On the whole, analysts say Bush's use of distortion has been more audacious than Kerry's. But the Massachusetts senator has left much of the dirty work to outside advocacy groups whom Jamieson blames for one of the most serious attacks of the campaign.
"You've got to come back to the 527 ads that accused the president of lying to take us into war. It's probably the most serious charge you can make," she said, referring to the so-called "527" groups that work independently from the candidates.
"But I don't think you can warrant that inference from the available evidence," she said. "So I think that is a deceptive claim."
Now, if she'd said that you can't warrant that conclusion - using "conclusion" in a syllogistically strict logical sense - perhaps I'd very grudgingly concede the point. But the inference that Bush knowingly misled us is perfectly warranted, not only by the evidence relating to the war itself, but by a larger and perfectly consistent pattern of conscious deception that Jamieson and Factcheck.org have acknowledged elsewhere.
Oddly enough, Factcheck.org scarcely devotes any space to the administration's pronouncements on the Iraq War. But to the extent that it does, it leaves plenty of room for the inference that Bush lied us into Iraq. One article, entitled Even the 9-11 comissioners don't agree about whether their staff contradicted the Bush administration, specifically notes instances where Cheney or Bush linked Saddam Hussein with the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, a relationship that has since been thoroughly debunked (without any acknowledgement from Factcheck.org).
All in all, Factcheck.org addresses Bush's justifications for war head-on in only three articles, all of which are extremely cautious and tepid in their criticism. But perhaps most tellingly, the 527 ads which Jamieson considers "deceptive" (but does not mention by name) are not debunked anywhere on Factcheck.org. In other words, the site can't be bothered to address any of the ads that level what Jamieson correctly calls "the most serious charge you can make."