WASHINGTON — ONE of House Speaker Tom Foley's complaints about the Republican convention speeches last week concerns what he calls "falsehoods" creeping into campaign rhetoric.
These include the general Republican charges that the Democratic-controlled Congress hikes spending on the President.
"It's the biggest lie anybody tells when Republicans go around talking about a spendthrift Congress," said the Democratic representative from Washington State at a Monitor breakfast Aug. 25. He called it "an example of political prevarication at a very high level."
In fact, says Foley, Congress's total appropriations have come in $12 billion below the spending President Bush requested in his budget for next year.
Republican speakers painted another false picture, according to Foley, in describing how the Democratic leaders of Congress were hidden from view at the Democratic convention in New York. Republicans portrayed the Clinton campaign as seeking to distance its candidate from the Democrats in the ever-unpopular Congress.
"I was on the platform every night in the front row," says Foley, noting that he also addressed the convention during prime time. "It's total nonsense to say that we were hidden."
On matters of substance, he adds, Governor Clinton and the Democratic leadership are very close on nearly every issue except the line-item veto.
Like President Bush, Mr. Clinton would like the president to have the kind of veto over single budget items that many governors hold. Foley and most members of Congress oppose it.
Another Republican falsehood, alleges Foley, is the president's repeated claim, made again in his acceptance speech, that as governor of Arkansas, Clinton raised taxes 128 times. (Bush says he has only raised taxes once.)
But as journalists have widely noted, the Bush tax count on Clinton is inflated by counting some things twice and adding dubious entries. Using similar accounting standards, Bush's own tax hike record would add up to several dozen.
Foley says he believes Clinton will win in a close election.