Washington Times put new twist on distortion of Edwards's voting record

In a July 15 article appearing under the headline “Voting record belies Edwards' 'centrist' label,” Washington Times chief political correspondent, Donald Lambro, failed to mention that the National Journal rating of Senator John Edwards's (D-NC) voting record he cited was based on only a survey of Edwards's votes from 2003.

From the July 15 edition of The Washington Times:

The centrist-leaning Democratic Leadership Council hailed the Massachusetts liberal's choice as a victory for party moderation, but a closer examination of Mr. Edwards' voting record suggests that it is not much different from Mr. Kerry's -- the most liberal in the Senate.

The National Journal, which rates congressional votes on a liberal-to-conservative spectrum, said Mr. Kerry had the most liberal voting record in the Senate, scoring 95.5 out of 100 points. It also turns out, the political journal reports, that Mr. Edwards has a nearly identical voting score -- 94.5.

On July 8 and July 12, Media Matters for America noted that The Washington Times had distorted Senator Edwards's Senate voting record, calling him the “fourth most liberal senator.” This claim was attributed to a 2003 National Journal ranking, which The Washington Times failed to note was based on only 40 votes from one session of Congress. It is not representative of Edwards's voting record in the Senate over the past five years, during which he has cast more than 1,000 votes. Edwards's rating for 2002 was 63 percent, and his average liberal rating for the five years he has served in the Senate (1999-2003) is 75.7 percent.

As Media Matters for America has documented, a 2003 National Journal profile of Edwards described him as being in the “moderate-to-conservative range of Senate Democrats”; in 2002 he was included on National Journal's list of "Senate Centrists."