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Iowa Presidential Watch's

The Democrat Candidates

Holding the Democrats accountable today, tomorrow...forever.

John Kerry

excerpts from the Iowa Daily Report

October 1-15, 2003

Union Leader online article from the Associated Press, “Dean tops Kerry, Clark in NH poll”. Excerpts: “Howard Dean topped John Kerry by 9 points in a new poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters, with newcomer Wesley Clark speeding past the other seven Democratic presidential contenders. Dean was the choice for 26 percent of voters, followed by Kerry with 17 percent and Clark with 10 percent, according to the poll by WHDH-TV and Suffolk University conducted between Sept. 26-28. The poll was released Monday. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut had 7 percent and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri were at 6 percent. The remaining candidates were at 2 percent or fewer. A Suffolk poll conducted in March showed Kerry leading with 32 percent of the vote, Lieberman second with 17 percent and Dean third with 10 percent. The new poll numbers are similar to a poll conducted Sept. 24-25 and released Friday by Zogby International that showed Dean leading Kerry by a 10-point margin and Clark in third with 10 percent of likely Democratic primary voters. The latest poll shows Dean has crossed an important bridge in his bid to win New Hampshire, according to Suffolk University adjunct professor and pollster David Paleologos. "This is a wake-up call for John Kerry," Paleologos said. "Kerry needs to reconnect with the voters that once supported him." The poll also found Dean's popularity strong, with a favorable rating of 61 percent, while only 14 percent rated him unfavorably. Clark's strong numbers despite his recent entrance into the race shows the retired general has room to boost his support as he continues to introduce himself to New Hampshire voters, Paleologos said. In other results, the poll of likely Democratic voters found 56 percent said it was not worth going to war in Iraq and 64 percent opposed President Bush's request for $87 billion to help rebuild Iraq. The poll of 400 New Hampshire Democrats who said they were likely to cast a ballot on primary day, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 27, 2004, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. (10/01/2003)

Washington Post online article by Nedra Pickler, “Hart Endorses Kerry’s White House Bid”. Excerpts: “Gary Hart, the former Colorado senator who sought the presidency twice in the 1980s, announced Tuesday that he is backing Democrat John Kerry's White House bid. Hart, who toyed with running for president again this year but decided against it in May, said Kerry is the best qualified to be president in the field of 10 Democrats because of his experience in foreign policy, budget negotiations and the military as a Vietnam veteran. "It takes years of preparation and we just don't hold our candidates to that standard," Hart said. But while backing Kerry, Hart said he told the presidential hopeful that he doesn't think endorsements mean much in the presidential race. Still, Kerry said Hart has "a voice of consequence, of real weight" and contributes unique expertise in national security and grass-roots politics. Hart's first presidential campaign was in 1984, the same year Kerry was elected senator from Massachusetts. Kerry and Hart served together for two years until Hart left the Senate, but said they have known each other since the early '70s. Hart served as George McGovern's campaign manager in the 1972 Democratic nominee's unsuccessful bid for the presidency. Hart was elected to the Senate in 1974. Hart won the New Hampshire presidential primary in 1984, but lost the nomination to Walter Mondale. In the warmup to the 1988 race, Hart was off to a fast start but was forced out after stories surfaced of his extramarital involvement with model Donna Rice. During his 15 years out of politics, Hart has been busy practicing law, writing more than a dozen books - both fiction and nonfiction - and offering his expertise on the military and national security. He was co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on National Security, which warned several months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that the United States faced a clear threat of foreign attack on U.S. soil that would kill thousands. Democratic leaders in Colorado have spoken with Hart about running next year against Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Hart said he wants Democratic Rep. Mark Udall to run. Asked what he would do if Udall doesn't run, Hart said, "We'll have to see about that."  (10/01/2003)

John Kerry adds another strategist to his campaign entourage: Jill Alper. San Francisco Chronicle  is carrying the story. Excerpts: “Democratic strategist Jill Alper is joining John Kerry's campaign full-time to help plan and implement strategy. "Jill's portfolio is extremely broad, but it's best described as strategic planning and driving the implementation of that strategy," said campaign manager Jim Jordan. "She's enormously talented and experienced, and John Kerry feels himself very fortunate to have her play a major role in this campaign." Alper has informally advised Kerry and his staff for more than two years. Her full-time status signals that Kerry is broadening his campaign team as next year's primaries approach. Alper, 38, worked for then-Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign and is a former top strategist at the Democratic National Committee.  (10/02/2003)

The Democratic National Committee meeting in Washington D.C. proved to be easy ground for the 2004 presidential candidates. According to an article in the Des Moines Register, by Jane Norman, candidates Wesley Clark, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich and Carol Moseley Braun took aim at President Bush – and also each other…Wesley Clark said he is pro-affirmative action, pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-education and pro-health care. "If that ain't a Democrat, I must be at the wrong meeting," he said. "There was only one place for me, and I want to tell you, it is great to be home." Sen. John Kerry said that his opposition to Bush "is not a commitment I made in the last few weeks or last year, or that I stumbled across in the course of this campaign" and that he "stood against" both presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Kerry also said he and the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" opposed the Contract With America and former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1994, appropriating a phrase often used by Dean. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said Republicans once were the party of Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower, but "today they are the party of Rush Limbaugh and Arnold Schwarzenegger." "That's the party of values?" said Lieberman. Howard Dean said he wants a president "who's going to appeal to the very best in us and not the very worst," and that "we have been silent too long." Democrats are out of power in the White House and Congress because "we didn't stand up for what we believed in," Dean said. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio said he led opposition to the war among House Democrats, in defiance of a leadership that includes Gephardt. "I believe we truly represented the feelings of millions of Americans," Kucinich said. "It is time to bring the troops home." Former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun said the voters "are ready to embrace a clear alternative to George Bush."  (10/04/2003)

Presidential candidate John Kerry has found more dirt – radioactive dirt -- to fling at rival Howard Dean. This time, Kerry says Dean showed “environmental and ethnic insensitivity” during his tenure as governor of Vermont. According to a Des Moines Register article by Thomas Beaumont, Kerry is pointing to a 1993 agreement by the state of Vermont to send its nuclear waste material to Texas town Sierra Blanca – a town whose population is predominately Hispanic. Howard Dean’s response? According to the article, Dean says he was just following orders – federal orders that require disposal of nuclear waste. Dean says Vermont didn’t choose the site, Texas did. Meanwhile, Kerry is pointing his finger at Dean and declaring Dean should have objected to the site’s location. BY THE WAY -- as it turned out, the nuclear dumpsite was never built in Sierra Blanca. The permit to build was tossed out by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission due to “geological instability.” Where did the Vermont nuclear waste end up? South Carolina. [EDITOR’S NOTE: wonder what John Edwards has to say about that…] (10/04/2003)

John Kerry was in Iowa yesterday, in a long day of campaigning that included visits to Council Bluffs, Dunlap and Buena Vista College in Storm Lake. (article in today’s Des Moines Register, by staff writer Jonathan Roos) Taking aim at his No. 1 Rival, Howard Dean, Kerry rubbed still more salt in the Dean-Medicare sore. Dean’s sore spot is, as has been infinitely reported by the nation’s media, the ‘Dean is a Newt [Gingrich]’ taunt. For Howard Dean, that’s tantamount to calling him a, well, traitor. Kerry’s Dean-esque scare tactics were tossed at Iowa’s seniors yesterday. And there’ll be more today – Kerry is campaigning in Sioux City, Le Mars, Cherokee and Sheldon. Iowa’s population is overwhelming elderly. And they hold great sway in the nominating process, turning out in the highest percentage to attend the caucuses and vote. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Kerry is touting his "Compact with America's Seniors" -- where he outlines his stance on Medicare (he says he'll get 'real' RX prescription coverage, among other claims aimed at making seniors take note and vote), Social Security (he says the usual stuff to that pleases any retiree), and extending long term healthcare benefits. Sounds rosy, but when the rubber meets the road... how will he deliver this Fairytale for Seniors?] (10/06/2003)

John Kerry campaigned hard in Iowa yesterday – with scant evidence thereof in the media. However, a Sioux City, Iowa NBC affiliate {KTIV} has reported Kerry was pushing his plan for seniors in Sioux City. KTIV also says Kerry visited Cherokee, LeMars, and Sheldon. As reported in yesterday’s IPW News, Kerry is touting his “Compact with America’s Seniors.” Kerry’s Iowa visit also showed up in the Sioux City Journal who reported that Kerry once again entered into his attack on the wealthy. Chief executives of drug companies, Kerry said, are earning multi-million dollar salaries while average Americans are struggling to pay their bills. He said President George W. Bush and his administration are fighting to protect those who are the most protected and comfortable at the expense of everybody else. The system is backwards, Kerry said, adding that he will fight for the average person. Also during his campaign stop Tuesday, Kerry criticized President Bush's foreign policy, claiming that Bush is creating terrorists in the current war on terro (10/08/2003)

What’s the latest joke in Campaign Land? “How is John Kerry’s campaign like Noah’s Ark?  answer: Both of two of everything.  Rimmmm shot! OnPolitic’s story today, by Washington Post staff writer Paul Farhi, states the facts of the joke,  err – case. Recounting Kerry’s official announcement of his candidacy for president of the United States (you know – the Bush copycat one with the aircraft carrier), Team Kerry had not one but two speeches prepared. As the Day of Announcement arrived, the speech written by Jim Jordan (campaign manager) and Chris Lehane (comm.. dir.) got a big Kerry thumbs down. But not to worry – Kerry already had an alternate speech to use, written by top adviser Bob Shrum. Excerpts from Farhi’s article: “The rivalry and duplication may also help explain the persistent criticism of Kerry – both from Democratic Party operatives and from the media – that his campaign lacks focus, speed and discipline.” (10/09/2003)

… In a very well worded piece in today’s Boston Globe, writer Patrick Healy takes a long, hard look at courting of Iowa’s elderly voters by Democratic hopefuls. The conclusion: “to many elderly Iowans, who make up a powerful voting bloc in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses in January, the leading Democrats like Kerry and Dean have so far been speaking in abstractions: Save Medicare. Preserve Social Security. Create a prescription drug benefit for the elderly. [IPW NOTE: see IPW’s Fairytales for Seniors] Their attacks on each other – especially Kerry’s and Representative Richard A. Gephardt’s salvos that Dean supported deep cuts in Medicare in 1995 – are less persuasive, or relevant, than the day to day, dollars and cents anxieties that keep many at the Siouxland Senior Center awake at night…. Some elderly Iowans say they are bewildered by recent criticism by Kerry and Gephardt of Dean’s comments, in 1995, praising a congressional Republican proposal to cut the growth of Medicare spending…seniors say they are disappointed that the debate over health care today seems to be largely reduced to a Medicare battle eight years ago.” Healy’s article focused on John Kerry, who was in Iowa to talk to seniors about his health agenda. (10/09/2003)

Who gets the bounty of staff left over from the Bob Graham withdrawal from the Presidential Race? According to an article in today’s Des Moines Register, by Thomas Beaumont, here is the situation so far…

  • Wesley Clark’s campaign:
    Steve Bouchard, Graham’s New Hampshire campaign director – HIRED in same capacity
    Julie Stauch, Graham’s Iowa political director – contacted
    Sarah Benzing,
    Graham’s Iowa field director – contacted
  • John Kerry’s campaign:
    Julie Stauch, --
  • Howard Dean’s campaign:
    Sarah Benzing – contacted
  • John Edwards’ campaign:
    Sarah Benzing -- contacted

… Following directly on the heals of last night’s DNC-sponsored presidential debate in Arizona comes the NAACP debate today in South Carolina. As reported Wednesday in the IPW Daily Report, South Carolina NAACP president James Gallman objected to the lack of presidential candidates responding to the cattle call to all, prompting a hasty inclusion of more of the pack of nine. It appears that there are still three holdout, however: John Kerry, Wesley Clark and Howard Dean (whose loyal web log ‘bloggers’ say should get legitimate pass on this one – he promised his daughter he would  Clark  (10/10/2003)

Kid glove treatment was clearly over regarding newcomer candidate Wesley Clark.  Knocked off the newcomer pedestal when Joe Lieberman said he was “very disappointed” by Clark’s changing positions on Iraq (the flip-flops of which began the very day Clark entered the race), Clark responded by saying, “I think it’s really embarrassing that a group of candidates up here are working on changing the leadership in this country and can’t get their own story straight.” Wasn’t that what Lieberman’s point? -- that Clark was not getting his story straight? Political veteran Lieberman flashed Clark a ‘Lieberman grin’ and replied, “Wesley Clark… welcome to the Democratic presidential race. None of us are above questioning. That’s what this is all about.” Clark’s inability to discern the negative from the valid was evident, as he put in yet another amateur performance. Clark has no prior experience running for any political office. News articles abound today, covering the debate from various angles. Here is a hefty helping of them. Click away!

·        Des Moines Register (written by AP writer Nedra Pickler)

·        NationalReview (written by Byron York)

·        BostonGlobe (written by Patrick Healy and Glen Johnson)

·        WashingtonPost (a long article, written by Dan Balz),

·        WashingtonTimes (by Stephen Dinan)

·        New York Times (this is a rather dry, excerpts only article – missing a lot of comments)

·        New York Times, again (written by Katharine Seelye and Jodi Wilgoren)

·        New Hampshire’s The UnionLeader (using the AP story by Ron Fournier)

·        CNN (who broadcasted the debate)

·        FoxNews (an early in the evening AP story)

·        and for those who really want to know… the complete transcript of the debate


Kerry’s newest target – Wal-Mart. Kerry says Wat-Mart’s treatment of its employees is ‘disgraceful.’ The rhetoric aimed at the nation’s largest private employer was used as Kerry pushed his health insurance plan. The Union Leader picks up the article as Associated Press writer Holly Ramer offers the details from Kerry’s visit to Newmarket, New Hampshire: “The Massachusetts senator was explaining his plan to workers at Russound when one asked how he could help part-time employees of large retail chains who are ineligible for benefits. Linda Mariotti didn't mention a particular chain, but Kerry did, accusing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of luring workers in with the promise of health insurance then urging them to enroll in government health programs for the poor. "They advertise Medicaid for their workers rather than provide them absolutely with the help. I think it's disgraceful, and I think we need a president who's prepared to help shed light," Kerry said. "I think Wal-Mart's health care practices are unconscionable, and the way they treat employees is not fair." Wal-Mart and other companies that employ such practices should be punished by losing some of their tax deductions, Kerry said. "They throw a lot of money around, they get a lot of things happening, but it ain't necessarily good for the community," he said. "We need to stand up and demand they behave corporately responsibly." A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart said Kerry "simply does not know what he is talking about. "It's irresponsible," said Mona Williams, vice president for communications. "I don't know where Sen. Kerry's getting his facts, but someone better do their homework before he talks about Wal-Mart again." (10/11/2003)

John Kerry, still in the come-from-behind challenge category -- campaigned yesterday in New Hampshire. The Union Leader carries this report on the latest Kerry  effort: “EXETER — Still trying to catch up with fellow New Englander Howard Dean in the polls, Sen. John Kerry yesterday emphasized his experience during a Presidential campaign stop before a historic backdrop. The Massachusetts Democrat, speaking to more than 100 people, including a large group of students from the nearby Phillips Exeter Academy, on the grounds of the American Independence Museum, said he alone among the field of nine Democratic candidates had the right combination of political, military, foreign policy and intelligence skills to qualify him to serve as President — a position that he called inappropriate for “on-the-job training.” … Offering his own solutions to an array of national problems, Kerry proposed:

  • Paying college students for four years of in-state public tuition in exchange for two years of service to the country upon graduation.
  • Several health-care initiatives, including allowing citizens to buy into the same health insurance plan available to senators and congressmen; providing insurance coverage for every child; enabling those ages 55 to 65 to buy into Medicare; and setting up a $35-billion federal fund to pay 75 percent of the cost of catastrophic health care, which he said would enable companies to lower their insurance premiums and reduce individual copay requirements.
  • Renewing a national commitment to “science and discovery” that he contends would create jobs.
  • Shifting tax breaks away from wealthier Americans to the middle class.
  • Earmarking $20 million for an energy conservation trust fund to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, foreign oil cartels and private companies that control prices.  (10/11/2003)

James Taranto’s Best of the Web column gives his take -- and some others’ -- on the debate Thursday night in Arizona. Excerpts:

“Yeah, we sat through last night's Democratic debate, but somehow all the excitement is gone now that Bob Graham has dropped out of the race. Watching Graham was like watching a high-wire act; despite his perfectly balanced persona, you knew that at any minute he could stumble into saying something totally insane.

Still, there were some highlights.

·        John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam, managed to cite his Vietnam service in the course of a rare quintuple pander (to two ethnic groups and three states): ‘Can I say that when I was serving in Vietnam on a small boat, the one thing I learned was nobody asked you where you came from. Nobody worried about your background. You fought together, you lived together and you bled together. And I came back here to a country where I saw a whole bunch of people who'd served in Vietnam discriminated against, a lot of them from Arizona, a lot of them from New Mexico, Southern California, because Latinos and African-Americans I saw were drafted and on the front lines in far greater numbers than my friends from Yale or other people.’
Way to go, Senator.

·        Dick Gephardt, meanwhile, seemed to be losing his mind. Here's what he had to say about Iraq: ‘[The president] keeps saying we've got 30 countries helping us. Yes, Togo sent one soldier. That isn't what we need. We need France, Germany, Russia. There's only three countries in the world that can give us both the financial and the military help that we need.’
Only three countries? That's rather insulting to Britain and Australia, is it not?

·        National Review's Byron York nicely sums up another Gephardt blooper. A woman in the audience who owns a restaurant asked what Gephardt would do to ease the tax burden on small businesses. Gephardt replied that he would raise their taxes by repealing all the Bush tax cuts, then promised that his health-care plan would cover 60% of the cost of providing insurance to her employees. "The problem was, almost anybody watching could guess that Bobby C's Lounge and Grille, like many small businesses, probably didn't have a full-scale employee health-care plan," York writes. "Even John Kerry could figure that one out." Ouch!

·        Wesley Clark provided more evidence that he's not ready for prime time. The Washington Post describes how he responded when opponents faulted him for flip-flopping on Iraq: Said Clark: "I think it's really embarrassing that a group of candidates up here are working on changing the leadership in this country and can't get their own story straight." He noted that his position has been "very, very clear" throughout the debate over going to war. "I would never have voted for war," he said. "The war was an unnecessary war, it was an elective war, and it's been a huge strategic mistake for this country." But Clark was attacked because on the day after he announced his candidacy he told reporters that he "probably" would have voted for the resolution. The next day, he reversed himself and said he would not have supported it.”   (10/11/2003)

… John Kerry’s New Hampshire campaigning found good reception in Warner. According to the Union Leader today, Kerry is positioning himself as ‘the steadfast Democrat among those seeking the nomination.’ More excerpts: “I am the only candidate running for this job of President who brings 35 years of demonstrated experience and willingness to stand up and fight for the values of the Democratic Party — not a two-week commitment; 35 years of having stood up and fought,” Kerry said … Kerry promised to scour the tax code if he were elected President. “We are going to take out any loophole or any tax incentive for anybody who takes their company overseas at the expense of American jobs.” Kerry cited Tyco as an example. “Just by moving its address to Bermuda, (Tyco) can take $400 million off the tax code in the United States and stick every single one of you with the bill,” Kerry said. … He told the crowd he was a fiscal conservative. … Some people questioned Kerry’s commitment to the development of hybrid automobiles. Kerry said he’d buy one if it were a domestic model. Others challenged Kerry on his support in the fight to stop the spread of AIDS worldwide. “He really seems to know where he stands on the issues,” said Robert Block of Concord. Block spoke with Kerry and decided he would vote for him. …“This part of the state doesn’t get a chance to see a lot of candidates come through,” said Derek Lick of Sutton. “You see them in Concord and Manchester, but he’s taking an interest in the Kearsarge region,” Lick said of Kerry.  (10/12/2003)

John Kerry continued to hammer on Dr. Dean, saying the doctor-Governor tried to kick Vermont seniors off their Rx drug plan. Today’s (OnPolitics) carries the story, written by Ceci Connolly, headlined, “Kerry Criticizes Dean’s ’02 Gambit.” Excerpts: “In poker, it's called a bluff -- or at least that is the way Howard Dean and some neutral observers characterized his threats in early 2002 to kill a prescription drug program for 3,000 senior citizens. Presenting his final budget as governor of Vermont, Dean proposed eliminating the discount program to help close a budget gap. He says it was a strategic maneuver aimed at forcing the state legislature to adopt his proposed cigarette tax increase. But Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry's opposition research team has a different interpretation. During a televised Democratic presidential candidates debate in Phoenix late Thursday, CNN moderator Judy Woodruff told Dean that Kerry's campaign aides were distributing a flier that accused him of trying to "kick Vermont seniors off their prescription drug plan." "That's silly, of course," Dean replied. "What I did try to do was get a cigarette tax past the Republican House. They wouldn't pass them. I told them if they didn't pass a cigarette tax to pay for our health care program, then they wouldn't be able to fund seniors' prescriptions. "They passed the cigarette tax, as I knew they would." Kerry brushed off Dean's silliness claim, declaring: "It's what he did. I mean, it's sad. But he in fact, in order to balance his budget, terminated -- called for the full termination of what was called the VScript program." So who is right? Both, of course. … Several Vermont newspapers said at the time that Dean's intentions were obvious. "Dean's proposal puts pressure on lawmakers to increase the cigarette tax," wrote the Burlington Free Press, describing the move as the "opening gambit in what will be a fierce chess match between the governor and the Legislature."  But others pointed out that if the legislature adopted his 2002 budget as submitted, the program would have died. (10/12/2003)

… Ah, the secret alliances that form behind the scenes of the Democratic presidential race! Often said, and often true: Politics makes strange bed fellows… Witness this report, published yesterday in the New York Times, headlined, “2 Dean Rivals Unite Against Mutual Threat.” Excerpts: “Perhaps it was not so surprising to see Representative Richard A. Gephardt and Senator John Kerry arm in arm, all smiles, whispering in each other's ears on stage at the Democratic debate Thursday night in Phoenix. These two presidential contenders, who for months have been eclipsed by the surging campaign of Howard Dean, have been fairly chummy of late — at Dr. Dean's expense. At a debate two weeks ago in New York, for example, when Mr. Gephardt questioned Dr. Dean's support for Medicare, it was Mr. Kerry who came to Mr. Gephardt's side, saying his tactic was fair. Aides to both men say there is no overt conspiracy, but they acknowledge that at least at a staff level, the Gephardt and Kerry campaigns are more than friendly: they are sharing information about Dr. Dean that helps fuel each another's attacks. On Sept. 30, for instance, both campaigns fired off press releases within 18 minutes of each other touting a column in The Boston Globe critical of Dr. Dean. Shortly before, according to Steve Elmendorf, Mr. Gephardt's chief of staff, he and Jim Jordan, Mr. Kerry's campaign manager, told each other of the column by e-mail. … Part of what is going on, campaign workers say, is the normal result of an information age in which staff members are in constant communication by personal e-mail devices and cell phones about everything from agreeing to joint appearances by their candidates to reacting to news coverage. … For the two candidates, attacking Dr. Dean may be a matter of survival, said Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. "There is a great danger that Dean could neutralize Gephardt in Iowa, and then neutralize Kerry in New Hampshire, and then even if Dean stumbles later on, they can't recover from that," he said. "So it is manifestly in their interest to make sure that the stumble occurs before Iowa and New Hampshire.""It's the Beltway boys hanging out together," said Joe Trippi, Dr. Dean's campaign manager. "This is the kind of inside Washington politics that people are sick of." But Steve Murphy, the Gephardt campaign manager, said Mr. Trippi was being "totally hypocritical," adding: "Two weeks ago he ran into me and some of my staffers at Dulles airport and suggested that instead of attacking Howard Dean on Medicare, we should help him and Howard Dean attack Wesley Clark. This was a lengthy conversation."  (10/12/2003)

… The wannabe War of Words winds on. According to the today, the Dean campaign has released numerous conflicting quotes by rival candidate John Kerry regarding various Kerry statements on Iraq. Excerpt from the article: “Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, had accused the president Sunday of failing to protect U.S. troops in Iraq. Mr. Bush said GIs and other Americans "remember the lessons of September the 11th, 2001. And so do I. It's something we should never forget." His remarks came 24 hours after Mr. Kerry, a presidential candidate, accused the White House of treating the Iraq war like a political "product," not a matter of life and death. "It's not a product," Mr. Kerry said on ABC's "This Week." "It's the lives of young Americans in uniform." He said Mr. Bush had created a "mess" in which "young Americans are dying by the day in Iraq." … "He ought to be apologizing to the people of this country, because what they've done now is launch a PR campaign instead of a real policy," Mr. Kerry said. "They rushed the war without a plan for the peace, and we are paying an enormous price for that now," he added. "This is haphazard, shotgun, shoot-from-the-hip diplomacy, and I think it's causing us great risk." But it was Mr. Kerry who was accused of shooting from the hip yesterday by rival Democrat Howard Dean, a former Vermont governor, whose presidential campaign released numerous conflicting quotes by Mr. Kerry on the subject of Iraq. For example, last month Mr. Kerry said: "It was wrong to rush to war without building a true international coalition — and with no plan to win the peace." The campaign for Mr. Dean said in a statement: "Perhaps the Senator should re-read the resolution that he voted for." It then cited the congressional authorization for Mr. Bush to wage war: "The president is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq."  (10/14/2003)

Howard Dean is rat-a-tat-attacking rival John Kerry on his vacillating views on the important of his service in Vietnam. Here are some excerpts from the article in today’s The Hill: “Howard Dean’s presidential campaign sharply criticized Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) yesterday for seemingly flip-flopping on the importance of serving in Vietnam in presidential politics. Kerry seeks to distinguish himself from his White House rivals — both Democratic and Republican — by drawing attention to his war record. But this emphasis stands in marked contrast to his past utterances about service in Vietnam as a qualification for the highest office. … On numerous occasions this year, Kerry cited his distinguished war record as a decisive factor in who should be the nominee.” More excerpts: 

Kerry now:

·        “There are some people in high office today who pulled strings to get into the National Guard.” President Bush served as a pilot in the Air National Guard.”

·        “I think I stand here with a broader base of experience, both in domestic affairs and in foreign affairs, than any other person.”

·        “I am the only person running for this job who has actually fought in a war.” 

Kerry then

·        “I am saddened by the fact that Vietnam has yet again been inserted into the campaign, and that it has been inserted in what I feel to be the worst possible way… What saddens me most is that Democrats, above all those who shared the agonies of that generation, should now be re-fighting the many conflicts of Vietnam in order to win the current political conflict of a presidential primary.” Feb. 27, 1992 (during the Bill Clinton-Bob Dole presidential battle)

·        “Is your desire to hold office really so great that you would betray your own sense of decency and fairness? Is your desperation now really so great that you would adopt a conscious strategy of reopening and pouring salt on some of the most painful wounds that our nation has ever expected? “You and I know that if service or non-service in the war is to become a test of qualification for high office, you would not have a vice president, nor would you have a secretary of defense, and our nation would never recover from the divisions created by that war.” Kerry again defending Clinton from remarks by then-President George H.W. Bush. (10/15/2003)

… New Hampshire’s undecided voters remain at the same levels – about 30 percent – as they were this summer. And their initial zeal for newcomer candidate Wesley Clark appears to have waned. Today’s takes a look at the situation. Excerpts: “Two prominent New Hampshire pollsters say former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the front-runner in the state’s leadoff primary race, is doing the best job among the Democratic candidates attracting independent voters. But, say Dick Bennett and Rich Killion, the majority of independents remain undecided. The pollsters say this group is largely undecided not only about which of the Democratic Presidential candidates they will vote for, but also whether they will vote in the Democratic primary at all. Both pollsters say retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the newcomer to the race, has a resume that may attract independent voters, especially moderates who supported Republicans in other elections. But they say he appears to have already lost momentum generated by his entry into the race on Sept. 17. …. In Bennett’s latest New Hampshire poll, issued last Thursday, Dean was favored by 29 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, while Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was favored by 19 percent. No other candidate was favored by more than 6 percent of likely voters. The poll sample included 413 Democrats, or 69 percent, and 187 independents, or 31 percent. …Killion said Dean’s overall performance is especially strong “when you consider that he has not been on the air (advertising) for the past month. That hasn’t affected his polling. He’s still the front-runner and isn’t losing an inch on the ballot test.” (10/15/2003)

Senators Kerry and Edwards have both given signals of ‘no’ votes, regarding the requested $87 billion to rebuild Iraq. According to a Thomas Beaumont article in today’s Des Moines Register, Edwards says he’s dissatisfied with the Bush administration’s current plan. The article quotes Edwards as saying, “I believe this is a vote where, if I vote yes, it would be the equivalent of giving a stamp of approval to what this president is doing now. And I do not agree with what he’s doing now.” Meanwhile, Kerry’s attempt to link a repeal of income tax cuts (for the top brackets) failed, prompting this response from Kerry, “As I said on Sunday, unless this proposal is changed to better protect taxpayer dollars and shares the burden and risk of transforming Iraq with the United Nations and the rest of the international community, then I will oppose it.” The article goes on to say that Senator Joe Lieberman planned to vote for the measure. It is expected that the Senate will take a vote on the proposed $87 billion for Iraq this Friday, with the measure then heading into the House of Representatives, where Gephardt is expected to vote for it and Kucinich against. (10/15/2003)


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