Sunday, February 06, 2005

John Kerry interviewed by Boston Globe

The Boston Globe has an interview with John Kerry. Some highlights:

Despite the contentious nature of the campaign, Kerry expressed no resentment toward the president, but revealed a simmering bitterness toward some of the president's staunch backers. Kerry demanded that the swift boat veterans who had criticized his military record agree to open up their own files because he knows ''one guy was busted" and another ''has a letter of reprimand."

He also expressed frustration over surveys showing he lost to Bush among Catholic voters, a problem Kerry promised to address by pursuing an agenda that reflects ''the whole cloth" of Catholic teachings, not just abortion.

''We were all taught as young Catholics growing up to think and see our Catholicism, and in our duty to God and to ourselves in that relationship, as the whole cloth of Catholicism, the whole cloth of responsibility, the solidarity of people to their community and to each other and ultimately to the Lord," Kerry said. ''I'll tell you -- that teaching has always been inclusive of just wars, the environment, poverty, justice, social justice, and never been reduced to one point or another."

The sheer pace of the campaign left him unable to follow up on hurried requests to aides, he said, causing mistakes to occur at crucial moments. On Aug. 9, while campaigning at the Grand Canyon, Kerry answered yes to a question about whether he would have voted to give the president the authority to go to war in Iraq knowing what ''we know now" -- that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Kerry said the question was poorly phrased and he thought he was only reiterating why he had voted to give Bush the authority in the first place.

''When it got misinterpreted, I said [to an aide] I hadn't said that," Kerry said. ''And I told my campaign . . . they should go out and correct it."

They did not. Bush made hay over the fact that Kerry had endorsed invading Iraq even if there were no weapons of mass destruction. But Kerry, keeping up his rigorous series of speeches, was unaware for a while that his campaign had never cleared up the matter.

''I later learned" that no correction had been issued, Kerry said. ''But it was clear to me that was to be clarified."

Kerry pointed out that about two-thirds of Bush's popular-vote margin came from Texas and Oklahoma, and that the Kerry-Edwards campaign had made no effort to run up the popular vote in Democratic strongholds of New York and California. The Democrats' campaign had focused on a core group of battleground states, and, Kerry said, ''We won the popular vote in the battleground states," but fell short of the big prizes of Ohio and Florida.

Now, Kerry said, he feels a responsibility to promote the issues he highlighted during the campaign, particularly universal healthcare for children and greater support for troops in Iraq.

''Running for president is a great experience," he said. ''It is a unique insight into people's lives, a sort of sharing of their lives . . . It is very emotional. I tell you, the number of people who were tearing up in rope lines, holding their kids out to you, wanting to be there for that moment, saying 'Take care of my kid,' 'Make sure Social Security is there for me,' or 'Make sure my kid has a good school,' or 'I don't want my son in Iraq.' . . . You come out of there with a huge sense of the power of this country, and affection for the American people and for the process."

Kerry's intentions to stay viable as a party leader and potential 2008 presidential candidate will be girded by a new political action committee that will be run by his longtime strategist John Giesser of Newton, who will also oversee a 3-million-person e-mail list at Meanwhile, Kerry said, he is working on a book, but will not reveal the subject. He said it is ''premature" to think of another presidential run but acknowledged that he believes he's become a much better politician over the past year.

''I think I'm a better listener," he said. ''I talk a different language. I got beaten up a lot over that, fairly. No complaints. You know, you've got to break out of Senate-ese and all that junk. By the end of the campaign, I really developed into a much better candidate than when I began this thing, and I hope developed into a better person."

The Washington Post also covered John Edward's speech in New Hampshire Saturday night:

"All the political experts since the election have been talking about what the Democrats believe in. . . . Some of them have been saying we don't stand for anything," he said, adding, "We believe in hope over despair, we believe in possibilities over problems, we believe in optimism over cynicism. We believe in doing what's right even when others say it can't be done. And we believe in fighting desperately for those who have no voice in America."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is actually a good article. Don't see the need in giving the SwiftSlime extra hype, but all in all a good post election piece.

Florida Dem

6:44 PM  

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