Cheney Bares His Teeth

Dick Cheney gestures during a speech at the Fort Smith airport in Fort Smith, Ark., on Friday, Oct. 6, 2000. Cheney made a brief campaign visit to Fort Smith, which came the day after his debate between Democratic candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman
Dick Cheney joked with Joe Lieberman after their debate about all the time they wasted practicing attacks they never used. Turns out the practice wasn't for nothing.

Thursday's vice presidential candidate debate was polite by most standards, but there's no such reticence in the would-be vice president's post-debate campaign rhetoric.

Cheney on Friday blasted Democratic Party standard-bearer Al Gore with a ferocity largely absent during his face-off with Lieberman.

"He seems to have a compulsion to embellish," said Cheney, who criticized Gore for, as he sees it, not being honest about a host of issues, from running down the military to the cost of prescription drugs.

CBS News Correspondent Bob Fuss reports that Al Gore has strongly denied that he exaggerates or stretches the truth.

The vice president cited that Bush makes blunders as well, such as saying he's being outspent when in fact he has spent twice as much as Gore. However, Gore says he will not return the personal attacks and claims the GOP has seized on his gaffes because they are losing ground on the issues.

"Well, I think it';s obvious what's going on with it. It's an ad hominem personal attack because ... they're abandoning the issues," Gore told reporters.

Cheney's turned up the heat in his campaign trail criticism of Gore to the point where, in one road of briefings with reporters, he overrode what were plans to promote new policy initiatives introduced by George W. Bush.

Campaign aides had said that Cheney would focus on an anti-drug message Friday to coincide with Bush's announcement of a $2.77 billion drug awareness program.

Cheney never mentioned the program. Instead, he traveled through Louisiana and Arkansas with former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming criticizing Gore on several fronts.

Simpson revived an issue that came up during the 1992 presidential election, lambasting Gore for talking up his decision in 1991 to cross party lines as a senator and vote in favor of sending troops to the Gulf War.

Simpson said Gore actually threatened to vote against the measure unless Senate leaders allowed him a 20 minute speech on the floor during prime time hours. Gore stood ready "to support the side that gave him the most time at prime time," Simpson said.

Gore, said Cheney, "has an uncontrollable desire to add to his reputation and his record things that are not true."

The vice president has "misrepresented the facts" on everything from how much his mother-in-law paid for medicine to how much he had to do with campaign finance legislation, Cheney said.

Asked why he didn't make such charges more aggressively during Thursday night's debate, with millions of viewers watching, Cheney said, "I was answering Bernie Shaw's questions. I liked the debate last night. I thought it went fine."

He added to the reporters: "What would I talk to you guys about if I used all my material last night?"/b>

Cheney said he and Lieberman joked after the debate that they had wasted a lot of debate preparation time practicing "more aggressive options" they never used.

"I think both of us preferred to do it the way we did it last night," said Cheney. "I feel good about it and I think Joe Lieberman does, too."

The GOP vice presidential candidate and former Defense Secretary, was expected to wind up the weekend with a post-debate campaign swing in Iowa, visiting veterans and dropping in on a college football tailgate party.