Wednesday, November 29, 2006

CNN's Larry King Live: Larry King Interviews Senator John Kerry

John Kerry was on Larry King Live tonight. The interview, as I expected ran the gamut of some of today's news on the Iraq War and of course included the obligatory speculation about the '08 presidential race. Kerry was on the money about Iraq and needless to say much of what he has said in the past, including Iraq being a Civil War, is all very prevelant in the news today.

King brought up that Kerry had met with the Iraq Study Group, on Monday and asked Kerry if he had any idea what they would say -- the interview was a few short hours before the N.Y. Times broke their story revealing that the Iraq Panel will recommend "pullback of combat troops." No doubt Kerry had an indication that the Iraq Panel would recommend "a gradual pullback" of the troops, somewhat similar to his proposal months ago, and in the interview he also stressed the need for a real diplomatic summit, "bringing all of the warring parties together, bringing the permanent five of the United Nations together, bringing the Arab League, the neighbors of the region and all coming together at a major conference at which the real stakes with respect to Iraq are put on the table."

"That kind of diplomacy has been absent here."

The transcript is available here.

John Kerry on Larry King Live Tonight (UPDATED)

John Kerry will be on Larry King Live tonight, discussing Iraq, or if you believe CNN, "his Iraq joke gone wrong." Tune in tonight at 9 ET.

Via CNN's Larry King Live: E-mail your questions for Sen. John Kerry.

No doubt the "joke" will come up, but the crux of the interview will obviously be on the latest headline on the Iraq War...

  • U.S.-Iraq summit put off until Thursday

  • Summit nixed after doubts raised about Iraqi PM

  • Bush Declines to Call Situation in Iraq Civil War

  • Word has it that Kerry will have more media appearances in the near future. Stay tuned...

    UPDATED: Here's the scoop on John Kerry's upcoming media appearances -- tomorrow, Thursday November 30:

  • The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer -- CNN (airs at 4 pm and 7 pm EST)

  • Interview with Alan Colmes on Hannity and Colmes - Fox News (airs at 9 pm EST)

  • Interview with Rita Cosby - live on MSNBC tomorrow afternoon with Rita Cosby sometime between 12:45 - 1:05 pm.

  • The primary focus will be on the latest from Iraq! Be sure to tune in and spread the word!

    John Kerry on Massachusetts vs. EPA

    Longtime champion of the environment, John Kerry released the following statement today on Massachusetts vs. EPA:

    “I’m proud that Massachusetts is leading the charge in the most significant environmental case in decades. But it speaks volumes that our state was forced to go all the way to the Supreme Court because the federal government refuses to accept reality. It’s amazing that the Supreme Court has to decide whether the emissions that cause global warming are "air pollutants" under the Clean Air Act. It's a question of fact over fiction, action over delay.

    Regardless of the outcome of this case, the polluting special interests are losing the battle outside Washington. States and cities have put global warming solutions at the top of their agendas. And with the new Congress elected to change Washington, I am hopeful that we can finally go to work on address global climate change rather than denying the obvious.”

    RELATED POST: Bush’s Warped View of Global Warming Goes to Court

    Friday, November 24, 2006

    Kerry Was On To Something and the Big Three Automakers Get It

    Last week when the Big Three automakers paid a call on George W Bush they wanted to talk about the woes of the auto industry. "Among their complaints," Scott Lehigh notes in the Boston Globe, "The heavy healthcare costs they shoulder are hindering their ability to compete." Their idea for a solution didn't interest Bush much, but Lehigh suggests, "Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid should sit up and take notice." Indeed they should...
    And what did they suggest by way of a solution? Something John Kerry proposed during his presidential campaign: a reinsurance arrangement to pay for chronic or catastrophic healthcare costs, thereby effectively taking those cases out of private health-insurance plans.

    "One possibility they discussed conceptually was a pool to address the disproportionate costs associated with those who have chronic or serious illnesses," says Greg Martin, Washington spokesman for GM.

    Not that anyone mentioned Kerry's name in the West Wing confab; that would have been impolitic indeed.

    But certainly the Massachusetts senator is the one that nostrum is most associated with.

    In his 2004 campaign, Kerry called for having the federal government pay three-quarters of the additional expenses for patients whose healthcare costs exceed $50,000 a year, provided savings from that cost relief helped reduce employee health-insurance premiums.

    Removing those costs from private plans could have big effects. Although they constitute less than 1 percent of all cases, catastrophic care accounts for 20 to 30 percent of healthcare expenses.

    If the government were to pick up most of the bill for catastrophic care, health-insurance premiums wouldn't be under such constant pressure. According to some estimates, premiums would be 10 percent lower than if private plans continued to pay for such care.

    Now, Kerry's political stock isn't exactly soaring. But at a time when some on the left see a politically unattainable single-payer system as the only true solution to the nation's healthcare problems, and some on the right insist that impractical, unproven health savings accounts are the proper prescription, the senator's concept represents pragmatic middle ground.

    The interest the notion has evoked from the auto industry demonstrates its appeal to business.

    And here, what's good for General Motors -- and Ford and Chrysler -- would certainly be good for the country.

    Health-coverage costs are a recognized drag on US firms competing with companies from nations where health coverage is a government responsibility. It is a particularly pronounced burden in the auto industry, adding as much as $1,500 to the price of a new vehicle.

    Okay, so we get that Bush would need to be "getting caught in a sudden downpour of common sense" to embrace a plan like this and making it doubly hard it would "mean endorsing an idea his opponent put foward," -- not just any opponent, but the opponent Bush and cohorts truly love to hate, John Kerry.

    "A plan like Kerry's would cost at least $40 billion a year," says Lehigh and "The senator proposed paying for that -- and his other healthcare ideas -- by repealing the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $200,000." Well -- throw that plan out the nearest window, Bush will no doubt say -- "That obviously would be a nonstarter for a president who sees those tax cuts -- but not our growing healthcare problems -- as part of his legacy."
    Still, the idea should be attractive for congressional Democrats who came to power largely as an electoral rebuke to the Republican administration -- and who now must develop an agenda with broad appeal.

    It would give the party a popular healthcare stand, one the GOP would oppose at its political peril. Consider:

    Kerry's scheme would offer premium relief for virtually everyone covered by a private healthcare plan.

    That's important for a party that wants to be seen as a champion of the middle class, and not just the poor.

    And the proposal lets voters understand the real benefit they would receive if some of the Bush tax cuts were rolled back. Democrats wouldn't simply be raising taxes in a vacuum, in other words.

    Finally, in boosting the competitive posture of US firms, the party could underscore its Clinton-era credentials as a responsible economic steward.

    Indeed, it's hard to think of a more persuasive endorsement than the one the notion received last week.

    Remember the way opponents portrayed Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan as a dangerous big-government scheme? Just imagine Democrats being able to say that their new healthcare proposal makes such good sense that the Big Three automakers had actually suggested a similar idea to a Republican president.

    On July 31, John Kerry laid out a plan calling for universal health care coverage by 2012. Putting Kerry's plan for catastrophic healthcare into play would certainly be a great start to that goal. Lehigh is right on this, the Big Three automakers are right on this. Kerry has been right on this.

    Note to Pelosi and Reid: It's time for the Democratic caucus to step up to the plate and push this through in the new Congress.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Taking a Deeper Look: 'Kerry’s misstatement bore unpleasant truth'

    Bill Fletcher Jr., a a long-time labor and international writer and activist takes a deeper look at John Kerry's misstatement and makes some points, that I have made here in the past about the misstatement and other's have made as well. Many kids today don't have too many "economic options; if one has not done well in school; if one is of color; if one is from an economically depressed region, the military can often look like not only the best option, but the only option." It's a fact -- the Republicans know it a fact, we all do, but no one really wants to discuss it. It's not about the troops, it's about making sure that our kids have options and choices and get a good a education. My daughter is a senior in high school in an LAUSD and she has friends just like Bill Fletcher's daughter's friend he notes in his OP/ED below. Let's have that serious discussion. It's about the future of our kids.

    Kerry’s misstatement bore unpleasant truth
    By Bill Fletcher Jr.
    OK, so now we have heard enough about Sen. John Kerry’s attempt at being witty. As you remember, one week prior to the Nov. 7 election, the Republican establishment went after Kerry. Kerry, D-Mass., was quoted: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

    The Republicans seized on this remark in order to go after Kerry for allegedly “troop-bashing.” Kerry fired back stating that he was tired of people [particularly Republicans] who never served in war attacking those who did.

    Bravo, Sen. Kerry!

    In any case, Kerry apologized for his bungling an attempt at a joke. Nevertheless the Republicans were not interested in stopping their feeding frenzy.

    Kerry’s remarks may have, however, been a Freudian slip. In other words, while I believe that he intended to make a wisecrack criticizing President Bush, there may, at the same time, have been something else that he was thinking about, something that I think is quite important.

    What Kerry’s remarks actually point to is something that you and I both know to be true: although the military is called “voluntary,” there is a draft. The draft is both an economic draft and a draft for those who are lost between the cracks of society. If one has few economic options; if one has not done well in school; if one is of color; if one is from an economically depressed region, the military can often look like not only the best option, but the only option.

    This is not troop-bashing. It is a reality. Too many of our youth, particularly prior to the invasion of Afghanistan and then Iraq, looked at the military as a means to stabilize their lives and, perhaps, get some skills. For many urban youth, the military looked liked an alternative to either gang life or life in some low wage industry. My high school-aged daughter has many friends that fit into one or another of these categories. I am thinking of one right now and I can hear in his voice the frustration of feeling that he has no alternative but to enter the military and possibly die in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    So, where is the controversy? Instead of focusing on Kerry stumbling over his words, there should be a discussion about why there are few alternatives for our youth. In fact, we should use this incident to engage in a broader discussion that covers not only education but also the economy. I wish that Kerry had used this moment to talk about what happens to youth who do not do well in school, or to discuss the fact that with the declining number of high wage jobs in manufacturing for semi-skilled workers, the chances for working class youth to succeed — be they white, Black, brown, yellow, red — is in a continuous decline; actually a tail-spin.

    It would be too much to expect that the Republicans would have such a serious discussion since they have been the foremost champions of stomping on working people and enhancing riches for the rich. But I keep coming back to my daughter’s friend. I want to know why this young man — intelligent, well-spoken, completed high school — felt that his only real chance to get ahead was to put himself literally and figuratively in the bull’s eye, in the middle of a war that he knows to be illegal and that he does not wish fight.

    Why, Mr. Bush?

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    So Now Who’s Joking?

    The support for John Kerry in the wake of the Republican attempt to qustion his support of the troops has been pouring in. For all that Kerry has done over the years to support the troops and fight for veteran's rights, the Republican attempt to smear him is truly outrageous. But things look bleak for the Republicans in the mid-term elections at this point, in fact the situation is dire:

    Scott Lehigh of the Boston Globe shares his view "that the people whose intelligence is really being insulted here are not US soldiers, but American voters"....not by... John Kerry, but by Republicans...

    So now who's joking?
    By Scot Lehigh | November 3, 2006

    THANK GOODNESS John Kerry has finally apologized for his outrageous slandering of our troops in Iraq.

    But let's put the credit for that apology where it belongs: with our valiant Republican officeholders.

    Why, Governor Romney leapt into action almost as soon as Kerry's scandalous remarks surfaced on Tuesday.

    "Senator Kerry owes an apology to the thousands of men and women serving in Iraq," said he.

    Or rather, his press release. The Mittster himself was out west campaigning.

    Romney, of course, knows how serious these matters can be. His father, George, saw his 1968 presidential hopes implode after an offhand remark. So it was good of him to review Kerry's comments and give the hapless senator some helpful advice.

    But he was hardly the only Republican at the ready.

    Senator John McCain, conductor of the Straight Talk Express, fairly oozed sincerity as he counseled that Kerry could put this matter behind him, but only if he apologized to the troops.

    And there was President Bush himself. This president knows a joke when he sees one -- he, after all, starred in that hilarious video about his failure to find WMD in Iraq -- and Kerry's remark surely didn't qualify. So the president castigated his former foe on the stump and in a conversation with political philosopher Rush Limbaugh, who was taking a break from his invaluable work exposing Parkinson's poseurs.

    As someone who applauds the P.C. police who patrol our colleges, demanding apologies and sensitivity training from and for anyone who says anything that someone might somehow construe as offensive, I was heartened to see so many Republicans embrace that mentality.

    But what's with White House press secretary Tony Snow?

    He actually broke into a grin on Wednesday when he insisted the White House, in demanding that Kerry apologize, was trying to help the senator put the issue behind him. Why, if you didn't realize the severity of Kerry's offense, you might have thought that Snow considered the Republican clamor just so much political theater.

    Yes, it's true that Kerry claims he was trying to mock Bush, not demean our soldiers, by quipping that if you don't study hard and try to be smart, "you get stuck in Iraq," and that his jibe just came out wrong. And if you look at Kerry's prepared text, it's possible to conclude the president actually was his intended target. That text has this punchline for Kerry's joke about the fate of the intellectually lazy: "You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

    So I felt Kerry's explanation might be plausible -- until I asked our newly returned governor whether he really thought Kerry had meant to insult our troops rather than tweak the president.

    "When I saw his comments, I was just astounded," said Romney. "What he said was offensive."

    But wasn't Kerry's remark ambiguous enough to support the senator's claim?

    "I'm sorry," said Romney. "The quote is extraordinarily direct. It is very, very, very direct."

    You can't get any more direct than that, not without another adverb, anyway. And Mitt, don't forget, holds both a law degree and an MBA from Harvard.

    So I guess that settles it.

    Mind you, Romney was understanding.

    "He may not have meant to say that," he allowed. "But that is what he said."

    He even explained how Kerry should move forward.

    "He of course should apologize for what he said, and then if he wants to make a joke about the president, he can do that."

    But there are perils there, too.

    "Calling the president stupid puts him in the category of Hugo Chavez," Romney said. "That is not a good idea, either."

    No sirree. Why, if that rascally Chavez said it was a nice day out, I, for one, would insist a northeaster had struck, just to avoid his category.

    Sorry, I'm being flip. Perhaps I should apologize for not treating this matter with the utter seriousness it deserves.

    It's certainly true that John Kerry has an odd habit of putting his head on a golf tee and handing his opponents a driver.

    And yet, deep down, I find myself thinking that the people whose intelligence is really being insulted here are not US soldiers, but American voters.

    And not by a stumble-tongued John Kerry, but by Republicans desperate to conjure an imaginary insult out of the ether.

    Botched Joke - Botched War

    The caption above says it all...

    In the news today speaking of the Botched War, some Congressional Republicans pulled a fast one in the military authorization bill that Bush signed two weeks -- an obscure provision in the bill is terminating the federal oversight agency on Iraq -- the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, effective Oct. 1, 2007. It seems the Bush administration would rather NOT have oversight for their Botched War:

    Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.

    It appears the termination of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction was a "last-minute insertion." Why are we not surprised?

    John Kerry’s Remark: Right Either Way

    The Seattle P.I. points out another round of apologies due -- "Apologies? Sure, from the cut-and-run Democratic candidates who've cancelled appearances with Kerry."

    Kerry's Remark: Right either way

    Republicans evidenced their election desperation by braying about an offhand comment that Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., made at a California college rally.

    "Education" Kerry said "-- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

    Was Kerry making fun of the president, or warning students against the pitfalls awaiting the undereducated in general?

    It doesn't matter. Kerry was right either way.

    Kerry wasn't saying -- regardless of the Republican spin -- that our troops are stupid.

    Kerry's intended point was obvious. President Bush didn't do his homework before he ordered the invasion. He didn't study the intricacies of Mideast religion, culture, politics and tribalism. He wasn't smart about it and we are stuck in Iraq.

    Although there are plenty of well-educated people in our armed forces -- Kerry was one of them -- military service has long been an opportunity employer for those with less education and fewer skills than they need to work in the private sector. Indeed, the military sells itself as a place to garner skills and to help pay for higher education.

    And wars, including this one, are often fought by those less privileged -- albeit no less smart -- than the sons and daughters of those who lead us into them.

    Apologies? Sure, from the cut-and-run Democratic candidates who've cancelled appearances with Kerry.

    Mr. Kerry Wasn’t Disparaging the American Troops in Iraq

    Well said...

    Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush
    What the senator said about the President and the war might not have been very funny, but that's not the point
    First published: Thursday, November 2, 2006

    Sen. John Kerry has always seemed very thoughtful yet rather stiff. So it's not terribly surprising that his attempt at a joke at President Bush's expense was a dud. Mr. Kerry has taken himself off the campaign trail for a few days and an appearance on those TV shows where they mix a bit of news in with their humor would seem to be out of the question.

    But let's get this much straight. Mr. Kerry wasn't disparaging the American troops in Iraq. No one who has been in combat, as he has, would think of saying such a thing.
    Read more »

    Wake Up Dems!

    Wake up Dems, because the numbers show that John Kerry was helping the party. But now some spineless want to cut him loose because he had the audacity and the courage to stand up and tell the truth. Well, that's just the problem isn't it? No one is supposed to stand up and tell the truth. And now members of the GOP-lite faction of the Democratic Party want to continue to cower and bow down to the Bush regime rather than grow a friggin spine and say like John Kerry has, "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore."

    Uh-huh that's right -- folks that were happy to have his help a few days ago are now hand-wringing instead of standing with Kerry. Yeah, we know we need to win the election. But, here's the deal, John Kerry reached out to his 3 million strong community and raised buckets of cash for candidates and now some of those candidates can't understand that he's been swift boated again. Instead, of standing by him, we have Hillary Clinton doing BushCo's dirty work when she says, what Kerry said "was inappropriate." Well, Hillary, many of us are still waiting for you to apologize for your Iraq War vote. We're not holding our breath though.

    Now, it's mighty clear to many Dems why Hillary won't get Kerry's back -- she's got her eye on '08. Well, I've got news for Hillary, John Kerry stood and spoke the truth to power when you wouldn't. Rather than talk directly about Iraq, Hillary would simply rather "move on." Hillary Clinton could take a few lessons from the junior Senator from Massachusetts, while she's been fiddling with the notion of her next campaign before she's even re-elected in the one she's running now, John Kerry has been out there working to change "the direction of the country" -- for candidates all across the country. So, here's an idea -- Let's sideline him and "redirect focus." Why? Because before John Kerry botched a joke he was all over the media, not just pissing off Republicans but also probably making more than a few potential '08 candidates just a little nervous. And, So What - he botched a joke. How many jokes has Bush botched (Where's the WMD's)?

    But here's the deal, there's a lot of Democrats who are made as hell right now and I am one of them. Because the man who speaks for us, John Kerry -- over and over again -- is stepping back when he should be out there swinging for us. There's a crop of new polls out today that show in the wake of John Kerry's remarks, Democrats are sliding towards a victory next Tuesday.

    Democracy Corps latest poll shows that Democrats are poised and ready to win, "Despite the increased titters about Senator Kerry, there is every reason to believe that this week has further contributed to making this election a referendum on Iraq."

    First, it keeps Bush on center-stage, and he is not popular in these Republican-held districts (45 percent strongly disapprove and only 24 percent strongly approve). It is hard to have a base strategy without a base. Second, the president is telling the American people to vote next Tuesday on who you trust on Iraq. And third, it has crowded out any other issue, including national security and terrorism and the economy and taxes.

    The trends on Iraq promise disaster for the Republicans, as we can see in the results below:

    • The president’s approval on Iraq is only 39 percent in these Republican districts, unchanged from last week, with no evidence of growing confidence as they define the election on Iraq.

    • Iraq rose in the last two weeks to be the dominant issue in people’s congressional vote (40 percent 1st or 2nd most important issue), while national security and terrorism have decline to 20 percent – after being at almost parity at the time of 9/11 commemoration. Terrorism has dropped to the 4th most important voting issue.

    • Almost 70 percent of Iraq voters are voting Democratic in the named ballot.

    • Most important is the new majority of 53 percent in the two polls over the last week for reducing troop levels, with only 43 percent for staying the course for stability – a break with years of being evenly divided. That 10-point margin for reduced troop is greater than the margin in the congressional vote – suggesting this debate helps Democrats in these Republican districts.

    The numbers in the Poll from Democracy Corps are self evident and yes, they concur John Kerry was actually helping to make "this election a referendum on Iraq." So, what's the problem? Some of you would rather he sit out the last few crucial days before the mid-terms -- how dumb is that? We need John Kerry out there front and center -- now more than ever. Why? Because he's not afraid to stand and speak the truth to power. Why? Because, John Kerry is the Republican's worst nightmare -- he has topped their most hated list since the Nixon days.

    Don't bow down to the Bush regime. Wake up Dems -- John Kerry was helping the Democratic Party. Stand with him -- he sure as hell was standing with you.

    The Republicans want to make this election an election about personalities but it's about the issues, damn it -- it's about Iraq. They know it's about Iraq, and they'll do anything to take the focus off Iraq -- don't let them. Sherrod Brown had it right yesterday, "The people who should apologize are George Bush and Mike DeWine for sending our troops into battle without body armor and without examining the cooked intelligence."

    We need all hands on deck over next 5 days and we need John Kerry out there fighting to help lead all those Dems he's worked so hard for all year, to victory. Wake up Dems.

    The Sentinel: John Kerry Was Right Mr. Bush

    I know I could not say this any better myself... We need to bring these kids home from Iraq, not be sending more there. There's plenty of kids that knew exactly what Kerry was talking about, kids in a inner city schools who have few choices. Kerry was speaking the cold hard truth and he was right.

    John Kerry was right Mr. Bush
    By Gabe Caggiano

    If you live in Montgomery County and you're thinking of joining the military, then you might want to listen to John Kerry.

    He is in a lot of trouble, according to Republicans and to those who believe the war in Iraq is still a noble endeavor.

    But what Kerry said is the hard, cold truth, especially when one examines the meaning of his words.

    What Kerry said before an audience in Pasadena was, "Get an education, or you'll end up in Iraq." This has the Republicans up in arms and screaming for Kerry's blood.

    But Kerry's assessment isn't wrong. You don't see the president's daughters in the military. You don't see Karen Hughes' son at West Point. He is at Clueless Condi's alma mater, Stanford. Another young man, Blake Gottesman, who served as Bush's personal aide, is now at the Harvard Business School after a four-year tour of duty in the West Wing.
    Read more »

    Jimmy Tingle on John Kerry: So John Kerry Had A Slip of the Tongue, So What (Audio)

    This Rocks... Jimmy Tingle speaks the truth on John Kerry the Bush Administration and Iraq...

    Listen Here - Download It...:

    Pass it along!

    Hat tip to Blue Mass Group.

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    Statement of Senator John Kerry: “I Personally Apologize…”

    John Kerry just released the following statement regarding his "poorly stated joke" at the rally in Pasadena, CA on Monday:

    "As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troop.

    I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.

    It is clear the Republican Party would rather talk about anything but their failed security policy. I don’t want my verbal slip to be a diversion from the real issues. I will continue to fight for a change of course to provide real security for our country, and a winning strategy for our troops."

    The bottom line here is this distraction is about the debate on Iraq and the real issues, as Kerry said and not about personalities.

    John Kerry Talks to Imus

    John Kerry was on Imus In The Morning, today. Kerry did a great job explaining his 'botched' joke and who's to blame for the distortions.

    Watch The Video Here:

    "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.

    Olbermann Discusses John Kerry's Remarks and the Republican's Distortion (Video)

    Keith Olbermann discussed John Kerry's remarks on "Countdown" last night and he did a great job putting them into context with a clear understanding that this is all a Republican distortion -- plain and simple.

    Watch The Video Here:

    UPDATE - RELATED POST: Statement of Senator John Kerry