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Statement of Frank Lowenstein, Kerry Foreign Policy Staffer With Kerry in Iraq, on the Photo Controversy

by Pamela Leavey

Okay, let’s put the controversy over the Kerry photo in Iraq to bed once and for all. The right wing blogs have had a heyday over this photo which originated from Ben of Mesopotamia, for days and as I have pointed out here in two posts (here and here), it’s nothing but the typical hype and lies from the right wing blogs.

My sources at Senator Kerry’s office just sent over this statement from Frank Lowenstein, Senator Kerry’s foreign policy staffer who was with Kerry in Iraq. Lowenstein serves on Senator Kerry’s Senate staff, and is a longtime Kerry national security advisor.

Statement from Frank Lowenstein:

“It’s a weird feeling seeing this photo of Sen. Kerry debated and decoded like some artifact out of the DaVinci Codes. It’s strange to me because I was there when the photo was taken. I traveled with Sen. Kerry throughout his Middle East trip. I’m his foreign policy staffer. Myself and Major McKnight were sitting right there when this photo was snapped.

Snubbed? Alone? Hardly. Sen. Kerry isn’t eating alone. In fact that photo is at an off the record breakfast meeting Senator Kerry conducted early Sunday morning with the very real Marc Santora of the New York Times Baghdad bureau and his younger colleague from the newspaper. The man shown in the green shirt across from Sen. Kerry is Marc Santora. Right after that interview was completed, Senator Kerry videotaped a message expressing his and the country’s support for the troops, to be shown on the armed services network in Iraq. Just the night before, Sen. Kerry was in that very same mess hall at a table where he ate dinner with about 10 U.S. soldiers.

Additionally, Senator Kerry spent nearly a day and half (out of two days in Iraq) outside of the Green Zone because he felt strongly that he wanted to hear from troops on the front lines. On Saturday morning, he greeted U.S. soldiers in Basra, and also met many British troops while he was there. On Saturday afternoon, he flew to FOB (Forward Operating Base) Warhorse, where he had a town hall meeting with over 100 soldiers. On Sunday morning, he was briefed by U.S. commanders at a training camp for Iraqi security forces. On Sunday evening, he traveled to another FOB where he had a long dinner in the camp mess hall with soldiers, including many from Massachusetts. These troops are nothing short of amazing, and my boss knows that with every fiber of his being. He’s a combat veteran. He’s been there.

Sen. Kerry knows that if you’re in public life, you’re going to have things you say and do taken out of context, sometimes photos even. It goes with the job. I just wanted to set the record straight about this photo not just because I was there and I know the truth, but because Sen. Kerry enjoyed his time and his conversations with the troops, and I hate to see anyone try to make some political hay out of all this or pretend this photo is something its not.”

Memeorandum has the full spectrum of the latest links on this here.

UPDATE: Note to Michelle Malkin — You do “owe a big apology to Sen. Kerry and to readers.”

UPDATE 2: Kudos to Prairie Pundit for being the only right wing blogger to acknowledge the statement above. I suppose it’s too much to expect that others will as well.

UPDATE 3: ThoughtCrimes.org weighs in: The war-bloggers get it wrong, AGAIN

UPDATE 4: TRex at FDL weighs in here.

UPDATE 5: Scott Hennen, the wingnut who initially posted the photo in question, now claims that he and his unnamed sources know more about what John Kerry was doing in Iraq than the member of Kerry’s staff who accompanied him to Iraq and issued the statement above. Poor Hennen, he’s really reaching now.

UPDATE 6: Ben of Meopotamia (aka Benjamin Runkle) backtracks on his claims.

UPDATE 7: Debunked Wingnuts Spin and Spin

30 Responses to “Statement of Frank Lowenstein, Kerry Foreign Policy Staffer With Kerry in Iraq, on the Photo Controversy”

  1. The GOP chickenhawks (who include, but are not limited to, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Limbaugh, Hannity and O’Reilly) can’t handle the veracity of Kerry quietly going to Iraq to meet with the troops.

    When Bush travels to Iraq, it’s actually Kuwait or Qatar, and the White House markets the visit as “a brave appearance in Baghdad,” although not a single U.S. troop is able to report seeing or hearing about an appearance by Little Boots.

    I just figure this photo crap is the latest version of the radical right swiftboating Kerry. If he cured cancer, AIDS and MS, the wingers would find fault with him.

  2. The Right wingnuts fear JK and will do anything they can to destroy him.

  3. […] ly when they didn’t have as many soldiers in the crowd as they wished for. Update:  Pamela just forwarded a statement from Frank Lowenstein, Kerry’s foreign policy staffer who was […]

  4. I’m surprised the military didn’t try to frag him, given his stupid comments in the ’70s and just last November.

  5. Daveinboca

    Funny guy. I’m surprised you all don’t give it up, given everything Kerry has done to support the military and fight for veterans rights over the years. His comments in late October were directed towards students reminding them off the importance of getting a good education. My high school student and her friends all got that. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This photo thing is like the drip torture technique, so voters, even if don’t entirely believe, don’t want to have to defend Kerry constantly, and the same old stuff again.

    As if we’ll get a rest, and they’ll deliver Hillary then, because they are now.

    I think Rupert and the rest feel comfortable with Hill and Bill, and understanding of corporate give and take.

    Kerry understands the business potential and reality, but he is also the first to really address campaign finance reform, before Wellstone, and the watered down McCain-Feingold.

    We don’t know what we’d end up with, given Hill and Bill.

    Here’s Kerry going everywhere, sounding intelligent and caring, learning how we can exit. Something they don’t want to have happen before 2008, and oil is decided.

    And he’s the only one who could go head to head with McCain, who would him pause. Despite McCain’s slime heavy campaign staff.

  7. I believe the ‘troops’ did enjoy all the time that Kerry did spent with them. Further, very few take a true interest in traveling to Iraq to visit with the soldiers. Add up the time and the trips of our congressmen? Any takers? Although my son is state side, @ home for now, he would loved a hello with Mr. Kerry. Why cause my son has great respect for him!
    Mother of US Special Forces Soldier

    So for all you UNtruthful bloggers, go teach your decider much needed ethics, morals and leadership skills. School is open in Iraq!

  8. Daveinboca

    Why would the military want to frag him? They respect a man who’s been there and done it.

    Dems collect war heroes as leaders. Republicans collect deferments!

  9. Marjorie has a point with this constant drip of attacks against Kerry. They (MSM, GOP and DC dems) are doing it to get the voters tired of JK and less enthuastic about him running.

    You’d think there would be one democrat out there speaking out about this $hit but who to say they aren’t in on it to. Paranoid? Maybe but after October 06 I don’t put nothing pass dems or gop where Kerry’s future is concerned.

    This is a good example of why Kerry should have blogged himself from Iraq and put it on his website. The man, in his own words.

    He has to hit back no attack unanswered. Hillary’s team is watching and waiting to strike again and he has to be ready for them.

    As for Edwards, Alex had to have gotten edwards on some of that campaign footage right? Well get it out go over it and see if they got some pics of the sunshine boy when the camera’s where off of him. Use it because Edwards will use the “I wanted to fight” slogan against JK for sure.

  10. I can’t believe Scott Hennen called you “sweetie.” Though I don’t know what I should have expected.

    And why this fixation with the gym?

  11. Ok if all of this is true, where are the photos that document the Christmas season holly jolly relationship during John Effing Kerry visit?

  12. Thomas Marks

    I have been blogging about John Kerry for 3 1/2 years. This trip to the Middle East he did not take a press secretary, as he did the trip before, instead he took a foreign policy staffer.

    It is my understanding from my sources in his office that this was a fact finding trip not a press junket or a “Christmas season holly jolly” tour.

    There are a couple of photos of Kerry with the troops here – http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=5013

    And there is more on his visit to Iraq here – http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=4968

    I would assume that as Kerry spent some time traveling outside of the Green Zone in Iraq, they chose to have a small group traveling with him, to make security easier. No doubt that would be the case with any Senator traveling into that area.

    Then of course, also Kerry is not Bush, he doesn’t USE the troops as backdrops for photo ops.

  13. Marjorie,

    I agree with Pen, you have a really important point there that we need to spread around. I had an uncomfortable discussion on Christmas with a family member who is smart enough to understand this better, but won’t go to the trouble of getting on the web to get more information. Nor really consider what is presented in refutation – just keeps on spreading the GOP memes.

    It goes back to sooner or later we have to learn not to trash our own, we also have to support them. To put it another way, the Democratic party – elected and voters- all need to show some spine in these fights.

    Thomas Marks

    I suspect the Kerry blog will have some photos. Will they be ‘holly jolly’? Not necessarily. Kerry didn’t go for a photo op tour or a superficial meet and greet with the troops.
    Don’t judge a man of substance by the trappings of people who want to portray themselves as serious and well informed, relying on photos and sound bites to create a facade you will accept as real.

    Kerry supporters watch him like hawks. We like to sum him up as ‘the real deal’.

    Just as a point of how people get across their emotions without contributing to the discussion, why use Effing? Except to add to the negative impression that people who are afraid of him like to nurture?

  14. Mother of US Special Forces Soldier,

    Wonderful to hear your child is home for now. Hope all is well. Hugs to both of you.

  15. Ahh yes, it makes sense now. The military man visiting a theatre of combat and he does not visit the military. Give me a break. The combat troops are the ones that matter over there. If it was a fact finding tour, I think some important facts would come from the men who are in fact FIGHTING the war. Or is it that the words “fact finding” is another “nuance” that Kerry is so effective at using to sit on both sides of the fence. If he wants even to bolster his position on the war, he would be smart to find some military men/women that would have facts to support his position. Why doesn’t he use that tact? Because there ARE VERY FEW NO MILITARY PERSONELL that support his positions. If there are, he is probably having quite a time trying to *find* them.

  16. Thomas Marks

    Did you bother to follow the links I provided? No of course not. If you had, you would have read that Kerry “conferred Saturday with U.S. and British officers in the southern city of Basra and with American troops in Diyala province during a nine-day Middle East tour.”

    The link I provided here – http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=4968, links to the original story in the Boston Globe.

    The Globe goes on to say:

    “Today was very informative and very helpful in crystallizing some of my thoughts insofar as what we can negotiate … and what needs to be accomplished,” Kerry told The Associated Press by telephone.

    During his stop at Camp Warhorse in Diyala, northeast of the capital, Kerry said he also met with local Iraqi officials responsible for one of the most sectarian-charged areas of the country.

    Kerry declined to elaborate on how the visit had affected his views on the situation in Iraq because his meetings continue Sunday. He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a firsthand assessment on “what’s possible in the political dynamics.”

    “I certainly learned more about what the troops can or can’t achieve,” he said.

    Kerry, a sharp critic of Bush administration policies in Iraq, said the most important challenge now was to achieve “whatever success is possible.”

    So it does appear Thomas Marks that your assertions are all wet. Anything further you would like to add?

  17. Mother of US Special Forces Soldier

    Seconding what Ginny said, glad to here your son is stateside. Here’s to peace and prosperity for the new year.

  18. “This is a good example of why Kerry should have blogged himself from Iraq and put it on his website. The man, in his own words.

    He has to hit back no attack unanswered. Hillary’s team is watching and waiting to strike again and he has to be ready for them.

    As for Edwards, Alex had to have gotten edwards on some of that campaign footage right? Well get it out go over it and see if they got some pics of the sunshine boy when the camera’s where off of him. Use it because Edwards will use the “I wanted to fight” slogan against JK for sure.”

    That’s why if Kerry plans to run, he is going to have to fight for every single vote. There is talk that the indies or moderates may not support him because of the perception that he is a “loser” and is “finish” as a candidate.

    You can bet they will use what you mentioned (including that arguement that AA were not enthusiastic about him aka. ABB) against him.

  19. No press secretary because he can’t get good press with a soldier next to him. There are only two photos. A responsible Senator would also document his work with photos. Get honest, there are no photos\, or else he would have used them. He couldn’t get a descent shot. And he also doesn’t want photos that the kook-fringe left can use to point and complain about feigned or any real support for the military.
    Yes I followed the links and saw the two photos. He is just looking for a chink in the armor of the coalition forces to exploit.
    Kerry is a loser. He want the US to lose today, just as he did when he spoke about *undocumented* atrocities that he admitted himself he paricipated in. Keep it up Kerry. You make your party look worse with every action and every word. A god-send for conservatives. Again, JFK reporting for dootie!!!

  20. Thomas Marks,

    The atrocities Kerry spoke of in ’71 have long been verified – and established they were the tip of the iceberg. When you malign Kerry for saying what he did, you include all the men who showed up for the Winter Soldier meeting. Have you ever seen any of the video from that? He was their spokesman and they did not reject what he said. Others who served in VN may disagree, were they in the front line groups or support? No duh the support troops did little if any of the atrocities. That stuff happens in the field when you are fighting for your life and your buddies’.

    Try watching “Going Upriver”, the documentary on Kerry’s role in the antiwar effort. You might just find someone who has a balanced view of what military power is about. It’s one of the reasons many of us support him. He is no dove. He is a responsible thinker who looks past the superficial to understand reality.

    I’ve been a nurse for 30 years. The most difficult group I have cared for are the vets, with PTSD, chronic pain and unexplained illnesses. John Kerry knows what combat is about and what it should NOT be about. He has supported the military and veterans for decades. It is painful to me to have people like you malign one of our best legislators for the benefits of those who have served this country.

    I have long said we need to pay our debt to those individuals first, and now. They delivered, we owe them just compensation for their sacrifices.

    Just what do you think you are accomplishing by spreading the myths of Kerry’s record? Helping the vets and active duty military? Get a clue. You call us kook-fringe. What do you know about our experience and contacts with the military?

    Clearly your grasp of the facts is even worse than your spelling.

  21. Thomas Marks

    Clearly you don’t know much about politics and the inner workings of Senate offices and staff. There is no protocol that says a Senator should document his foreign visits with photographs or that deems what member of staff travels with a Senator. And FYI, there is no kook fringe left that doesn’t support the troops. What decade are you stuck in? Oh that’s obvious. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Poor little Thomass, lost in the woods and no way out. Just spew the same old right wing hate and hope it can becomes truth. Like Ginny said, watch Going Upriver. You might learn something. Not that you would care about truth and honor, but give it a try. You just might like it for once.

  23. With the media in their back pocket why are the wingnuts on this site bashing Kerry?
    Because no matter what you rethugs throw at him he still stand and truth be told none of your damn gop candidates would hold up as long if they got the hits Kerry has taken.

    Now run along like good little vultures and attack the front runner’s site.

    Indie- I agree that JK will have to fight harder for the votes and mccain still has so many independents and dems snowed that he is a maverick.

    But when you really get down to it? Edwards is as phony as a 3 dollar bill, Barack offers stirring words but with out a plan of action they are just words and Hillary isn’t Bill.

    I don’t think by all means we should dismiss the competition in fact we should be more vigilant.

    And I think Kerry’s team still needs some fine tuning with fighting the msm war machine.
    One thing folks seem to forget all this concentration on independent voters and undecided voters has been a losing position for dem candidates in the last few elections.

    Kerry needs show that:
    He has learned from his mistakes
    He has it in him to crush his opponents and those who attack him (those lying swift boat vets for truth)
    That he can stay on message and is not prone to fumbling the ball when it’s kicked to him
    That he can lead this country internationally and domestically (he has shown this one)
    That he feels the pain of the country but he can help give them hope.

    After Iraq the American public at large will want to win at something to show that we are a good nation and whoever can present that best has a shot at the winners circle in 08.

  24. John Kerry offers the achieveables and leads by actions.

  25. Ask Senator Kerry about forgetting his ID in the gym and having to stand in the rain next to the T wall because the Peruvian guard did his job as was not impressed.

  26. Joseph Ogershok

    Around here we’re not impressed with hearsay and lies.

    Thanks for sharing, but perhaps you should ask yourself why people spend so much time making up stories.

  27. Yes, you can say that I don’t know what I am talking about. That is typical from Liberal Loser Left.

    I have wasted enough of my time. God Bless You, Merry Christmas, and A Happy New Year.
    Remember, one Nation Under *God*. -Thomas

  28. Thomas Marks

    Nice of you to here, namecalling and what not. See ya…

  29. Are you calling me a liar?

  30. JOgershok

    You are a complete stranger. I know Senator Kerry.