THE LIES BIDEN TOLD The New York Post,, October 4, 2008 For all the focus on Sarah Palin's graceful performance in Thursday's vice presidential showdown, a more significant spectacle was taking place behind the other rostrum. That's where Joe Biden, speaking with the pompus self-importance befitting his 36 years in the Senate, told one baffling fib after another. Some, of course, were just Biden being Biden. He smeared Dick Cheney as "the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history." To which we must take specific offense: After all, the founder of this newspaper, Alexander Hamilton, was killed in a duel by then-Vice President Aaron Burr. (Certainly Burr was a better shot than Cheney.) But that's a matter of opinion. Not so, some other Biden gems: * It's "simply not true" that Barack Obama said he'd meet Iran's president without preconditions, Biden insisted. Yet when Obama was asked if he would in a debate during the primaries, he said yes - a position Biden back then termed "naive." * Biden said he's "always supported" clean-coal technology - after stating emphatically only last month, "We're not supporting clean coal." * Biden asserted - repeatedly - that the US spends more money on three weeks' combat in Iraq than it's spent in Afghanistan since the war began. That claim's only remotely intelligible if he limits Afghan expenditures merely to US rebuilding efforts - and even then, he's off by a factor of three, according to State Department numbers. * Also on Afghanistan, Biden insisted - repeatedly - that "our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle in Iraq will not work" there. That may not be an out-and-out lie, but it took supposed foreign-policy neophyte Sarah Palin to bring any context or nuance to the statement. What Gen. David McKiernan had said was that tribal realities in Afghanistan are very different than in Iraq - requiring a different form of cooperation. But he flatly said more troops, and more local engagement, are needed. Sounds like a surge to us. * Then there was what might have been the biggest head-scratcher of the night. Said Biden of the Bush administration's supposed Middle East follies: "When . . . along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, 'Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don't, Hezbollah will control it." Huh? Assuming that Biden was referring to when, in 2005, American and French pressure helped the Lebanese people kick Syrian troops out of Lebanon, who ever thought NATO occupation of that deeply divided country was a good idea? As if America's NATO allies would have gone in the first place. But hey, as long as it makes Biden sound presidential. At some point, Americans have to wonder: Is this a fellow who should be a heartbeat away from the White House?