Presidential untruths

by Art Buchwald

A comprehensive report from Nando Media: White House Crisis

(August 27, 1998 10:37 a.m. EDT - President Clinton was not the first president to admit that he lied. History tells us that George Washington perjured himself when he was 6 years old.

The story goes that the Washington family lived outside Fredericksburg, Va. When Washington was walking around with his father, they spotted a cherry tree on the ground.

His father, in horror, asked George who had chopped it down. George said, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the tree."
His father was furious and said, "Who asked you to tell the truth? Now, who chopped down the cherry tree?"
"I told you, I did," said George, "with my little hatchet. I know it was wrong, but it wasn't illegal."
Washington's father did not believe his son and decided to take the matter to a cherry-tree DNA expert.
The expert took shavings off the ax and then matched them with chips on George's shoes. There was no doubt that George's footprints were all over the tree.
With this evidence, Washington's father said to George, "Someday you're going to be the father of your country, and therefore you are going to have to lie to the electorate. If you admit to chopping down my tree, the nation will think you've gone bonkers."
George replied, "If I ever hope to be first and foremost in the hearts of my countrymen, I must tell the truth and be willing to face the music."
His father disagreed. "It's nobody's business but yours. Don't let this tree ruin the great record that you will establish in leading our 13 colonies through their formative years."
"I guess you're right, Father. I will say I was trout fishing when I heard the tree fall to the ground."
"Bravo," his father said. "Now let's move on."

Copyright © 1998
Copyright © 1998 Los Angeles Times Syndicate