Break the Chain Bush-Bashing

Created 8/15/2004 (8/15/2004) The 2004 U.S. Presidential Election is shaping up to be hotly contested. Since January, 2004, we've been tracking a sizable collection of e-mail chain letters that attempt to sully the character of Democratic hopeful, John F. Kerry. Admittedly, chain letters that attack Kerry far outnumber those criticizing incumbent President George W. Bush (at least 3-to-1), but as the campaign heats up, more mud is being thrown in all directions.

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These political ponderings are often hard to validate, as they can be anonymously written and are most frequently based on more opinion than fact. Their authors find clever ways to present their views with as little validating evidence as possible. Remember, the Internet allows virtually anybody to commit their thoughts on a given candidate and forward them far and wide. With the candidates' "official" campaigns slinging a good bit of mud themselves, these anonymous sources should be even less trusted.

Here is a quick rundown of the more popular anti-Bush chains being circulated:

Bush's Favorite Bible Verse: John 16:3

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Bush & John 3:16

Interesting?

The Lord has a way of revealing those of us who really know him, and those that don't! Think about it!

Bush gave a big speech last week about how his faith is so "important" to him. In this attempt to convince the American people that we should consider him for president, he announced that his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3.

Of course the speech writer meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Bush camp was familiar enough with scripture to catch the error. And do you know what John 16:3 says?

John 16:3 says; "And they will do this because they have not known the Father nor Me".

The Holy Spirit works in strange ways. Pass it on

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

This gem is no stranger to political mudslinging. Back in 1999, during the very close campaigns of George W. Bush and then Vice President Al Gore, the inverted bible verse quote was attributed to Gore and was a favorite rumor among Bush supporters, including the venerable syndicated radio personality, Paul Harvey. In a beautiful case of Chain-letter karma, this missive has returned in 2004, this time fingering the incumbent President as the mis-speaker. This "President misquotes a bible verse" rumor seems to have originated in 1990 by conservative Christian columnist Cal Thomas, only he was referring to former President George H. W. Bush (Thomas' account, however, appears to be the only witness to the gaffe). Not surprisingly, another version of this one has surfaced, claiming John Kerry mis-quoted the verse citation.
References: About.com, Snopes.com, TruthOrFiction.com

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The George W. Bush Resume

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Subject: Fwd: Resume of George W Bush

Lest this resume be regarded as merely anti-Republican, it is only necessary to comment that this is the candidate the Democrats will probably find "unbeatable" in 2004.

GEORGE W. BUSH The White House, USA

RESUME

PAST WORK EXPERIENCE:

I ran for congress and lost.

I produced a Hollywood slasher B movie.

I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayers' money. My biggest move: Traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox.

With my father's help (and his name) was elected Governor of Texas.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR:

I changed pollution laws for power and oil companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the Union.

I replaced Los Angeles with Houston as the most smog ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas government to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I broke the record for the most executions by any Governor in American history.

After losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, I became president with the help of my father's appointments to the Supreme Court.

[Full Text Omitted]

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

It's interesting that the author of this missive chose a resume as the vehicle for his or her message - a document that is often read rather critically by those who receive them, because they can be misleading, exaggerated or downright false. The goal of a traditional resume is to present the facts as succinctly as possible to paint the most favorable picture of the candidate as possible and make the prospective employer want to know more. In the case of the Bush resume above, the authors intent is obviously to smear the President as succinctly as possible and make it difficult for the reader to verify the claims.

Cathy Holden, author of TruthMiners.org, an e-mail rumor debunking site with a Christian Ministry, has done a good bit of legwork tracking down the origins of the Bush resume chain letter and methodically debunks each of the claims made therein in her article.

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Bush Confuses "Fetus" With "Feces"

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

July 20 -- NEWSWEEK reports that George W. Bush, appearing before a right-to-life rally in Tampa, Florida, on June 17, stated: "We must always remember that all human beings begin life as a feces. A feces is a living being in the eyes of God, who has endowed that feces with all of the rights and God-given blessings of any other human being."

Bush repeated his error at least a dozen times, before realizing that he had used the word 'feces" when he meant to say "fetus."

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

At best, we can say that this tidbit was originally proffered as humor, though few got the joke. This rumor has been debunked by Snopes.com and About.com, who point out, among other things, that 1) Newsweek reported nothing even similar to this claim, and 2) Bush did not speak at a right-to-life rally in Tampa on June 17.

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What Do You Think?

Category: Political Ponderings
References: See above

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