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Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Kessler's Nose Is Growing
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler begins his Sept. 26 NewsMax column by claiming, "As Hillary Clinton rises in the polls, her nose grows longer and longer." But it's Kessler who has the proboscis problems.

Kessler started by asserting:

To be sure, she has never had any shame about making stories up out of thin air. After 9/11, Clinton appeared on national TV and claimed that when the two airplanes hit the World Trade Center, her daughter Chelsea was going to jog at Battery Park near the towers, where she heard and saw the catastrophe unfold.

Clinton’s arrogance was so profound that she did not coordinate the story with Chelsea, who wrote an article for Talk in which she described what she had been doing that day. According to Chelsea, she was on the other side of town in a friend’s apartment on Park Avenue South. She watched the events unfold on TV.

Kessler gets the story slightly closer to the truth this time by using something approximating Hillary's actual words from a September 2001 appearance on NBC's "Today": Hillary did indeed say that Chelsea "was going to go down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers." The last time Kessler made this claim, he falsely asserted that Hillary said that "Chelsea was actually at the World Trade Center when the bombs -- when the planes hit. She's going to Starbucks. She was jogging around. She heard the crash. She saw the smoke. Oh my God, isn't that scary."

Though he had to change Hillary's words to reflect the truth, Kessler's insistence that what Hillary said contradicts Chelsea still doesn't hold water. He offers no evidence that Chelsea wasn't planning to "jog at Battery Park near the towers."

Kessler also misleadingly describes Chelsea's location. The Talk article stated that Chelsea was in an apartment at Union Square, not "Park Avenue South," the southern terminus of which is at Union Square. (Perhaps Kessler was trying to paint Chelsea as a snobby elitist by linking her with snobby Park Avenue.) And Union Square, also known as the Flatiron district, is not on "the other side of town"; it's about two miles away from the World Trade Center site.

Kessler then stated:

Nor does Clinton’s hypocrisy have any limits. When asked about the recent ad suggesting that Gen. David Petraeus has betrayed the country, Clinton on "Meet the Press" on Sept. 23 called for an end to such attacks. “I don’t condone anything like that, and I have voted against those who would impugn the patriotism and the service of the people who wear the uniform of our country,” she said.

Yet three days earlier, Clinton had voted against a Senate resolution to condemn the ad. Her closest competitor, Sen. Barack Obama, voted earlier that day but conveniently missed the vote condemning the ad.

But Kessler omits that, as we've noted, Clinton voted for a similar resolution that criticized not only the MoveOn ad but Republican attacks against Democratic members of the military.

Kessler also wrote:

On Sept. 23, on "Fox News Sunday," Clinton said that she has “fought hard” for body armor . . .” She added, “I’ve stood with my colleagues to fight hard for armored vehicles because we knew that they needed additional protection in Iraq and they weren’t getting it.”

Yet last May, Clinton voted against the emergency supplemental bill to provide $1.6 billion for body armor, including advanced combat helmets; $2.4 billion to help protect against improvised explosive devices; and $3 billion for mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicles.

This is cribbed straight from Republican talking points. In fact, Clinton wasn't voting against body armor and combat helmets as Kessler suggests; Clinton said she voted against the bill because it didn't include a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Kessler also doesn't mention that Clinton voted for a previous version of the bill.

Kessler goes on to rewrite other sections of the same Republican National Committee press release from which he lifted the claim about Clinton voting against body armor. Is mindlessly repeating GOP talking points the best Kessler can do?

Well, as history shows, it appears so.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:40 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 5:41 PM EDT

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