Author Topic: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'  (Read 4100 times)

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Amianthus

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Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« on: November 01, 2006, 04:11:51 PM »
Nov 1, 1:12 PM (ET)

By JENNIFER LOVEN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. John Kerry apologized for "a botched joke" about President Bush's Iraq policies that led Bush and fellow Republicans to accuse him of insulting U.S. troops. Some Democrats in close races assailed Kerry, while others called the flap a ploy by the GOP to improve its chances in next week's midterm elections.

"Of course I'm sorry about a botched joke. You think I love botched jokes?" Kerry said during an appearance Wednesday 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 when he told a college audience Monday that young people might get "stuck in Iraq" if they don't study hard and do their homework.

On Wednesday, he said, "You cannot get into the military today if you do badly in school." But he also 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 earlier 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."

Kerry said he mangled the delivery of a line aimed at Bush - according to aides, language which was originally written to say "you end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."

But Republicans seized on it as evidence of troop-bashing by the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential nominee, and the controversy quickly erupted into an issue for races across the country. The Republican National Committee released a Web ad, to be e-mailed to GOP activists and state party officials, called "Apologize."

Said Bush, in an interview with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh: "Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words. ... We've got incredible people in our military, and they deserve full praise and full support of this government."

The White House took the unusual step of releasing in advance comments Vice President Dick Cheney was making later Wednesday at a Montana campaign rally, in which he scolded Kerry for taking "another swipe at the U. S. military."

"Of course, now Senator Kerry says he was just making a joke, and he botched it up. I guess we didn't get the nuance. He was for the joke before he was against it," Cheney said in a line meant to recall Bush's skewering of Kerry in their 2004 race for saying he had voted for war funds before he voted against them.

GOP Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran and possible 2008 contender, said Wednesday he wasn't sure "how you could construe" Kerry's comment as a joke.

And White House spokesman Tony Snow said Kerry's apology on Imus didn't pass muster. "He's insisting on pointing fingers at the president," Snow said. "Just say you're sorry. It's not hard."

The fiery exchange evoked memories of the bitter 2004 Bush-Kerry contest, and injected a last-minute curveball into a taut race between Republicans trying to cling to control of Congress in the Nov. 7 voting and Democrats striving to win it back.

With each party looking for any advantage in a campaign expected to turn in large measure on the unpopular war in Iraq, some Democratic candidates afraid of being tarred as antimilitary joined the Republican criticism of Kerry. The senator scratched campaign appearances for Democratic party hopefuls in Iowa, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

"Whatever the intent, Senator Kerry was wrong to say what he said," said Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., running for the Senate in Tennessee.

"I'm coming back to Washington today so I'm not a distraction," Kerry told Imus.

Kerry was frantically seeking to contain any damage - to his party next week and his own potential repeat run for the White House in 2008. He and some Democrats viewed the fracas as a key test of a lesson learned in the 2004 race - that he responded too slowly when hit with unsubstantiated allegations about his Vietnam war record from a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Kerry's office released a supportive statement from retired Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy, the first female three-star general in the Army and a supporter of his 2004 bid against Bush. "When it comes to Iraq, he's right to stand up against baseless attacks, and right to keep fighting for a better course for our troops and our country," she said.

Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat leading in late polls in his bid to unseat Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, said Republicans are merely trying to change the subject. "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," he said.

Former Democratic Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, who lost both legs and an arm while serving in Vietnam, said, "The Republicans are so desperate that they'll take anything and try to make the most of it."

"Bloopers happen," Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean told reporters in Burlington, Vt.

---

Associated Press Writer Dan Sewell contributed to this story from Cincinnati.

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sirs

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2006, 12:10:09 AM »
larry

Re: John Kerry insults our troops as dumb
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2006, 10:01:14 PM »   
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sirs, we'll see what tomorrow will bring. I don't see it being high on the issue list and if Bush pushes to make it an issue, it will only hurt Bush in the long run. Bush is stupid and inept, that is what Kerry said.
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

syrmark59

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2006, 07:07:01 AM »
Well, egos being what they are, the GOP still just doesn't get "it".

Kerry made a very clumsy statement, and if the GOPers were *smarter*, you might actually get some mileage out of it. Instead, you still have Dubya out front on this.

When are you going to get it?- Bush has zero credibility on anything war-related, and I honestly don't understand how GOPers can't see that. Talking heads like Rush only appeal to your base. Even McCain is looking physically uncomfortable on camera when he tries to get some mileage out of this.

What amazes me is that we haven't seen Condi Rice out in front on this, as she's one of the very few with any credibility outside the GOP base.

Forget carton of milk-this has the shelf life of a glass of milk. I doubt it will effect even a single race.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2006, 07:09:18 AM by syrmark59 »

BT

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2006, 07:24:01 AM »
Quote
Forget carton of milk-this has the shelf life of a glass of milk. I doubt it will effect even a single race.

I wouldn't be too sure of that. People aren't buying the botched joke spin. And it is rubbing off on local candidates. In a waiting room at the dentist yesterday, two people who said they planned to vote for the dem candidate for congress, said they were changing their mind.

_JS

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2006, 09:55:19 AM »
Even if what Kerry said wasn't a "botched joke," what was wrong with it?

Is it some secret that a lot of less educated and poorer individuals join the military?

Is there some reason the military is a "sacred cow" that cannot be touched?
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
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Brassmask

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2006, 10:24:18 AM »
Kerry gets kicked to hell and back for a joke he made about Bush being a god damned idiot and then apologizing for the Reps spinning it to make it look like he was talking about the troops (which you all know good and goddamned well he wasn't) and then this happens and you guys never heard of it.

Boehner blames troops for Iraq mess
by kos
Thu Nov 02, 2006 at 01:57:35 AM CST
This one wasn't a botched joke:



House Majority Leader John Boehner: Wolf, I understand that, but let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.

Wolf Blitzer: But he's in charge of the military.

House Majority Leader John Boehner: But the fact is the generals on the ground are in charge and he works closely with them and the president.



Yes, it's the generals' fault. Bush and Rummy? They're helpless victims in all of this! Woe is them! Why, if only Rummy was in charge of the Pentagon! And if only Bush was in charge of Rummy!

But look! Kerry botched a joke!
http://www.dailykos.com/

larry

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2006, 10:59:24 AM »
larry

Re: John Kerry insults our troops as dumb
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2006, 10:01:14 PM »   
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sirs, we'll see what tomorrow will bring. I don't see it being high on the issue list and if Bush pushes to make it an issue, it will only hurt Bush in the long run. Bush is stupid and inept, that is what Kerry said.

Sirs, I have to tip my hat to you on this one. Bush did get some traction. Kerry, gave an apology and an explanation. I'm not sure what Kerry meant by the statement, But I'm not sure Kerry's statement was incorrect either. Maybe it is one of those sad truths we do not want to acknowledger. I don't think the issue will have any real impact on state races.

The_Professor

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2006, 11:04:15 AM »
BT:" I wouldn't be too sure of that. People aren't buying the botched joke spin. And it is rubbing off on local candidates. In a waiting room at the dentist yesterday, two people who said they planned to vote for the dem candidate for congress, said they were changing their mind."

I didn't think it had legs either, but I heard the same thing yesterday. Of course, Warner Robins is home ot the third largest air force base in the country and so the "legs" are longer here. I had several military students in class last night say they were not only hurt, but ANGRY.

Oops!

The_Professor

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2006, 11:09:45 AM »
BT: "I wouldn't be too sure of that. People aren't buying the botched joke spin. And it is rubbing off on local candidates. In a waiting room at the dentist yesterday, two people who said they planned to vote for the dem candidate for congress, said they were changing their mind. "

Also, this latest land deal issue regarding Sonny Purdue has people ehre mad as well. I heard my wife last night almost angry over it and that surprised me.

Fro the rest: Governor Purdue bought some land adjacent to a wildlife perserve. Since he purchased it, it was sold to land developers who will undoubtedly put up cracker box houses ten feet apart. Well, his land value has gone up 157% since!

A lot of the angst here is that when he was governor, he refused to have the state purchase the land so it could still be a wildlife perserve, and do now, he also benefits! Ouch!

Our area here is growing so fast, all the available parcels of forests are coming down and strip malls and housing developments going up. The places for kids to play is also seriously deficient. Therefore, this issue cuts close to the heart!

BT

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2006, 11:44:31 AM »
Quote
Is it some secret that a lot of less educated and poorer individuals join the military?

Nope.

Quote
Is there some reason the military is a "sacred cow" that cannot be touched?

Again no. If Kerry wants to bash the troops and call them dumbasses, he is certainly free to do just that.

Wouldn't be the first time he expressed a low opinion of them.


sirs

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2006, 11:48:00 AM »
People aren't buying the botched joke spin. And it is rubbing off on local candidates. In a waiting room at the dentist yesterday, two people who said they planned to vote for the dem candidate for congress, said they were changing their mind.

  
The 'Botched Joke' Excuse

BY JAMES TARANTO
Wednesday, November 1, 2006


Pardon our morbid fascination with this story, but in a way it makes us feel vindicated. We first noted that something wasn't quite right with John Kerry way back in December 2002, but even we didn't realize how not quite right he was until this week. At a news conference yesterday, Kerry offered the latest "explanation" for his statement suggesting that the troops in Iraq are stupid and uneducated:

My statement [Monday]--and the White House knows this full well--was a botched joke about the president and the president's people, not about the troops. The White House's attempt to distort my true statement is a remarkable testament to their abject failure in making America safe.

Well, here is what Kerry actually said:

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, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.

"The White House's attempt to distort my true statement" consists in taking what Kerry actually said at face value.

Even if the statement was a "botched joke," what on earth would possess Kerry to think that this excuses what he said? George Allen and Trent Lott didn't get passes for "botched jokes"; indeed, here is what Kerry himself said about Lott, according to Salon:

Sen. John Kerry, a [haughty, French-looking] Massachusetts Democrat [who by the way served in Vietnam] and 2004 presidential contender, became the first member of the Senate to suggest Lott was now unfit to lead the upper chamber. "It saddens me greatly to suggest this, but in the interests of the Senate, his party, and the nation, I believe Trent Lott should step aside as majority leader," Kerry said. "I simply do not believe the country can today afford to have someone who has made these statements again and again be the leader of the United States Senate."

And let's not forget Kerry's outrage at President Bush's successful joke about missing weapons of mass destruction back in March 2004.

Anyway, what joke did Kerry intend to make? A Kerry aide tells CNN:

Kerry was supposed to say, "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq."

Ain't that a riot? Go ahead, wipe the coffee off your keyboard. We'll wait.

If we believe the Kerry aide's claim, Kerry apparently meant to disparage the president's intelligence and studiousness, to suggest that somehow the liberation of Iraq is the product of Bush's lack of education. But this makes no sense. Bush has both bachelor's and master's degrees from Ivy League universities. How can that be if he is both stupid and lazy?

In any case, Kerry's refusal to apologize for what he actually said is quite astonishing. (The closest he's come, according to Reuters: "Of course, I'm sorry about a botched joke.") As blogger Edward Morrissey notes:

He's left with the argument that he misquoted himself while trying to show off his supposed intellectual superiority over George Bush, and that it's all Bush's fault despite being Kerry's intellectual inferior. Really, no one could have scripted a more hilarious scenario, and the longer Kerry continues this line of defense/offense, the more ridiculous a figure he becomes.

It must also be said that there's good reason to question the "botched joke" explanation. It's certainly plausible that Kerry would misspeak, as he's done many times before. But when erstwhile Kerry aide Rand Beers tells Time that "no one who has ever been in combat would intentionally impugn our brave troops," he is speaking a falsehood, and Exhibit A is John Kerry, 1971:

They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

Anyway, how is it that Kerry is so un-self-aware that he portrays himself as the indignant victim for a problem of his own making? In this attitude he has a lot of enablers, in both the mainstream media and the Angry Left. Here's how the Washington Post reported the story today:

President Bush last night accused Sen. John F. Kerry of disparaging U.S. troops in Iraq, echoing the 2004 strategy of ridiculing the Massachusetts senator to raise anew questions about Democratic leaders and their commitment to the troops. The highly coordinated White House effort came as Republicans sought to shift the focus away from an unpopular war and GOP scandals that are putting their congressional majorities at risk.

So Republicans "sought to shift the focus away from an unpopular war" by calling attention to Kerry's comments on that same war? Whatever, dude. Here's the New York Times:

For at least a few hours on Tuesday, President Bush had a chance to relive his victorious campaign of 2004, taking a break from a bleak Republican campaign season as he attacked Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts over the war in Iraq.

Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who was Mr. Bush's opponent in 2004, is not running for any office this year. But the president seized on what he said were Mr. Kerry's disparaging remarks about the troops at a rally in California--and what Mr. Kerry insisted was little more than a botched joke--as he sought to make Mr. Kerry the face of the Democratic Party this fall.

The New York Sun quotes the boy wonder of the Angry Left:

The angry counterattack from Mr. Kerry, who was the Democratic nominee in 2004 and is considering another presidential run in 2008, seemed likely to endear him to the liberal bloggers who could be influential in selecting the next Democratic nominee.

"Kerry responded perfectly," a leading Democratic blogger, Markos Moulitsas, wrote yesterday.

When we disparage the Angry Left, we invariably get a few emails from people saying that the Angry Left has every reason to be angry, because the Bush administration has been so evil, incompetent or both. For the sake of argument, let's stipulate that that's true. The Angry Left is still guilty of unseriousness. A serious political opposition would respond to an administration's misrule by advancing arguments and alternatives, not by indulging in incoherent rage.

Kerry Cuts and Runs
"The flap over what Sen. John Kerry calls his "botched joke" has prompted the Democrat to cancel campaign appearances over the next two days," MSNBC.com reports:

The Massachusetts senator--and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate--was scheduled to visit Minnesota State University in Mankato to campaign for 1st Congressional District candidate Tim Walz on Wednesday. But the event was cancelled at Kerry's request, according to Meredith Salsbery, a spokeswoman for Walz. . . .

Kerry also canceled a planned appearance Wednesday at a Philadelphia rally with Democratic Senate candidate Bob Casey.

A Kerry spokesman says the campaign "made a decision not to allow the Republican hate machine to use Democratic candidates as proxies is [sic] the distorted spin war."

Meantime, in Iowa's 1st Congressional District, candidate Bruce Braley canceled a campaign event scheduled Thursday, saying that the senator's recent comments about the Iraq war were inappropriate.

Kerry's campaign Web site now lists only "past events," though a screen shot of previously upcoming events is here. The cancellation of Kerry's campaign appearances belies the idea that he is doing himself a service by "fighting back." If this sort of thing really appealed to voters, candidates would be rushing to have him appear. Instead, ABC News quotes an anonymous Democratic congressman as saying, "I guess Kerry wasn't content blowing 2004, now he wants to blow 2006, too." The Dems may be wishing they'd nominated Howard Dean after all.


http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110009178

"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

sirs

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2006, 11:49:27 AM »
Quote
Is there some reason the military is a "sacred cow" that cannot be touched?

Again no. If Kerry wants to bash the troops and call them dumbasses, he is certainly free to do just that.
Wouldn't be the first time he expressed a low opinion of them.


Ain't that the truth
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

_JS

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2006, 11:52:48 AM »
I don't see the problem then.

I don't understand where this feeling that the troops are somehow sacred comes from. It seems to me to stem from the perpetuated myth that Vietnam was lost due to protests at home. And that now everyone has to bow before the idol of the uniform with some sort of religious deference.

I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

BT

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2006, 11:58:16 AM »
Quote
I don't see the problem then.

The problem apparently is that a lot of folks disagree with his assessment. And with the domination of the theory that the actions of an individual reflect upon the groups he belongs to ( Lott says something that could be interpreted as racist, therefore all Republicans are racist) Kerry's remarks reflect on his party and that very well may show up at the polls come election day.

That is why so many dems were quick to distance and vocally disagree with his remarks.

.


sirs

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Re: Kerry Apologizes for 'A Botched Joke'
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2006, 11:59:01 AM »
I don't see the problem then.

I wonder why Dems stated he needed to apologise, and following his proclaimations that he wouldn't, he did?  Go figure
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle