John Kerry Slams Bush on Handling of Mideast Conflict: “The President Has Been So Absent on Diplomacy”by Pamela Leavey
John Kerry was in Detroit today stumping for Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s re-election campaign. While on the campaign trail with Granholm, Kerry took some time to take a jab or two at the Bush administration for its “lack of leadership in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.”
“If I was president, this wouldn’t have happened,” said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John’s bar and grill in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.
Bush has been so concentrated on the war in Iraq that other Middle East tension arose as a result, he said.
“The president has been so absent on diplomacy when it comes to issues affecting the Middle East,” Kerry said. “We’re going to have a lot of ground to make up (in 2008) because of it.”
Detroit News writer Valerie Olander, made certain to note the “narrow margin” of the Bush win in 2004 and speculated that Kerry “plans to seek the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2008.” Kerry has been adamant that he won’t discuss plans for ’08 until after the ’06 mid-term elections, but it’s always great to see some media speculation leaning toward the “run John run” message.
The fighting between Israel and Lebanon reached 12th day mark today. Israel has begun a ground invasion and AP reports that the Saudis have asked Bush to “intervene in Mideast.” They are “sending tanks and troops across the border as thousands of Lebanese have fled to escape the fighting.”
Israel began a ground invasion, sending tanks and troops across the border as thousands of Lebanese have fled to escape the fighting.
Hezbollah guerillas should have been targeted with other terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaida and the Taliban, which operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kerry said. However, Bush, has focused military strength on Iraq.
“This is about American security and Bush has failed. He has made it so much worse because of his lack of reality in going into Iraq.…We have to destroy Hezbollah,” he said.
UPDATE: Taylor Marsh notes that Kerry’s statement set the right “wingnuts to wailing.” She’s got a clarification from the reporter, Valerie Olander, on the last quote from Kerry in the Detroit News:
UPDATE (9:15 a.m.): I just got off the phone with Valerie Olander of the Detroit News. Nice enough lady. She’s been bombarded by emails on Kerry’s quote. I asked her what came between Iraq and going after Hezbollah. I explained that obviously this disjointed quote makes no sense and requested a clarification. How did Kerry get from Iraq to Hezbollah? Olander said there was quite a bit in between. Olander continued, saying Kerry talked about how “we should have went (sic) after al Qaeda; we should have went (sic) after all terrorists, especially Hezbollah.” Olander agreed that they should offer some sort of clarification on Kerry’s quote because he said a lot more than was shown. She also stated that there were editors involved and she’d talk to them, adding that this story didn’t even make the paper, which seemed to surprise her, due to the reaction she received on it. I asked if she could get me something within the next hour and she said she would. I’ll let you know what happens. Olander seems to want to do the right thing, so I still think she deserves the benefit of the doubt at this point. I made the point that the conservative blogs are making quite a bit about this leap of topic and substance in the quote, so that the Detroit News needs to do the right thing and clarify the situation or they’re going to get even more emails than they have already. I also mentioned that Kerry’s people have been notified. We went through this once and we’re not going through it again.