Let’s Call a Lie a Lie ... Finally

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As the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, John Kerry sometimes used 50 words to make a point when 25 would do. And he had a knack for foot-in-mouth verbiage, most famously when he declared, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” But there was one word he was very careful not to utter.

During the first presidential debate, when the moderator, Jim Lehrer, noted that Mr. Kerry had repeatedly accused President Bush “essentially of lying” about his Iraq war strategy, Mr. Kerry instantly demurred.

“I’ve never, ever used the harshest word as you did just then, and I try not to,” he said, before going on to argue that Mr. Bush “had not been candid” and had “misled” voters, and to assert that “it is important to tell the truth to the American people.”

Ah, euphemisms: So 2004. So quaint.

Once considered politically out of bounds, the word “lie” — stated bluntly and unapologetically — has had its unveiling in the 2008 campaign. Rarely does a day go by when aides to the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, do not accuse the Republican ticket — John McCain, Sarah Palin, or both — of lies and lying.

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