Bush on Offense about Defense

Discussion in 'Politics' started by jimnyc, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. jimnyc

    jimnyc ...

    Aug 28, 2003
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    Now that the presidential political season has begun, President Bush had what is known as a "good week." On the defining issues of this year's race -- defense and homeland security -- President Bush was on offense while Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry was on defense. Kerry suffered through a number of gaffes and actually helped President Bush make the case that Kerry is "wrong on defense."

    Kerry, the "other" senator from Massachusetts who recently was ranked "most liberal" by the independent National Journal, stepped out of cozy confines of the Democratic primary elections and felt the heat of what can be expected between now and November. No longer are his opponents fringe candidates such as Dennis Kucinich or Al Sharpton. Kerry won't have the luxury of watching his opponent implode as did with Howard Dean. In President George W. Bush, Kerry has a seasoned campaigner who won't let any gaffe or flip-flop go unnoticed.

    Bush went on the offensive this past week on the issues of defense and homeland security. The strategy was simple and effective: use Kerry's own voting record to show that the senator is weak on defense and drive home the point that Kerry tries to take both sides of the issues and has "flip flopped" in both his voting and his rhetoric.

    It turns out that President Bush had an easier time than he expected last week thanks to Kerry's own efforts. While Bush was driving home the fact that Sen. Kerry voted against the $87 billion appropriations bill for funding the war in Iraq -- funding that was mostly designated for supporting America's troops -- Kerry was speaking at a town hall meeting where he said, "I actually voted for the $87 billion, before I voted against it."

    Brilliant work, Sen. Kerry. In an effort to explain why he voted to withhold funding for America's servicemen and women, Kerry painted himself as a flip-flopper. This time, he used only one sentence to take both sides of the issue.

    To make matters worse, as Bush's commercials were labeling Kerry as "wrong on defense," the senator's own words from September produced an even more powerful indictment against Sen. Kerry ability to lead on defense issues. Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation during the time of the Senate debate on the $87 billion Iraq funding, Kerry was asked if he would still vote for the funding even if an amendment failed that called for delaying tax cuts to pay for the appropriations.

    In response, Kerry said, "I don't think any United States senator is going to abandon our troops and recklessly leave Iraq to whatever follows as a result of simply cutting and running. That's irresponsible."

    So... Kerry labeled his own actions as "irresponsible" and tantamount to abandoning America's troops. Bush didn't say it; Kerry did.

    Bush has also capitalized on Kerry's claims of support by foreign leaders. Speaking to a Boston Globe reporter, Kerry was quoted as saying that he had support from "foreign leaders." When asked to name names, Kerry refused. Last week, after a review of the tape of the interview, the report said that he misquoted Kerry and that the senator actually said "more leaders" rather than "foreign leaders." However, Kerry stuck with his claims of foreign support.

    Speaking at a campaign rally in Florida, President Bush picked up on the foreign support issue and said, "The other day, here in Florida, he claimed some important endorsements from overseas. He won't tell us the name of the foreign admirers. That's okay, either way I'm not too worried because I'm going to keep my campaign right here in America."

    President Bush also hammered Kerry on his record in the U.S. Senate. "He's an experienced senator and he's built up quite a record," Bush said. "In fact, Senator Kerry has been in Washington long enough to take both sides on just about every issue."

    Bush continued, "Senator Kerry voted for the Patriot Act, for NAFTA, for the No Child Left Behind Act, and for the use of force in Iraq. Now he opposes the Patriot Act, NAFTA, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the liberation of Iraq. My opponent clearly feels strongly about each of these issues. So strongly that one position is never just enough."

    It's only March, and Kerry is realizing the cold fact that he has amassed a sizable voting record -- a record that will be scrutinized and which has already yielded plenty of ammunition for the Bush reelection team. President Bush has a record as well, and in this early round of the heavyweight politics, Bush scored the first jabs by being able to go after Kerry's record and forcing Kerry to be on the defensive. Bush's efforts were aided by Kerry's own words which only made matters worse for the Democratic nominee. There is probably a sign in Kerry campaign headquarters that now reads, "Don't attack yourself." It's good advice, and I doubt the senator will take it.


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