Kerry's fantasy world
President Bush's campaign team yesterday called Sen. John Kerry's claims to have met the entire U.N. Security Council before voting to authorize the Iraq war the latest example of making false statements to embellish his foreign-policy record.
Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman likened Mr. Kerry's claim to have met with the Security Council to a similarly unsubstantiated assertion that he met with "foreign leaders" who endorsed him for president.
"First, John Kerry told us about secret meetings with unnamed foreign leaders to bolster his campaign," Mr. Mehlman said, responding to an article yesterday in The Washington Times. "Now, we learn he touted made-up meetings with the United Nations Security Council in the second debate to justify his vote for the war."
On the campaign trail in the Midwest yesterday, Vice President Dick Cheney, recounting the article, said Mr. Kerry "apparently talked to a few individuals up on the Security Council, but there was never a meeting with all of them."
"What I see is somebody who ... now is trying to put a new gloss on his record," Mr. Cheney told a rally in Wilmington, Ohio.
"It is troubling that John Kerry would fabricate meetings with United Nations Security Council members to score political points on an issue as important as sending our troops to war," Mr. Mehlman added.
Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart yesterday insisted that his boss met with representatives of the Security Council, although he stopped short of repeating Mr. Kerry's claim to have met with "all" members of the 15-nation council.
When describing the article to a crowd in Moorhead, Minn., Mr. Cheney said "So the problem here I think is ..."
"He's a liar," yelled out an audience member, interrupting the vice president.
Mr. Cheney chuckled and said, "Now the press is going to attribute that to me."
Mr. Mehlman suggested the article went to the heart of an issue that Mr. Kerry has made the centerpiece of the presidential campaign — his own veracity.
"John Kerry has spent much of his campaign attacking President Bush over diplomacy," he said. "Now we know that he has not been talking honestly about his encounters with United Nations Security Council members.
"He has shown once again that he will say or do anything to be elected, even mislead the American people on the foundation of his political attacks," he added.