Did Cheney Meet Edwards Before Last Night?

In rebuttal to Dick Cheney’s claim last night,

Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.

The Official Kerry-Edwards Blog presents this photo:

Now, really, does anyone expect us to believe that Cheney noticed Edwards? I mean, there was breakfast involved.

Hat tips: Glenn Reynolds, Tom Bevan, and Blogspirator.

Update (1129): Some background from CBS News (caveat emptor):

In perhaps the most awkward blooper of the evening, Cheney told Edwards to his face that they had never met before the debate. Edwards’ campaign later provided a transcript of a February 2001 prayer breakfast at which Cheney began his remarks by acknowledging the North Carolina senator. The campaign said the two also met when Edwards accompanied the other North Carolina senator, Elizabeth Dole, to her swearing-in ceremony. Cheney and Edwards also shook hands when they met off-camera during an April 2001 taping of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” moderator Tim Russert said Wednesday on “Today.” Cheney was trying to make the point that Edwards was an absentee senator. “The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.”

One presumes Cheney’s NPB speech was written for him and it’s conceivable that he didn’t remember the other brief encounters. Really, though, that misses the point. The context of the remark was that Edwards is seldom seen on the Senate floor, an undeniable truth. None of these “meetings” changes that.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    …and this would presumably be the best visual evidence of a meeting they have. One where Cheney is nnot looking at, talking too, shaking hands with, or otherwise acknowledging Edwards. Look’s like it more proves Cheney’s point.

  2. ken says:

    Tim Russert is saying that Cheney flat out lied aobut this. Russert says that Cheney and Edwards met long ago backstage of his show and that they shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.

    There are others witnesses to Cheney and Edwards talking informally, even I suspect, at that prayer breakfast. The Democrats will be talking about this lie until election day.

    Why do you think Cheney told such an obvious lie? Does it help him?

  3. La Femme Crickita says:

    Oh pooh. As many functions as he has been to, you
    honestly think Cheny is going to remember the ENTIRE
    CROWD? Please. But, liberals will whine and wring
    their hands and scream “This man is a heartbeat away
    from the PRESIDENCY! O woe is me!” They need to get
    a LIFE!

  4. James Joyner says:

    Ken: Please read posts before commenting on them.

  5. It was a prayer breakfast, right? Would that not mean their eyes were closed – at least part of the time?

    I love this picture, because if this is all they have to offer Cheney’s claims that Edwards has not been present in the Senate, then show it everywhere. It may indicate that Cheney and Edwards may have brushed arms before but it does nothing to counter the argument that Edwards has been an “empty seat” in the Senate.

  6. Doug Neeb says:

    Cheney presided over the Senate a grand total of two times the past four years — just as many times as Edwards, who also did so twice.

    Let me know if you want the link to prove it.

  7. ken says:

    Here is what Cheney said:

    “Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session.”

    In fact, in his capacity as vice president Cheney has presided over the Senate’s Tuesday sessions only twice in the last four years. Exactly the same number of times Edwards has.

  8. Doug Neeb says:

    Strange how silent this thread has become now that Cheney has been showed as a double-liar. Once when he said he never met Edwards and then a second time when he tells us that he presides over the Tuesday Senete sessions.

  9. Attila Girl says:

    Cheney is a busy guy, and brief encounters with a young senator might not stick in his mind. But the possibility that Cheney played with the facts is disturbing, because I really don’t want us to become like the other side, with their “fake but accurate” reasoning and their “ends justify the means” rationalizations.

    I’m mostly willing to assume Cheney just didn’t recall, but I still wish he’d searched his memory before using this particular rhetorical flourish.

  10. Attila Girl says:

    By the way, what’s this business about “let me know if you want the link to prove it” business? Give us the link, or don’t give us the link. But if you don’t, a lot of people are going to presume you’re making it up.

  11. carpeicthus says:
  12. Anjin-San says:

    Cheney lied about having never met Edwards, he also lied about the number of times he presided over the senate. Exactly why are people supportive of a vice-president who thinks nothing of telling bald-faced lies to the American people on national television?

  13. Attila Girl says:

    Perhaps these sorts of lies are considered less grave than lies about being over the Cambodian border during the Vietnam war, or lies about having watched soldiers, sailors and Marines committing atrocities against the Vietnamese people. (That statement was made in front of the U.S. Congress, no less.)

  14. bryan says:

    Or perhaps “being in the senate on most tuesdays” is not the same as “acting as presiding officer.” In other words, he can *be* there on Tuesdays without *presiding* on tuesdays.

    A better way to prove/disprove the “lie” would be to examine Cheney’s official schedules from every tuesday of the last few years. But that would take work.

  15. Attila Girl says:

    I also didn’t see any sourcing on the “presiding” list. It appeared that I was supposed to take a left-wing blogger’s word for it.

  16. Anjin-San says:

    Atilla… when Kerry testified before Congress about Vietnam, it is VERY clear that the stories about war crimes he was relating were things he had heard from third parties, not things he was claiming to have witnessed himself. Are you confused about this, or are you deliberatly distorting the record? BTW do you really think war crimes were NOT comitted by our forces in Nam?? I refer you to the recent atrocities in Iraq under Bush if you think our forces are somehow above the insanity of war.

  17. KLRMNKY says:

    Ah Anjin-San, did you forget about Kerry also stating that HE performed these war crimes as well?

    From the Dick Cavett Show:

    “However, I did take part in free fire zones and I did take part in harassment interdiction fire. I did take part in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground. And all of these, I find out later on, these acts are contrary to the Hague and Geneva Conventions and to the laws of warfare. So in that sense, anybody who took part in those, if you carry out the applications of the Nuremberg principles, is in fact guilty.”

    So Kerry is guilty of committing war crimes while in Vietnam.

    And if he had heard about these horrible things being performed by his fellow soldiers why didn’t he report it? As an officer in the US Military he has a absolute right and obligation to report any wrong-doing by anyone wearing the uniform of the US military.

    So what a few soldiers did in a Iraqi prison is considered a atrocitie? Then what do you consider what the terrorists beheading innocent people are doing?