The Myth of Max Cleland, Redux

Todaymarks the highly anticipated Democratic primary in Connecticut between sitting Sen. Joe Lieberman, reviled by the left, against anti-war millionaire Ned Lamont.

Monday's front-page story Patrick Healy and Jennifer Medina, "Views on Iraq Are Explained By Lieberman," shows Lieberman trying to distance himself from Bush while justifying his vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, and airs a discredited liberal myth that has long been a favorite in the Times - the myth of Max Cleland.

"Mr. Lieberman accused Mr. Lamont's campaign of using 'lies' and 'bogus charges' to try to defeat him. He made his remarks alongside Max Cleland, the former Democratic senator of Georgia, who was defeated for re-election in 2002 after Republicans paired him in ads with Osama bin Laden because he had opposed some domestic security....The defeat of Mr. Cleland, a Vietnam veteran and triple amputee, became a sore point for Democrats and a rallying cry for John Kerry in his presidential race in 2004."

Has anyone at the Times actually watched the 2002 campaign ad by Republican Senate candidate (now senator) Saxby Chambliss? If you're more curious than the average Times reporter, you can watch it here.

As you can see, over a montage of four photographs, one each of bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, two others of the U.S. military, a narrator reads: "As America faces terrorists and extremist dictators, Max Cleland runs television ads claiming he has the courage to lead." That's hardly "linking him to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden."