The Vice Presidential Debate of 2004 played out on October 5... providing viewers the opportunity to hear an actual debate.
For the first time since he took office... Dick Cheney was put on the spot to publicly... and spontaneously... explain the huge discrepency between his description of what's happening... and reality.
John Edwards... being a top-of-the-line trial lawyer... is highly skilled in paying attention to every word said... and agile in forming a meaningful and sensible response.
In preparing for this debate... Dick Cheney had to know that John Edwards would take the first available opportunity to bring the Halliburton issue to the table... and if no such opportunity surfaced... Dick Cheney knew that John Edwards was capable of engineering his own opening. Knowing that he was about to go up against a formidable opponent... there is no question that Cheney rehearsed his response to the Halliburton issue.
As the debate proceeded... through his body language and facial expressions... Dick Cheney showed every careful observer that he now knew he had underestimated John Edwards argumentative skills.
To this writer... it was clear that John Edward's calm demeanor and clear hesitation-free delivery rattled Dick Cheney who quickly realized he was not going to be able to bully his opponent through his usual unemotional authoritarian posturing. Cheney wanted to murder Edwards on the spot.
When the inevitable happened... the arrogant Dick Cheney proceeded to execute what he believed to be a double edged sword. Rather than directly addressing John Edward's query... he dropped a few terse comments... accused John Edwards of using Halliburton as a smokescreen... and then mimicked the strategy used by John Kerry in the first Presidential debate.
In particular, during the last few seconds of his allotted time he blurted out something about the entire truth about his innocent relationship with Halliburtin being posted on the independent and non-partisan website "www.FactCheck.com" (sic) run by the Annenberg Centre of the University of Pennsylvania. Gotcha punk!
Actually... the Annenberg Centre's site is www.FactCheck.org. The fact that Dick Cheney's tongue has never before slipped... supports my observation that David rattled Goliath.
Truth-seekers went to FactCheck.com on Dick Cheney's recommendation. Upon their arrival... this is what they saw:
The BBC reported that 44 million people watched the debate and thousands took Dick Cheney's suggestion. At the busiest times... FactCheck.com was getting more than 100 hits per second. The owners of FactCheck.com... to preserve their bandwidth allowance... and use the opportunity to make a political statement... re-directed to www.GeorgeSoros.com. Shortly after the re-direction began... the GeorgeSoros site posted a disclaimer.
According to Reuters, the editors at FactCheck.org posted a notice the next day (October 6) pointing out that besides Cheney giving out the wrong URL... he had also mislead the viewers about the pertinent content on their site...
"Cheney ... wrongly implied that we had rebutted allegations Edwards was making about what Cheney had done as chief executive officer of Halliburton," the site said on Wednesday.
"In fact we did post an article pointing out that Cheney hasn't profited personally while in office from Halliburton's Iraq contracts, as falsely implied by a Kerry TV ad. But Edwards was talking about Cheney's responsibility for earlier Halliburton troubles. And in fact, Edwards was mostly right."
The notice (disclaimer) posted by the editors at Factcheck.org read...
By the time the disclaimer was posted... way too many Bush supporters had already been exposed to the message...
We do not own the FactCheck.com domain name and are not responsible for its redirecting to GeorgeSoros.com. We are as surprised as anyone by this turn of events. We believe that Vice President Cheney intended to direct viewers of the Vice-Presidential Debate to FactCheck.org
President Bush is endangering our safety, hurting our vital interests, and undermining American values.
... having gone to FastCheck.com at Dick Cheney's own suggestion. Think thought-plant.