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Jewish World Review Oct. 19, 2000 / 20 Tishrei, 5761

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart
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Consumer Reports

Gore is a liar --- period -- AL GORE is a pathological liar.

But what struck me most in the fevered news reports and discussions surrounding his lies was that the press used and still uses euphemisms for the vice president's lying, phrases such as "habitual exaggerations" or "truth-stretching." This supposedly describes everything from his claims that he helped create the strategic petroleum reserve to his non-existent outing with James Lee Witt to inspect Texas wildfires to dozens of others fabrications.

Such a characterization allows Gore's lies to be put in the category of the "tall-tales" that "all politicians tell." It's true that in the last few days, with the election at stake, Gore seems to be making a Herculean effort to keep the lying under control. But the fact remains that this is not about "tall tales." It's about the risk of electing to the presidency a man who has shown himself to lie pathologically.

Gore "lost his memory" some 85 times - 85 times - when he was questioned by the FBI about his role in various fundraising scandals, including "Chinagate," an illegal scheme that raised millions of dollars in campaign-cash from communist Chinese for the Clinton-Gore reelection effort in 1996.

Gore claimed that at one pivotal meeting at the White House where illegal fundraising was discussed, he must have missed the illegal parts because he was frequently in the bathroom thanks to drinking too much iced tea. But senior White House officials say the meetings were stopped whenever the president or vice president left, and one of these officials remembers Gore "attentively listening."

When it came to an illegal 1996 fundraiser at a Buddhist temple in California at which campaign contributions - allegedly including foreign and possibly Chinese money - were illegally funneled through impoverished Buddhist nuns and priests, Gore said he "didn't know" it was a fundraiser. But countless White House memos, officials, and his own e-mail said otherwise - before the event.

The fundraiser was coordinated by long-time Gore friend Maria Hsia who was later convicted for her role in the scheme. A 1998 report by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs stated: "The Committee has learned that Hsia has been an agent of the Chinese government, that she has acted knowingly in support of it, and that she has attempted to conceal her relationship with the Chinese government." (Hsia denies the allegation.)

Gore's statements regarding his fundraising caused the FBI to conclude he may have committed perjury. But when the head of the FBI recommended an Independent Counsel be appointed to investigate the Vice President, Clinton operative and Attorney General Janet Reno said "no way." (Ultimately she said "no" to three such requests - including two others from subsequent heads of her own campaign finance task force.)

Anyway as illegal money was pouring in from communist Chinese in 1996, the Clinton-Gore team arranged for a sale of sensitive nuclear missile technology from a top Democratic contributor, the head of Loral Space and Communications. This was technology which the State Department and Pentagon wanted denied to the Chinese, and that's why the approval process for the technology transfer was suddenly switched to the Commerce Department where Clinton friend and then Commerce Secretary Ron Brown could o.k. the sale.

Today, as a result of that action, Communist China's nuclear missiles can now for the first time be accurately launched against most U.S. cities.

Perhaps there was no "quid pro quo" of illegal campaign cash for nuclear technology. But that's something an independent counsel could have ferreted out better than any Senate committee.

Such corrupt Gore practices should be recalled whenever Gore's lies are confused with "tall tales." Gore lies whether he does or doesn't "have" too. He lies even when the truth would suffice, and when his lie can be easily discovered. He lies habitually. He lies pathologically. And it can be dangerous.

In his book about the environment, "Earth in the Balance," Al Gore compares modern civilization to a dysfunctional family. Gore, who by all accounts comes from a family in which he constantly felt he had to prove himself, may have given us a little too much personal information when he wrote that "children in dysfunctional families who feel shame often construct a false self through which they relate to others. This false self can be quite elaborate as the children constantly refine the impression it makes on others by carefully gauging their reactions, to make the inauthentic appear authentic."

It's pretty clear that's Al Gore on Al Gore - and that for once, he got it right.

JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.


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