Friday, December 29, 2006

Statement of Frank Lowenstein, Kerry Foreign Policy Staffer With Kerry in Iraq, on the Photo Controversy

Okay, let's put the controversy over the Kerry photo in Iraq to bed once and for all. The right wing blogs have had a heyday over this photo which originated from Ben of Mesopotamia, for days and as I have pointed out here in two posts (here and here), it's nothing but the typical hype and lies from the right wing blogs.

My sources at Senator Kerry's office just sent over this statement from Frank Lowenstein, Senator Kerry’s foreign policy staffer who was with Kerry in Iraq. Lowenstein serves on Senator Kerry’s Senate staff, and is a longtime Kerry national security advisor.

Statement from Frank Lowenstein:

“It’s a weird feeling seeing this photo of Sen. Kerry debated and decoded like some artifact out of the DaVinci Codes. It’s strange to me because I was there when the photo was taken. I traveled with Sen. Kerry throughout his Middle East trip. I’m his foreign policy staffer. Myself and Major McKnight were sitting right there when this photo was snapped.

Snubbed? Alone? Hardly. Sen. Kerry isn’t eating alone. In fact that photo is at an off the record breakfast meeting Senator Kerry conducted early Sunday morning with the very real Marc Santora of the New York Times Baghdad bureau and his younger colleague from the newspaper. The man shown in the green shirt across from Sen. Kerry is Marc Santora. Right after that interview was completed, Senator Kerry videotaped a message expressing his and the country's support for the troops, to be shown on the armed services network in Iraq. Just the night before, Sen. Kerry was in that very same mess hall at a table where he ate dinner with about 10 U.S. soldiers.

Additionally, Senator Kerry spent nearly a day and half (out of two days in Iraq) outside of the Green Zone because he felt strongly that he wanted to hear from troops on the front lines. On Saturday morning, he greeted U.S. soldiers in Basra, and also met many British troops while he was there. On Saturday afternoon, he flew to FOB (Forward Operating Base) Warhorse, where he had a town hall meeting with over 100 soldiers. On Sunday morning, he was briefed by U.S. commanders at a training camp for Iraqi security forces. On Sunday evening, he traveled to another FOB where he had a long dinner in the camp mess hall with soldiers, including many from Massachusetts. These troops are nothing short of amazing, and my boss knows that with every fiber of his being. He’s a combat veteran. He’s been there.

Sen. Kerry knows that if you’re in public life, you’re going to have things you say and do taken out of context, sometimes photos even. It goes with the job. I just wanted to set the record straight about this photo not just because I was there and I know the truth, but because Sen. Kerry enjoyed his time and his conversations with the troops, and I hate to see anyone try to make some political hay out of all this or pretend this photo is something its not.”


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