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"This is Swiftboat stuff all over again" -- John Kerry
AP News reports on the Imus interview:
"Of course I'm sorry about a botched joke. You think I love botched jokes?" Kerry said during an appearance on Don Imus' nationally syndicated radio program. "I mean, you know, it's pretty stupid."
Kerry, D-Mass., said he meant no offense to troops. "You cannot get into the military today if you do badly in school," he said. But he said the White House was purposely twisting his words, and asserted that it is Bush who owes troops an apology for a misguided war in Iraq.
"I'm sorry that that's happened," he said of his comment. "But I'm not going to stand back from the reality here, which is, they're trying to change the subject. It's their campaign of smear and fear."
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, head of the DSCC campaign effort, called the White House attacks on John Kerry an effort by Bush "to divert attention from his failed Iraq policy."
"Instead of going on television attacking John Kerry and everyone else under the sun, the president ought to be sitting at his desk coming up with a plan for Iraq," Schumer said.
The head of the Democratic party also downplayed Kerry's remarks. "Kerry made a blooper. Bloopers happen," Howard Dean told reporters in Burlington, Vt.
James Carville spoke up yesterday on The Situation Room:
“It is much easier to say, I botched a joke, than to say, I botched a war. And he was very frank. … He gave an explanation. And, as I say, Senator Kerry is one of the great war heroes to ever serve in the Congress. He has about a 100 percent record when it comes to the veterans. So, I don’t understand exactly what the problem is. He didn’t owe anybody an apology. He owed an explanation” -- The Situation Room - CNN, 10/31.
And then there was this from Bill O’Reilly:
I don’t believe John Kerry meant to demean any American military member. I just don’t. I think that fair-minded people know that that would be political suicide for the senator. He wouldn’t do it.” -- O’Reilly Factor, Fox News - 10/31.
The transcript of John Kerry on Imus In The Morning is here.