By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2004, 11:15pm PT  

Classic Bush/Cheney-esque sleight of hand in this exchange from tonight's debate...Note Edwards talks about coalition casualties in his statement. By the time it's done, Cheney has pulled the old switcheroo. The same way everything else from these guys has worked...Read, and see if you can spot the rabbit as he sneaks it into the hat...

EDWARDS: ...90 percent of the coalition casualties, Mr. Vice President, the coalition casualties, are American casualties. Ninety percent of the cost of this effort are being borne by American taxpayers. It is the direct result of the failures of this administration.

IFILL: Mr. Vice President?

CHENEY: Classic example. He won't count the sacrifice and the contribution of Iraqi allies. It's their country. They're in the fight. They're increasingly the ones out there putting their necks on the line to take back their country from the terrorists and the old regime elements that are still left. They're doing a superb job. And for you to demean their sacrifices strikes me as...

EDWARDS: Oh, I'm not...

CHENEY: ... as beyond the pale...

EDWARDS: I'm not demeaning...

CHENEY: It is indeed. You suggested...

EDWARDS: No, sir, I did not...

CHENEY: ... somehow they shouldn't count, because you want to be able to say that the Americans are taking 90 percent of the sacrifice. You cannot succeed in this effort if you're not willing to recognize the enormous contribution the Iraqis are increasingly making to their own future.

That slippery Dick.