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John Kerry

excerpts from the Iowa Daily Report

February 2003

“KERRY acknowledged that some voters in Massachusetts, the nation’s most Irish-American state, may have had the impression that he had Irish roots… Numerous publications, including the Globe, have stated that KERRY is Irish-American…KERRY is a practicing Catholic who said he disagrees with his church on some issues, such as abortion.” Excerpts from Boston Globe story after a genealogy specialist hired by the Globe determined that KERRY’s grandfather was born Jewish. (The Boston Globe, 2/2)

“The Los Angeles Times reported that the share of Americans favoring President Bush’s re-election in 2004 has fallen below 50%, while Sens. Joseph I. LIEBERMAN of Connecticut and John KERRY of Massachusetts have emerged as leaders for the Democratic nomination to oppose him, according to the paper’s poll. Only 45% of registered voters said they are now likely to support Bush. While 40% said they were inclined to back the Democratic nominee. Fifteen percent said they don’t now lean in either direction.” (, 2/5)

MORE: KERRY said with such “strong evidence” against Iraq, the White House should work with its allies and prepare for an immediate strike. LIEBERMAN is calling for military action in coming weeks, saying that U. N. support would not be needed in the case of what he called Iraq’s “dangerous lawlessness.” (AP, 2/5)

In the Battle of New Hampshire Neighbors, DEAN is No. 2 among likely voters in the Democratic primary – but is doing well among independent voters. A recent American Research Group poll indicated that KERRY was leading DEAN 27-25 among likely Democratic voters. But, according to an AP report out of Concord, DEAN had “a slight edge among the 38 percent of registered New Hampshire voters who identify themselves as independents – and the state lets independents vote in either party’s primary.” (AP, 2/5)

“Sen. John KERRY, D-Mass., put his newly discovered roots to political use last night, appearing before a Jewish audience and explained that he has a personal reason to care about Israel; both his paternal grandparents were Jewish, and had changed their name from Kohn in 1902. Genealogists hired by the Boston Globe this week revealed KERRY’s ancestry, which was news to him. While talking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, KERRY used his newfound ancestry to connect with Jewish voters.” (, 2/5)

“Democrats said Thursday (2/6) that President Bush, in a push against Iraq, is ignoring a potentially greater danger in North Korea’s advancing nuclear program.” BIDEN, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: “Mr. President Bush, please, please, if you don’t want to enunciate it, in your mind Mr. President, treat this as a crisis because it is, if not contained.” At a committee hearing, KERRY accused the Bush administration if having a “fuzzy policy.” He contended the administration had taken all options off the table, including use of force and economic pressures. (AP, 2/6)

Under the heading, HILLARY Clinton Leads Dem Pack for President, the national Quinnipiac University poll finds that HILLARY gets 42 percent of Democratic vote, compared to 15 percent for her nearest rival, LIEBERMAN. KERRY and GEPHARDT get 11 percent each, followed by EDWARDS with 7%, DEAN 3% and SHARPTON 2%. The director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, Maurice Carroll, said, “Put Sen. HILLARY Clinton in the mix -- even though she says she is not running for President – and she sweeps the Democratic field.” MORE: Without HILLARY, the 2000 vice presidential candidate leads the pack with 27 percent, KERRY has 18 percent, and GEPHARDT 16%, EDWARDS 14%, SHARPTON 6% and DEAN 3%. NOTE: From 1/29-2/3. Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,307 American voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent. The survey includes 441 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4/7 percent. (Quinnipiac University news release,, 2/6)

KERRY “is the Democrat’s strongest hope to defeat President Bush in 2004, providing Mr. KERRY can ‘break the bubble’ of public support Mr. Bush enjoys on foreign policy issues, said Jerry McEntee, chairman of the AFL-CIO’s political committee and president of one of its largest unions.” McEntee, president of AFSCME, told AP reporters and editors that KERRY has been “quite aggressive” since forming his presidential exploratory committee. He said KERRY’s status as a Vietnam War hero also makes him the best Democrat to counter an expected effort by GWB to make foreign policy and the war on terrorism central issues in 2004. (Inside Politics, The Washington Times, 2/6)

From an Associated Press summary of political situation in the “early” states: “IOWA: The state that holds caucuses tentatively set for Jan. 19, 2004, is drawing plenty of attention from the field. Some have been surprised at the effort put in by Massachusetts Sen. John KERRY after Missouri Rep. Dick GEPHARDT was believed to have the early advantage. With strong ties to labor and Midwestern roots, GEPHARDT could expect to have a big advantage in Iowa. But KERRY has been in “a full-court press” in the state, said state Democratic chairman Gordon Fischer. A poll done for an interest group recently showed GEPHARDT and KERRY in the lead, though polling for the caucuses is difficult…. Former Vermont Gov. Howard DEAN is spending more time in the early states than any of the better-known candidates and could be a factor…. Valuable endorsements could come from either Gov. Tom Vilsack or Sen. Tom Harkin, but both will probably wait until later to decide what they will do.” (AP, 2/7)

“On a New Hampshire Web site dedicated to the 2004 race, almost a third of the 105 top party activists had chosen a candidate. KERRY and EDWARDS had nine apiece, GEPHARDT six, DEAN and LIEBERMAN three and former NATO commander Wesley CLARK, who is not currently a candidate, one.” (Will Lester, AP, 2/7)

“Addressing the 59th annual Congressional Dinner for the Washington Press Club Foundation Wednesday night, Sen. John “Media Darling” McCain, Arizona Republican, saw fit to bestow nicknames on two new Democratic presidential aspirants, who also happened to be named John. As for the Massachusetts Democrat who married into the Heinz ketchup fortune, he should now be referred to as Sen. John “57 Varieties” KERRY, while Sen. John “Pretty Boy” EDWARDS is a name that speaks for itself.” (Inside the Beltway, The Washington Times, 2/7)

KERRY “accused the Bush administration of putting special interests ahead of the environment and called for a renewed national commitment to clean air, water and land,” according to an Associated Press report. In remarks prepared for a speech at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston on 2/9, KERRY said: “Corporate polluters have found that in the Bush administration the doors of government are wide open…the result was the biggest retreat on environmental protection in a generation.” (AP, 2/9)

DEAN “criticized his rivals for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination Saturday (2/8) for their positions on potential war with Iraq and continued his attack on President Bush’s handling of the crisis. DEAN said it was disingenuous for Democrats who voted for a resolution authorizing use of force in Iraq to criticize Bush’s war posture while campaigning for president.” EDWARDS, GEPHARDT, KERRY voted for the resolution. (Thomas Beaumont, Des Moines Sunday Register, 2/9)

Under the heading “The Democratic quagmire,” columnist Ellen Ratner wrote: “…if you analyze the trend of Sen. John KERRY’s remarks about the war, it looks like the EKG of a man in cardiac fibrillation – he’s for it, he’s against it, he wants it, he doubts it, it’s wise, it’s stupid, it’s pop-goes-the-weasel. This picture begins to resemble one of Vincent Van Gogh’s late self-portraits, painted after he had gone insane – brilliant, colorful but disordered.” (Columnist Ellen Ratner,, 2/10)

“Discovering one’s Jewish ancestry is suddenly all the rage in the Democratic Party. You will recall that when she assayed the possibilities of winning a Senate seat from New York, HILLARY Clinton disclosed that some distant relation had been Jewish…that was nothing compared with former NATO commander Gen. Wesley CLARK. CLARK, who has so far merely showed a little ankle in the presidential sweepstakes, has proclaimed that he descends from “generations of rabbis in Minsk. Ah yes, the Minsk Clarks…Generations of rabbis may be hard to outbid, but John KERRY – that is John Forbes KERRY – has managed it. He claims no distant relations but instead an actual parental grandfather.” (Columnist Mona Charen,, 2/11

Is it an omen? On 2/11, a KERRY Blue Terrier won the Westminister Dog Show in New York City.

Greg Pierce reports the “Democratic presidential hopefuls are busy trying to win the hearts of Hollywood’s liberal elite.” He wrote that, according to the Los Angeles Times, Rob Reiner arrived at his office the day after Al GORE bowed out of the 2004 presidential race he found three messages awaiting – from DEAN, KERRY and LIEBERMAN. Reiner also has visited with EDWARDS and GEPHARDT. (Greg Pierce, Inside Politics, The Washington Times, 2/12)

KERRY expected to be in hospital about three days and will be “running, not literally, but running for the presidency as soon as he possibly can” – probably about two weeks. (CNN’s Candy Crowley, Inside Politics, CNN, 2/11) In Iowa, KERRY’s state campaign director John Norris says prostate surgery will prevent his candidate from making Iowa visit during Presidents Day recess. KERRY plans to be in state next on March 8 for annual Drake Supreme Court activities. (The Des Moines Register sidebar, 2/12)

“…HART deserves an enduring place in Democratic history as the campaign manager and architect of George McGovern’s 1972 nomination…The coming election is going to force the Democratic Party to make a decision. If it wants to be trusted again on national security, it needs to pick a candidate who supports America’s right to go to war – with or without U. N. approval – without ideological ifs or partisan buts. Or it can choose somebody, such as DODD or KERRY, who just isn’t sure what’s right.  In which case, the Democrats might as well nominate HART and let him finish in 2004 what he and McGovern began in 1972.” (Columnist Zev Chafets, New York Daily News, 2/2; Reprinted in Des Moines Register, 2/12)

KERRY on his prostate surgery – and presidential opponent: “I wasn’t worried until they told me the assisting physician for my surgery was Dr. Howard DEAN.” (Washington Whispers, U. S. News,, 2/17)

In Greenville, S.C., “As SHARPTON rose to leave, the white manager of the restaurant stopped him for a quick photo. The reverend obliged, and then, cruising past his waiting entourage on his way to the restroom, mumbled dryly, ‘He thought I was John KERRY.’” (“Black Power,” Michelle Cottle, The New Republic,, 2/17)

“Insiders expect Sen. John KERRY (D-Mass.) to run one of the meanest presidential campaigns in memory, having just hired Mike Gehrke, chief of ‘opposition research’ for the Clinton White House, to dig up dirt on his opponents.” (The Insider, Insight Magazine, 2/18)

“The Democrats are coming, the Democrats are coming – Democratic presidential wannabes, that is, who are leaving the campaign trail ever so briefly to address the party leadership in Washington. Always looking to make a buck, the financially depleted Democratic National Committee, we’re told, is preparing to peddle an ‘exclusive video’ of the 2004 declared candidates ‘going head to head’: Howard DEAN, John EDWARDS, Dick GEPHARDT, John KERRY, Joe LIEBERMAN, Al SHARPTON and perhaps Carol MOSELEY-BRAUN. The DNC will sell the video for a ‘contribution’ of $75, which by the way is not tax deductible.” (John McCaslin, Inside the Beltway, The Washington Times, 2/18)

Is something missing here – like a prospective Dem presidential candidate most Democrats have a favorable impression of as their nominee?  The latest CNN-TIME poll indicates that less that half of the nation’s leading Democrats (49%) have a favorable view of LIEBERMAN, who also – and ironically -- ranks as their top presidential prospect. The CNN-TIME poll, according to an Associated Press report, indicated that LIEBERMAN topped the Dems with 16% while GEPHARDT had 13%. Others: KERRY at 8%, EDWARDS and SHARPTON at 7%, MOSELEY-BRAUN at 4%, DEAN and GRAHAM at 3% and KUCINICH 2%. But, the CNN-TIME poll of 529 Democrats or those who lean Democrat (margin of error: +/- 4%) indicated that HILLARY was viewed favorably by 72% while LIEBERMAN got a 49% favorable and GEPHARDT was at 41% favorable. (CNN/TIME/AP, CNN-TIME survey,,, 2/21)

From the Associated Press – Nedra Pickler byline -- report on the DNC winter meetings: “EDWARDS, KERRY, GEPHARDT and Sen. Joe LIEBERMAN support use of military force in Iraq. ‘I know of a lot of you here don’t agree on this, but I do believe Saddam Hussein must be disarmed,’ EDWARDS said. DNC members, interviewed after the last of the [presidential candidate speeches], said all the candidates helped themselves, some more than others. GEPHARDT, whose candidacy had seemed stalled coming into the meeting, impressed many activists with a speech that contained more policy initiatives than his rivals and more passion than they’re accustomed from him. DEAN’s speech, in which he accused Democratic leaders of going soft on Bush, appealed to the left wing of the party. But he left activists wondering whether his anti-war, liberal message could beat the Republican president. (Nedra Pickler, AP, 2/22)

Veteran Washington journalist Donald Lambro on the DNC winter meeting: Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said that “Dean won the day hands down,” adding that his feisty delivery and anti-war rhetoric “could carry the day in many state primaries.” But she did not see his anti-war agenda “winning the White House, because people want to be sure that we protect our national security and our homeland.” (Donald Lambro,, The Washington Times, 2/22)

“To understand why Democrats lack credibility in the war against terror, consider the under-reported comments of current Presidential front-runner John KERRY. Asked after a February 9 Boston speech (televised later on C-SPAN) about the U. S. war on drugs, Senator KERRY referred to the recent bombing at the Club Nogal in Bogata, Columbia, ‘It seems to be a renewal of the kind of chaos fueled partly by guerillas who have legitimate complaints and the combination of drugs and war and drug lords,’ he said (our emphasis). The guerillas in question are Columbia’s notorious FRAC terrorists, whose Club Nogal bomb killed 35 innocent civilians.” (Editorial, Opinion Journal, The Wall Street Journal,, 2/24)

“To take back the White House in 2004, any Democratic candidate is going to have to convince voters that he or she is serious about the war on terror. The start of being serious is to drop all the socio-babble about root causes and ‘complaints,’ and declare that we’ll kill them before they kill us. Joe LIEBERMAN and Dick GEPHARDT have shown signs they understand this. Senator KERRY has a long way to go.” (Editorial,, The Wall Street Journal,, 2/24)

“KERRY’s emergence as the early front-runner in the race is a mixed bag for the other candidates. The person it hurts the most is probably Joe LIEBERMAN …KERRY has consistently been a step ahead of the Connecticut senator in the places where LIEBERMAN should have had the edge. While LIEBERMAN sat on the sidelines of the race last year, clinging to his pledge not to run if Al GORE did, KERRY hired some of the best talent from the GORE/LIEBERMAN operation.” (Ryan Lizza, The New Republic,, 2/24)

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