbent benefits from the soft bigotry of low expectations.
....Kerry gave a tough speech attacking Bush's policies there. Bush fired back, as he had every right to do, and denounced what Kerry said.
"Incredibly," Bush said of his opponent, "he now believes our national security would be stronger with Saddam Hussein in power, not in prison." Then Bush quoted Kerry. "Today he said, and I quote, 'We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.' He's saying he prefers the stability of a dictatorship to the hope and security of democracy."
Now, to have a Democratic nominee preferring dictatorship to democracy would be big news indeed. But here is a full rendition of the passage from Kerry's speech that Bush partially quoted: "Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, that was not in and of itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction that we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."
A very intelligent political reporter I know said the other night that Republicans simply run better campaigns than Democrats. If I were given a free pass to stretch the truth to the breaking point, I could run a pretty good campaign, too.