Two days after the October 5 vice presidential debate, nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas continued to promote Vice President Dick Cheney's false claim that he had not met Senator John Edwards before the debate -- despite the fact that evidence emerged on the night of the debate that proved Cheney's assertion false.
In his October 7 column, Thomas wrote:
And then there was this devastating line from the Vice President: “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. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.” (Cheney referred to having never met Edwards on Capitol Hill.)
Thomas claimed that Cheney “referred to having never met Edwards on Capitol Hill” -- but that's not what Cheney said. And even if Cheney had said that he had never met Edwards on Capitol Hill, he would still have been wrong. As Media Matters for America and many news organizations have noted, in addition to Cheney and Edwards having met on February 1, 2001, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast and at the April 8, 2001, taping of NBC's Meet the Press, they also met at Senator Elizabeth Dole's (R-NC) January 8, 2003, swearing-in. Further, Washington Post columnist Al Kamen noted on October 8 that Cheney, in his constitutional role as Senate tie-breaker, has cast six votes -- and Edwards was present for each.
In addition, Cheney's claim that he is “up in the Senate most Tuesdays” is “only half right,” according to CNN congressional correspondent Ed Henry. On the October 6 edition of CNN's Paula Zahn Now, Henry responded to the vice president's claim:
[T]he vice president was only half right at best about his own attendance record. He's right that on most Tuesdays the vice president is in the Capitol, but he is not there as he suggested to preside over the Senate. Instead, he's at a Republican-senators-only luncheon, where they plot political strategy. He does not mostly preside over the chamber. Instead, he just has lunch with his Republican friends.