Whopper of the Week: HHS spokesman Bill Pierce
"The president did not have a number in mind [italics Chatterbox's] when he made a decision. If there had been two [existing stem-cell lines], he would have made the same decision. If there were 128, it still would have been his decision."
--Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Pierce, quoted by T.R. Reid in the Aug. 30 Washington Post.
"His thinking crystallized on Aug. 2, aides said, when he talked to scientists at the National Institutes of Health and was told that there were perhaps more than 60 [italics Chatterbox's] genetically diversestemcell lines already in existence, far more than anyone had known. Mr.Bushsaid today that this was a pivotal moment in his thinking [italics Chatterbox's].
"One of the scientists 'told me that there were enough existingstem cell lines to do serious research to determine whether or not embryonicstem cellresearch could live up to its potential,' Mr. Bushsaid in an interview with ABC News. 'I thought that was a very important meeting [italics Chatterbox's].'
"... Mr.Bush began pressing his advisers for an actual number of stem cell lines available. A federal health institutes report in June said that perhaps 30 lines existed, but Mr.Bushpressed for more information. They came back and said that perhaps more than60 existed worldwide, with about 30 in theUnited States.
"Administration officials said Mr. Bushwas leaning toward the decision he made when he asked for thestemcell line inventory and that the number 60 sealed it for him [italics Chatterbox's]."
--"A Long Process That Led Bush to His Decision" byKatharine Q. Seelye and Frank Bruni in the Aug. 11 New York Times.
(To view Chatterbox's work-in-progress, Michelin-style guide to Bush's 64 stem-cell lines, click here.)
Got a whopper? Send it to email@example.com. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.
Aug. 23, 2001: Variety Editor Peter Bart
Aug. 17, 2001: Tom Daschle
Aug 10, 2001: Robert Mueller
Aug. 3, 2001: Barbara Olson
July 27, 2001: Jeffrey Archer
July 20, 2001: George W. Bush
July 13, 2001: George W. Bush
July 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone
June 29, 2001: David Brock
June 22, 2001: Edmund Morris
June 15, 2001: George W. Bush
June 8, 2001: Nepali Prince Regent (subsequently, King) Gyanendra
June 1, 2001: Mary McGrory
May 25, 2001: Ari Fleischer
May 18, 2001: York, Pa., Mayor Charles Robertson
May 11, 2001: Ted Olson
May 4, 2001: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley
April 27, 2001: Ben Affleck
April 20, 2001: South Carolina state legislator Chip Limehouse
April 13, 2001: Gray Davis
April 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone
March 30, 2001: Spencer Abraham
March 23, 2001: George W. Bush, Rep. Jennifer Dunn, and/or the Treasury Department
March 16, 2001: George W. Bush
March 9, 2001: Russ Freyman, spokesman, National Association of Manufacturers
March 2, 2001: Paul O'Neill
Feb. 23, 2001: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Feb. 16, 2001: Oscar spokesman John Pavlik
Feb. 9, 2001: Lynne Cheney
Feb. 2, 2001: Bobby Thomson
Jan. 26, 2001: Denise Rich