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John Kerry Defines Republican Failures in the Fight on Terror and Stumps for Iraq Vet Patrick Murphy

by Pamela Leavey

In my post below, I noted that pundits are looking to the outcome of the Connecticut Senate race as a prediction on the ’08 presidential race. Potential ’08 candidates are stepping up to define their positions on Iraq and other hot topics issues. John Kerry has virtually remained outspoken against the Bush administration since the ’04 election on a host of issues. His strong call for withdrawal from Iraq, has become cornerstone of the ’06 elections and Kerry takes every opportunity he can to point to the Bush administration’s massive failures on both Iraq and national security.

On Friday, in a tele-conference with the press and bloggers, John Kerry was in full on offense mode when he stated that “the war in Iraq has harmed the nation’s security.”

Kerry grabbed on to the news of the disrupted plot as a “stark reminder” that Osama bin Laden still remains at large. Kerry said the latest thwarted terror plot shows that Al Qaeda has “grown in strength” since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Noting that the priorities of the Bush administration are in the wrong places, Kerry told the press that “The U.S. has become more isolated.”

Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda have succeeded in isolating the United States,” Kerry, a Democrat, said during a conference call organized on behalf of Patrick Murphy, a Democratic candidate in a Pennsylvania House race. “Afghanistan and Pakistan are where the fight against Al Qaeda is, not in Iraq.”

The conference call with John Kerry and Patrick Murphy, was to highlight the recent flip flop of Murphy’s opponent on his position on Iraq. Commenting on Bucks County Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick’s recent stand against Bush’s “stay-the-course” policy in Iraq, John Kerry said, it is nothing but a “short-term political ploy.”

Republicans roll out the slogans, Kerry said, but “slogans like “cut and run” are just that… slogans.” We need real plans, Kerry told the press, Patrick Murphy has real plans. “Congress is on the wrong track, Patrick Murphy is ready to bring real leadership to Washington.”

Murphy, who spent more than 12 years serving his country in the military, said he found it “appalling that someone would change their position as a political ploy.” Fitzpatrick, a freshman Congressman offers no plan or solution with his recent flip flop on Iraq — it reeks of opportunism, as did the stunt pulled by his Congressional Chief of Staff Mike Conallen did, during the tele-conference.

Responding to a question from Mark Wagner of Congress Daily on whether the ’06 election will “be a referendum on the war” John Kerry said:

“It’s not just one issue, no. That’s part of the failure of leadership. The failure of Katrina, the failure still of New Orleans. The failure of North Korea. The failure with respect to Global Planet change and the need to take effective measures to protect the generations of the future. The failure to address healthcare. The failure of the deficit, the failure of education spending, NCLB has not been fully funded for one single year since it was passed. I think it’s the entire priorities and the direction of this administration. Signing statements, hundreds of them that differ from the Congress and the interpretation and the intent of Congress .. which the court has even now chastised him for. You can run down a list of things about an administration that I believe is out of touch and out of control.”

A reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle asked if the Republican attacks on the Democrats are “losing credibility since he was a candidate a couple of years ago.”

“Yes, I do. I think they are losing credibility because the American people are tired of being fed fear instead of real leadership. What Patrick Murphy and I are saying is, we want to win the war on terror. We believe we have a more effective way of waging the war on terror. We believe we can protect America’s interest more effectively. We believe we can put America in a stronger position and the only way to succeed in Iraq is to get a political and diplomatic solution – you can not resolve it militarily. So this administration is leading us in the wrong direction. We believe we can fight a more effective war on terror and make America safer. Simple.”

Asked to comment on the Republican fundraising email sent out on the heels of the “thwarted terror plot,” John Kerry responded, “Are they raising money for Tony Blair? It’s a grab isn’t it.”

“Look, we’ve learned over the last couple of years, and certainly one of the lessons that I’ve learned, that these guys are prepared to say anything, do anything, stretch the truth, and always to try to scare Americans one way or the other… and take credit for things that they not necessarily up front on…”

John Kerry made it clear closing out the tele-conference what the “stark contrast” is between the Republican leadership, the young veteran candidates who are running for office this year, including Patrick Murphy:

“I think Patrick Murphy has made it clear why he’s running for Congress, which is what this is about. I think that the leadership that he offers is a stark contrast to the go along, get along scratch your back corruption that has engulfed Washington and the Republican party in the last couple of years. The fact is that his leadership and his knowledge of military issues, his service to this country in Iraq, empowers him to speak with a credibility that is vital to our deliberations. I think these Iraqi veterans that have come back, the Persian Gulf veterans and others who are running for Congress bring a very special quality. They know what it means to send young Americans to war. I think that’s really the important thing we out to be focusing on.”

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