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The RNC’s in a Tizzy over John Kerry’s “This Week” Interview

by Pamela Leavey

The RNC is in a tizzy over John Kerry’s interview on “This Week” today. RNC Communications Director Brian Jones responded to Kerry’s appearance on ABC’s This Week saying:

Sen. Kerry displayed his signature pessimism and defeatism today that the American people rejected during his failed presidential bid. While Democrat leaders like Sen. Kerry continue to show they still do not grasp the dynamic and dangers of a post 9/11 world, President Bush remains focused on doing everything in his power to keep Americans safe and secure.”

What gets the RNC ticked off is that John Kerry refuses to buy into the fear and smear tactics of right wing. Kerry made it perfectly clear today when he laid Bush and Rove out on the carpet for their complete and utter failure to capture Osama bin Laden.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, Osama bin Laden has not been found, has not been captured.

But Vice President Cheney is right, isn’t he, and how much credit should President Bush get?

KERRY: No, he’s not.

He’s right that we haven’t been attacked. He is not right, and I’m glad he reminded Americans, about having said we will do everything in our power and use all the forces at our disposal.

The simple fact is that we had Osama bin Laden cornered, trapped, ready to be captured or killed in the mountains of Tora Bora.

And this administration — it is a fact — has misled Americans about the knowledge they had of whether or not he was there, number one, and, number two, did not do everything that they could have in order to capture him. I know this. Others know this.

There were SEALS there, there were special forces on the ground, there were the 1st Marines, the 101st. There were people available — the 10th Mountain Division. They could have been brought in to surround that mountainside to guarantee that he didn’t get out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That was 2001, but it’s now 2005 and there have not been any more attacks on the homeland. Address that point.

KERRY: But, George — I will address that point — now let’s come to the heart of this.

The vice president just said that they would do anything necessary and he reminded Americans of that. And they’re trying to claim somehow that they’re stronger and better on the war on terror.

The fact is, when they had a chance to kill or capture Osama bin Laden they didn’t do it, and they didn’t do it because they ran a risk-adverse strategy, period, and that’s what happened.

Now, with respect to the rest of this effort, they diverted their attention from Afghanistan, which is now going backwards in some regards. You’re seeing more capable weapons coming in, IEDs. You’re seeing greater intensity to the kind of violence on the ground.

The south Waziristan, north Waziristan bogging down with the Pakistani troops has shown a lack of genuine leadership and cooperative effort on the part of the United States and others to be able to survive there. The Al Qaida — front page story New York Times today — is stronger in that region than it was.

So, yes, we have not been attacked here. Many people surmise that one of the reasons we haven’t been attacked here is because they are being so successful at doing what they need to do to attack us in Iraq and elsewhere.

And so that’s the focus currently of the war on terror.

And I believe if you look at what’s happened with North Korea, with their efforts, you look at what’s happened in the lack of options that we have militarily with respect to North Korea, partly because we’re overextended in Iraq, you look at the nuclear weapons of North Korea, you look at what’s happened overall in America’s leverage in the world and this administration, in fact, is not fighting the war on terror as effectively as it ought to be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They are still going on offense, though, politically…

KERRY: Because that’s what they do politically, George, and I’m an expert at that. I understand exactly what they do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that’s what I want to get to.

An issue now is warrant-less wiretaps, the president’s program. Karl Rove was back out on Friday defending the program and being very aggressive. Here’s what he said.

ROVE: President Bush believes if Al Qaida is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they’re calling and why. (APPLAUSE)

Some important Democrats clearly disagree.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He must have had you in mind. You’ve called the program a clear violation of the law.

Let’s get real here — the mastermind of 9/11 is still running around issuing video tapes threatening this country. The Bush administration failed to “grasp” the danger — Osama bin Laden — when he was within their reach. Bush is clueless on how to keep American’s “safe and secure.” Illegal wiretaps on innocent citizens are not the answer.

KERRY: We don’t disagree with him at all. It is a violation of law and we don’t disagree with him at all, and this is exactly what Karl Rove does. Let me tell you something.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But how can you think it’s a violation and not disagree?

KERRY: You know, Osama bin Laden is going to die of kidney failure before he’s killed by Karl Rove and his crowd. And all he does is divide America over this issue and exploit it. And what he’s trying to pretend is somehow Democrats don’t want to eavesdrop appropriately to protect the country. That’s a lie.

We’re prepared to eavesdrop wherever and whenever necessary in order to make America safer. But we put a procedure in place to protect the constitutional rights of Americans. And what I believe, George, and I believe it deeply, is you can protect the United States of America without devoiding, without ignoring the Constitution of the country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But intelligence officials, and I’ve spoken to some of them, say it’s just not practical. You can’t run this kind of a detection program through the current FISA court.

KERRY: Then come to us and tell us how you can do it so that you need some more blanket form of doing it. There is a way to protect the Constitution and not go off on your own and violate it. That’s the simple bottom line here. Americans…

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re open to changing the law?

KERRY: Of course, if you need to in order to protect — but show us how you can’t do what you need to do today. They’ve never done that. There’s nothing in the FISA law that we passed that suggests the president has this power. That’s number one.

Number two, the president never came to us and said, we’re having difficulties doing this.

Number three, there have been over 19,000 — I believe it is — 19,000 warrants issued. I think only five have been denied in the entire course of time.

The court has been set up so that it’s possible on a matter of minutes to say we need you sitting — we need you available. We have a situation developing. There’s all the method in the world to protect the Constitution of the United States and the privacy of Americans.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you think this is a clear violation of the law, why not move to cut off funding for the program?

KERRY: That’s premature.

I think the first thing to do is say, how do we make sure we’re protecting the security of the country? If they have a problem with this, then come to Congress.

You know, this is really typical of the way they’ve been managing this city. The culture of sort of arrogance and corruption that has been allowed to take over Washington, D.C., evidenced also by the Abramoff scandal, by what you see.

And there’s more in the interview today, that clearly set off what will most likely be the next round of fear and smear attacks on John Kerry from the RNC. Read the full transcript of the interview here.

Welcome back, Senator Kerry from your trip to the Middle East, it appears the RNC has missed you

RELATED POSTS: John Kerry Calls for Independent Counsel to Investigate Bush Warrentless Wiretaps and A One – Two Punch from Kerry and Harman Leads the Dem’s Fight on Bush’s Domestic Spying.

UPDATE: The WaPo reports, Two Lawmakers Criticize Bush on Eavesdropping.

16 Responses to “The RNC’s in a Tizzy over John Kerry’s “This Week” Interview”

  1. Its Republicans who do not understand the post 9/11 world.

    The “post 9/11 world” didn’t start on 9/11. People like Kerry had been warning about the terrorist threat for years, but people like Bush, Cheney, and Rove ignored the threat. Afterwards they took advantage of the attack to pursue the neocon agenda, but did nothing meaningful to address the threat of terrorism.

    Neither attacking Iraq or reducing civil liberties in the United States is a meaningful way to defend the United States from al Qaeda.

  2. For someone who really gets the terrorism issue, as a policing, intelligence and diplomatic solution, was particularly hard for Kerry, I think, author of a book on it, to be deconstructed by them as someone less capable.

  3. Coverage in The Boston Globe: Kerry says he won’t vote for Alito

  4. Marjorie G

    Either that or it is laughable to him to some degree. It has to be frustrating though, because they have made such a horribel mess of things.

  5. To Hell with the RNC! And while I’m thinking about it, to JK’s credit – he’s been giving Hell to shrubco and the crooked stormtroopers in Congress.

    And while I’m venting my frustration, let me say this: What is it with these round table discusions with various reports and the ’08 nomination? If I hear one more reporter tell their audiance that Hillary Clinton has the nomination in the bag, I’m going to be sick. To listen to Chris Matthews, I’m thinking he wants to be HRC’s campaign manager! ENOUGH!! They want a good story in ’08, but I’m telling you, SHE WILL NOT WIN!! Will Kerry be the nominee, I’d like to think so. But the one person it cannot be is Hillary.
    Her people can come to the Washington State Caucus’ to push her candidacy, but I’ll be there too. She will NOT get my support. Enough of Matthews and his friends trying to wreak the party.

  6. Hi Blue Washington

    A little fired up tonight? 😉

    Watching Tweety is bad news…

  7. Kerry should have said that Bush failed to defend America on 9-11-2001 and that America cannot trust the Republicans to defend America.

    Now that appears a fact that the press fails to remind America.


    Tell the speaker of the house you want a better prescription drug benefit.

    Click on this link to send the speaker of the house a message that you want a better prescription drug benefit.

  8. I was a teenager when Hitler rose to power with the support of Prescott Bush, the grandfather of what we laughingly call a president today. The fear tactics used by Rove and his buddies are those used over the ages to manipulate and control the masses. Add to this the nasty fact that our public school system ain’t what it used to be and very few Americans are capable of committing the act of crticial thinking or of knowing recent American history.
    No wonder they get by with the crap.

  9. Karl Rove is big fat liar.

    Karl Rove is a TRAITOR.

    Anybody who supports the Bush regime is supporting lies, torture, treason, and murder… and don’t forget illegal wiretaps.


  10. You tell them Blue Washington

    If any Hillary people give you trouble, just ask them, “what state would Hillary win that kerry lost? Can you give me even one reason why she’ll win x state that Kerry lost?”

  11. Hil wouldn’t win a state that Kerry lost. i doubt she would win in arkansas.

    The media is so hyping her and mccain and m. warner and it makes me sick.

    I think some people think by putting hil in the white house they’ll get bil back in there to clean up this mess. She needs to run on her own ideas and she doesn’t have any. The fact that she may coast through her senate re-election is no reason to believe she would win Virginia, ohio, or Florida.

  12. Nick,

    Hillary knew she couldn’t win in 2004 and therefore didn’t run. 2008 is a whole new ball game.

    She’s certainly not my choice, but looking at her 2008 chances in terms of the 2004 electoral map and comparing her chances to Kerry’s is irrelevant.

  13. Pamela, Nick, Pen, anyone else interested…

    Yeah, I was pretty hot the other day. It really does irritate me when the political pendants (Matthews and his cronies) try to sway the electorate. Twice this last weekend I saw it, The Chris Matthews Show (some of you may know it as The Tweety Show) and This Week. I think it was Cokie Roberts who said Hillary who could win a nation-wide election. How does she figure that out? She doesn’t say.
    Now Kathleen Parker, someone who don’t normally see eye to eye with, said something I Do agree with; pretty much whatever support HRC has in the various state caucus/primaries right now is where it will stay at. She has that polarizing affect and she will have a fight on her hands at that time. Can you imagine what would happen if she made it through to the general election? Catastrophe.
    And for those that think putting Hillary in will bring Bill back to fix things, who do they think they’re kidding? As much as I liked Bill Clinton, he and Hillary helped put this party in the position it is today. Remember the bomb that was Hillary Care? Bill and his magic fly? It’s time for the Party to move on; a lot of the country already has.
    Bill and Hillary have done a lot for the country and the party – but it’s time for someone else in the White House. My candidate is John Kerry.

  14. Blue Washington

    Hill won’t make it far. They hyping her for a reason – to take the heat of JK who is their worst nightmare.

    The talking heads are going to keep talking, I’m not sure what will stop them, including the outcry from the blogosphere. Maybe I’m wrong but sometimes you have to fight fire with something other than fire.

  15. Blue Washington- I hear you. Matthews, buchanan, and the rest of their ilk is pushing hil so that they persuade the electorate she is a sure thing. Then laugh when she and the party crashes and burns or at least that is what they are banking on.

    The press is salivating at the thought of a few more years of clinton scandals and the chance to rehash the old ones.

    Bill has done alot for the country. I don’t deny the economy under his leadership was a hell of alot better than under anyone else’s.

    But I’m glad somebody else has said what I’ve been telling folks for a while. It was under the clintons leadership that ol newt and his merry band of hyenas got the congress to begin with. Yes, the gop and ken starr and the media over obsessed on monica but bil gave them the ammo to begin with. The dems have to move on from the clinton years. The dems have to prove they can go toe to toe on national security.

    I doubt nothing will stop the media whores from hyping hil and mccain but it is enough to give one indigestion. Lord even oprah was on the hil bandwagon.

    Kerry has to continue to show more of the personal side of him and not just the senator. I’m He’s a private person so I know it aint going to be easy but unfortuantely he may have to do it to help counter the media image he has.

  16. Good Afternoon I found your blogg when doing a search fro Special Forces , not what I was after but hello anyway 🙂