In a televised debate the other day between the two candidates to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Evan Bayh, Republican candidate and former Indiana Senator Dan Coats told a bald-faced lie. During the debate, Coats's opponent, Democrat Brad Ellsworth, accused Coats of negotiating a lobbying job while he was still serving in the Senate. In response, Coats claimed that he was offered a position, but did not accept it until a month after he had left the Senate.
After the debate, Dan Parker, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party, cited a news release from Coats' own Senate office, dated December 3, 1998, announcing that Coats expected to join the lobbying firm of Verner, Liipfert. Coats' Senate term ended exactly one month later. Coats' campaign now maintains that the candidate simply misspoke during the debate.
During an election year when voters are fed up about the way business is done in Washington, this story is, or should be, a big deal. Why, then, is the Indianapolis Star downplaying it? Instead of leading with the real crux of the matter - Coats LIED during the debate, and approves (by his actions) the revolving door between Congress and lobbying - the Star misleads with this headline: "Coats' camp rebuts charge". That's like saying President Clinton "rebutted" claims that he lied under oath, when he said "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" (see here).
A feeble explanation does not rebut a bald-faced lie; nor does it help to resolve the bigger issue of whether Indiana voters should return to the Senate a veteran politician/lobbyist who seems happy enough with the way Washington works.