NY Times falsely reported Lieberman never "utter[ed] the words 'stay the course' "


In an October 24 New York Times article, reporters Jennifer Medina and Anne E. Kornblut wrote of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's (CT) stated positions on the Iraq war: "Never, in the statements reviewed, did Mr. Lieberman utter the words 'stay the course.' " In fact, Lieberman has uttered those exact words about Iraq several times.

At a January 4, 2004, Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Lieberman said:

LIEBERMAN: First, let me say that the capture of -- overthrow and then capture of Saddam Hussein has made America safer and made the world safer. It has not ended all of our problems or all the threats to our security, but a president has to deal with more than one threat at a time.

The Middle East is directly related, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict directly related. We have to stay the course in Iraq now and continue to build a stable, modernizing, democratizing country there.

If we do that, we will not only have won a victory in the war on terrorism because we will have shown the Arab world what happens as a result of American intervention, that you live better, freer lives, but we will have sent the message to all the other terrorists and tin horn dictators there, like Gadhafi and even like the Iranians, who are beginning to cooperate, that we mean business.

Appearing on the January 11, 2004, broadcast of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Lieberman said:

LIEBERMAN: I worry more about the Bush administration's one-sided foreign policy that forced us to go to war against Saddam almost alone and their total lack of preparations for what to do after we overthrew Saddam, which is part of the reason that we've had such chaos for the last several months there.

We can do better. I will do better. I will make it international. I will stay the course, and I'll create a stable, democratizing, modernizing Iraq, which would be a tremendous step forward in the Middle East and the Islamic world and in our war against terrorism.

The Hartford Courant reported on April 15, 2004:

"I thought the president gave the strongest case that I can remember him giving about why we went in and why we have to stay the course," Lieberman said, adding, "We've got to adopt a strategy of success. A defeat will create chaos in Iraq, chaos in the Middle East, and will embolden the terrorists in a way that will endanger our future and our children's future."

The April 26, 2004, edition of National Journal's The Hotline noted that Lieberman said "stay the course" in Iraq on that day's edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

LIEBERMAN: This morning, I'm making a speech here in Washington at which I'm saying: At a time like this, in a lot of other countries, they would form a unity government. That's not our tradition or our practice, but we've got to find a way not to stifle debate, but to stop the partisan politics around the war and get together because today, almost everybody -- President Bush, Senator [John] Kerry [D-MA], the rest of us -- have the same goal in Iraq. We want to not only stay the course; we want to achieve victory.

On the July 28, 2004, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Lieberman said:

ALAN COLMES (co-host): So, how can John Kerry do any better?

LIEBERMAN: Well, let's put it this way. What I'm most happy about is that he said that he will stay the course in Iraq until we finish the job, and the Iraqis are in control of their own destiny.

On the November 29, 2005, edition of CNN's American Morning, Lieberman said:

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN (co-host): So when you hear the president say, "stay the course, stay the course," which he has said a lot over the last several years, do you agree or disagree?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I agree to the extent that we have to stay the course of the policy we chose in overthrowing Saddam and helping the Iraqi people become free, which will really make us a lot more secure and set the terrorists back. But not to stay the same policy that we followed after Saddam was overthrown, because it didn't work.

We've changed it. We're now embedding American forces and Iraqi forces. We're creating provincial reconstruction teams in every province in Iraq, and it's beginning to work. And it's why the Iraqi people, ironically, by polling I saw while I was there, are quite optimistic about their future even as the American people, unfortunately, become more pessimistic about how we're doing in Iraq.

The authors of the Times article claimed to have conducted "[a] close examination of hundreds of Mr. Lieberman's statements on Iraq over the past five years." All the examples above were found using a simple Nexis search for "Lieberman and 'stay the course.' "

Notably, their colleague at the Times, Adam Nagourney, recently described Lieberman as someone who says "stay the course." From the August 9 broadcast of the Public Broadcasting Service's The Charlie Rose Show:

NAGOURNEY: No, I don't think the Democratic Party is deeply divided, no, no. I think it's not as divided as it has been. You have a general consensus that we need to figure out a way to end this war and get out of it. You don't have -- I don't think you have anyone, except for Lieberman, who says, "rah-rah-rah, stay the course."

From the October 24 Times article:

While the sample could not be completely comprehensive, it was exhaustive, covering more than 100 television and radio interviews; scores of newspaper and op-ed articles; speeches and debates from the Senate floor, the current campaign and Mr. Lieberman's presidential bid; and news releases.

Never, in the statements reviewed, did Mr. Lieberman utter the words "stay the course." He has his own catch phrases, however, describing Iraq as a "just war" or "just cause" more than a dozen times; often saying Mr. Hussein is "not just a thorn in our side" but "a threat to our lives;" and repeatedly calling for a Marshall Plan for the Muslim world.

Posted In
Elections, National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
The New York Times
Anne Kornblut
Propaganda/Noise Machine, 2006 Elections
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