Fact Check Disputes Bush Attack re Terrorism a Nuisance
Factcheck.org responded today to the misquotation of John Kerry's position on terrorism:
Terrorism a Nuisance?
A Republican party ad appeared this week inviting viewers to think Kerry considers terrorism a "nuisance" and suggests he's too "weak."
The image on screen shows a picture of Kerry with the words: "Terrorists are a nuisance. . . like gambling and prostitution."
But Kerry never said he considered terrorism to be a nuisance, he said Americans would feel safe once terrorism was reduced to a nuisance. (The announcer correctly paraphrases Kerry as saying "we have to get back" to such a condition, but the visual images in the ad will overpower the announcer's spoken words for many, and the announcer goes on as though Kerry actually had said terrorism isn't much of a threat at present.)
Kerry's words are taken from a New York Times Magazine interview published Oct. 10. When asked what it would take to make Americans feel safe again, Kerry actually said this:
Kerry: We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance. . . As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.
That's actually not much different from what Bush himself said Aug. 30 on the NBC Today Show:
Q: Do you really think we can win this war of terror--on terror, for example, in the next four years?
Bush: I have never said we can win it in four years.
Q: No, I'm just saying, can we win it? Do you see that?
Bush: I don't--I don't think you can win it, but I think you can create conditions so that the--those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world, let's put it that way.
Both men were attacked by partisan opponents for expressing these sentiments, and have since grown less candid about the prospects for eradicating terrorism entirely. Both have hardened their words. Bush says he will "win" the war on terror. Kerry says he "will kill the terrorists."