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John Kerry on the Bush Administration’s Absence of Leadership

by Pamela Leavey

John Kerry spent the day in Massachusetts yesterday, talking to constituents on a variety of issues. In the morning he met a group of North Shore business and political leaders at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, MA. Kerry told the group, “There is an absence of leadership that I have never seen. “(There is a) complete and total abdication of responsibility of serious engagement in issues that affect every single one of you here. It is driven by ideology, partisanship.”

In an hour long talk ranging on issues from vocational education to the war in Iraq, Kerry “sounded every bit like a man still running for president.” Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, asked the question on everyone’s mind: Will you run again in 2008?

The short answer is, I’m thinking very seriously about it,” Kerry said. “I know what it takes. I know how to do it, I know the mistakes we made, and we did make some mistakes.”

That — and the rest of Kerry’s speech — sounded a lot like a “yes” to many in attendance.

“Whether or not he’s made the decision yet, he certainly sounds like a candidate,” state Rep. John Keenan, D-Salem, said after the breakfast. “My unofficial estimation is he sounded like somebody who’s running.”


Kerry spent a considerable amount of time wooing the business crowd, which often even in liberal Massachusetts, leans Republican.

The audience at yesterday’s breakfast was not Kerry’s core group of supporters, and he spent much of his talk trying to appeal to the business-oriented crowd. He said he wants to reduce the deficit, open up trade with China and support research in coal, oil and nuclear power, as well as alternative energy sources.

Kerry didn’t hold back his punches when it came to the subject of Bush’s tax cuts, which have been popular with many in the business community.

There’s nothing conservative about what they’re doing,” Kerry said. “Warren Buffet, the second-richest man in America, said that he thought the tax cut was absurd and that he, as an investment adviser, said, ‘Don’t do the tax cut. Put the money into these other kinds of efforts, because I’ll make more money in an economy that is moving.'”

Robert Lutts, president of Cabot Money Management, said he was impressed by Kerry’s candor.

“He knew the audience he was talking to, but he’s a pretty straight shooter,” Lutts said. “I think he calls them the way he sees them, more or less.”

The Salem News provided a synopisis of other quotes from Kerry’s meeting with members of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce:

JOHN KERRY ON …

Running for president in 2008: “I’m thinking very seriously about it. … I know what it takes. I know how to do it. I know the mistakes we made.”

Iraq: “I think we have to get out of Iraq as fast as we can. … Our guys are in the middle of a civil war. Who’s kidding who?”

Immigration: “You have to have comprehensive reform. … To just do enforcement is to invite a continued problem. … We’re going to have to have some people come in to do the jobs nobody wants to do.”

The role of government: “‘It’s not the government’s money, it’s your money’ … (is) a very difficult proposition to defend against. The problem is, it’s also your pothole and somebody’s got to fill it. It’s your school and somebody’s got to manage it. It’s your bridge and somebody’s got to fix it.”

Partisanship: “I have never seen the United States Senate and House as partisan as they are today. … You don’t have the kind of compromise that we used to have, where we used to look for 80 votes, 90 votes, instead of 51 votes.”

The public’s interest in government: “The attention span of Americans has changed. … The people who don’t want to listen to the president go to ‘American Idol,’ or they go to the game.”

March Madness: “You can ask me any questions you want except what happened to Connecticut. … I don’t know what’s happened with your office pools, but mine was shredded weeks ago.”

17 Responses to “John Kerry on the Bush Administration’s Absence of Leadership”

  1. Kerry was a member of the Skull & Bones along with his buddy George W., if he gets into office, his hidden superiors will have him do more of the same garbage that’s going on now. Same crap, different flavor, mark my words.

  2. I feel sorry for you if you fail to see the difference between Kerry and Dumbo.
    Mark your words?
    It is going to be fun feeding them to you!

  3. Paul Clow

    Your words = crap… and the flavor well… similar to crap.

  4. Paul’s right! The aliens tipped me off about Skull & Bones the last time they took me for a ride on their mother ship.

    Don’t believe me? They’ll beam you up too and then you’ll change your tune. Mark my words…

  5. Don’t give me this Skull and Bones crap.

    Everyone knows that the Bavarian Iluminati is the group which secretely runs the world. 🙂

  6. Hey Dave, BawHAHAhaHAHAA! That’s pretty good! But really, there’s gotta be more rubes out then just old Paul here. Say, by the way Paul – how old are you? 10? 12? Do you have a giant size poster of Britney Spears in your bedroom? Does your mom know what you do on the internet?

    Time for you to go back on your paper route Pauly.

  7. Ron

    Have you seen the dolls yet?

  8. I agree with blue washington that was a good one dave.
    Here we go again first people said there was no difference with gore and bush? Yeah and we see how that turned out.
    Now its Kerry and bush because they were in skull and bones.
    Please there are alot more secretive groups than skull and bones and frankly I don’t give a flip if JK was a part of skull and bones I’d still vote for him over bush or hil or any of the rest.

  9. Pen

    Speking of Hil.. check this story out

  10. “‘It’s not the government’s money, it’s your money’ … (is) a very difficult proposition to defend against. The problem is, it’s also your pothole and somebody’s got to fill it. It’s your school and somebody’s got to manage it. It’s your bridge and somebody’s got to fix it.”

    Yeah, and it’s our deficits being financed by the Chinese People’s Army! That’s our shrub, always working at that geopolitics thing. (Did you know that’s real hard work? That’s the rumor anyway.)

  11. Other than Lou dobbs love him or hate him he’s the only one that keeps pounding on the drum about all the debt being financed by china. Yeah, bush thinks its smart to give the country that held your soilders hostage a few years ago the keys to your children’s future.

    Bush doesn’t worry because his money is tied up with the saudis.

    Kerry is right about its your money but its your pot hole and if you want it fixed somebody is going to have to pay for it. Alot of people want to gripe about the service and not want to pay the money.

    however in my state most potholes don’t get fixed all that great guess the money went to build the bridge to no where in Alaska.

  12. hey pamela I just read the article- comments from stone-sarrandon and madonna are reasons why hollywood will be a nail in her presidential aspirations.

    I like stone but come on hil is no sexy siren. Has she seen some the of recent pics of hil? Jeez– Hil oozes fake, momma t oozes sexy as her proud husband has said more than once.

    And sarrandon and alot of other hollywood people who claim the Iraq war vote is the tipping point for their support of a dem candidate are starting to get on my nerves. Everyone has a right to their opinion but the IWR vote has been beaten to death.

    I noticed Cynthia tucker a columnist on yahoo who I usually like to read her articles mentioned something about JK and colin powell who served in vietnam got us into the Iraq war. I was like why was JK named and not mccain or others. Powell could have told the truth. he knew alot more than JK and others in congress but he didn’t. I was like Don’t blame the dems for this war it was bush’s and the gop fault.

  13. Pen

    I was surprised by Stone’s comment because the buzz is always that Hollywood loves Hil and the Hil will get the Hollywood support. Maybe not it seems.

    Madonna is correct I think that America isn’t ready for a woman president and that’s a sad statement on us in many ways. Look around the world and there are women leading their country’s in other places, but women are still held back in many ways here. Why? It’s gonna take a woman with more going on than Hil in my book to be the first.

    Hollywood does have certain sway in some regards. I take statement’s like Sarandon’s with a grain of salt because I know she does a lot of good stuff for the little people, both her and Robbins do.

  14. Pamela,

    No dolls yet, but I might have seen you from the air.

    Last night after arriving we went into Epcot and got lucky. We ran into people who had fast passes to Soarin but couldn’t use them, so we got right on and flew over California. Also made Spaceship Earth, then a great late dinner of Mediteranian food at Spoodles at the Boardwald. Not bad for arriving at the hotel at around 7;30. Also have a great view of Storm Along Bay outside Beach Club.

    Today we’ll be going to Magic Kingdom.

  15. Ron

    I haven’t had enough coffee yet – for a minute I thought you were out here. I had to re-read.

  16. Pen Says:
    March 28th, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    I skimmed thought that same column from Ms. Tucker also. As a matter of fact, two posters from the JK Democratic Underground group wrote some excellent LTTE to her with facts.

    Don’t know if they got a response yet, but she was wrong to single out JK as the ONLY dem for “starting this war.” It was clear she has some sort of motive/agenda. I guess she didn’t want to be seen as slamming Bush. I used to like her myself.

  17. Yeah, Indie I saw red on that one because she purposely slamed Kerry on that vote. What was her precious clinton’s excuse? She should have slammed bush he’s the one who gave the order and powell did his pitching.

    I’m glad some folks sent her a letter if she’s going to write about what a senator voted for she needs to get her facts straight.

    I’ll stop reading her columns like I did Eric Alterman.