Lies in the eyes of beholders: The imperfect memory of Terry Hayes, Angus King and Hillary Clinton.
While in Rhode Island caring for my 80 year-old mother after she fell at the hairdresser’s I was struck by what she could remember. With a broken leg, neuropathy, deafness, and bouts of suspicion that somebody enters her condo and takes things she later almost always finds, my mother is a walking encyclopedia.
She can’t cross her legs or bend over and uses a walker because of her injury, but my mother can rattle off the phone numbers of her family, friends and neighbors as well as recite details of ancient battles and military campaigns and multiple historical events as clear as a bell. She even recalls the names of clients she sold annuities to as a single mother raising 5 kids in Rhode Island in the eighties. If memory is the measure of a person my mother is a superstar.
Is her memory perfect? No, but when she forgets we don’t say my mother is lying, probably because we love her.
“Lies” told by people we don’t love seem so apparent, especially in politics where the name of the game is to win by beating your opponent. In politics the person whose motive matters most in distinguishing lie from mistake is the voter.
“I voted for the Democrat, Hillary Clinton…I didn’t like either choice,” said independent gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes on September 6, 2018 in an interview with me in my Portland studio. (around 20:20)
“I did not vote for president in 2016,” said the same Terry Hayes in the Channel 8 WMTW debate on Thursday, October 25, 2018.
Did Terry Hayes lie?
“I made a mistake,” Hayes told me on October 29, 2018 when I asked her to explain the discrepancy.
Everyone makes mistakes. I made a mistake during the interview with Hayes when I said 52% of educated white women voted for Donald Trump in 2016 when in fact it was 52% of white women overall who supported Trump. “Only” 44% of educated white women voted for him.
Did I lie?
When I had the pleasure of speaking with Angus King recently as a guest on my podcast, I asked the senator whether he was going to endorse Chellie Pingree again in her re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives. King first said in our interview, “I have not endorsed Chellie in the past.” (16:28 - 17 minutes into recording)
When I mentioned a recording of him endorsing Chellie, King said, “I don’t recall…I don’t think I ever endorsed Chellie…I generally don’t endorse.”
Did he lie?
I don’t think so but I’m voting for King. Maybe his political opponents see things differently.
As a Hillary Clinton supporter I was uncomfortable with the story about her coming under sniper fire during a trip to Bosnia in 1996 while she was first lady, but I didn’t think she lied despite several news outlets disputing the claim and a video of the trip showing Clinton walking from the plane, accompanied by her daughter.
“I did make a mistake in talking about it, you know, the last time and recently,” Clinton told reporters. Clinton said she had a “different memory” about the landing, according to Reuters. I believed her, I think, because once I told my husband I had gone to a Talking Heads concert as a teenager because I thought I had — until years later I heard the band Styx on the radio and remembered the concert differently.
People who dislike Hillary Clinton are convinced she lied and Terry Hayes seems to strongly dislike Hillary Clinton.
My mistake was not asking Hayes if she thinks Clinton lied.