CLEVELAND – Vice President Dick Cheney (search) said Tuesday night that the debate with Democratic Sen. John Edwards (search) marked the first time they had met. In fact, the two had met at least three times previously.
Cheney made the remark while accusing Edwards of frequent absences from Senate votes.
"Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight," Cheney told Edwards during the debate.
On Feb. 1, 2001, the vice president thanked Edwards by name at a Senate prayer breakfast and sat beside him during the event.
On April 8, 2001, Cheney and Edwards shook hands when they met off-camera during a taping of NBC's "Meet the Press," moderator Tim Russert said Wednesday on "Today."
On Jan. 8, 2003, the two met when the first-term North Carolina senator accompanied Elizabeth Dole to her swearing-in by Cheney as a North Carolina senator, Edwards aides also said.
Edwards didn't forget their prayer-breakfast meeting. The Democratic vice presidential candidate noted the discrepancy at a post-debate rally in a Cleveland park, calling it an example of Cheney "still not being straight with the American people."
"The vice president said that the first time I met Senator Edwards was tonight when we walked on the stage. I guess he forgot the time we sat next to each other for a couple hours about three years ago. I guess he forgot the time we met at the swearing in of another senator. So, my wife Elizabeth reminded him on the stage," Edwards said as the crowd roared.
According to Edwards' staff, Cheney replied, "Oh, yeah."
"She reminded him about the truth," Edwards told the crowd, "and come November, we're going to remind him that the American people do not want four more years of George W. Bush."