A debate has been raging on this blog (starting here) about whether Bush is a liar, with people on the left trying to come up with lies Bush has told, and people on the right shooting down each submission with ease.
The lefties are doing a pathetic job of coming up with Bush lies — but there is a real one out there. Let’s see you right-wingers shoot down this Bush lie:
[A]ny time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
I guess it depends on the meaning of “wiretap,” or “court,” or “order.” Or “anytime.”
The White House transcript says these remarks were made in April 2004.
Personally, I am having a hard time thinking of a plausible justification for what appears to be an evident lie by the President. What do you say, right-wing Patterico readers? Can you put any lipstick on this pig?
UPDATE: Several commenters have argued that Bush had to lie because the program was secret. I expected someone might make this argument. But it wasn’t like he was asked a question at a press conference and lied; he had no need to tell a lie about the program. He could have simply remained silent.
Bill Clinton could have argued that he lied about sex so that he could remain in power — for national security reasons, of course. I bet that he rationalized it in just this way.
In my opinion, this is a very poor excuse for lying to the American people, especially when the lie is volunteered in this fashion. It makes me wonder what else Bush is lying (or ridiculously uninformed) about.
UPDATE x2: Other commenters argue that the secret surveillance program did not involve wiretapping, contrary to press accounts that suggest that it did. I’m not expert in these matters, and it’s clear that many details of the program remain unclear. This, to me, is a possible defense, whereas the “Bush was lying to fool our enemies” defense doesn’t wash, in my opinion.