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Reports on Kerry Campaign Film Exaggerates Damages

by RonChusid

The latest attacks on John Kerry appear to be as lacking in substance as all the previous attacks. The buzz in the blogosphere this week comes from a report in the New York Daily News on an upcoming movie on the campaign. The Daily News claims the film “could end up being the silver bullet that kills Kerry’s presidential chances for 2008.” From what I’ve seen so far, I doubt this film will have any meaningful impact. Here’s among the worst that the Daily News reports from the movie:

It features, among other not-ready-for-prime-time moments, Clinton scowling and rolling her eyes over an apparent Kerry gaffe during a presidential debate; Kerry pretending to interview himself and babbling in Italian while waiting for a real interview to begin; Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) cursing at reporters during a campaign stop, and Kerry message guru Robert Shrum confidently declaring a few days before the 2004 election: “Zogby [a prominent pollster] just announced who’s gonna win. Us!”

None of this sounds very meaningful. The Kerry bashers in the Democratic blogosphere were just as confident that the polls predicted a Kerry victory (and if the momentum wasn’t stopped by Bin Laden’s pre-election statement they might have been correct). A candidate playing around before the start of an interview is hardly even worth mentioning. Perhaps the claim which appears most significant is that Hillary Clinton scowled in response to a “Kerry gaffe” in a debate. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to review this portion of the film I’ve found that there was no gaffe.

The Hillary scowl occurred as Kerry was noting that, “The president got $84 from a timber company that owns, and he’s counted as a small business. Dick Cheney’s counted as a small business. That’s how they do things. That’s just not right.” Bush denied any knowledge of owning a timber company, but Factcheck.org demonstrated that John Kerry was right, reporting that “according to his 2003 financial disclosure form, Bush does own part interest in ‘LSTF, LLC’, a limited-liability company organized ‘for the purpose of the production of trees for commercial sales.’

So we have Hillary scowling following a true statement made by Kerry during the debates , hardly a gaffe, and several other trivial events. Hillary’s scowl very well may have been in response to Bush’s tree response rather than to Kerry’s true accusation. Give me a video camera and access to a campaign, and I bet I could find hours of material which would make the same campaign appear either brilliant or incompetent, depending upon how the material was presented. Of course we could never do this with the Bush campaign as they would never dare allow such access by the media.

This is not to say I believe the Kerry campaign was perfect. There are things I would have done different, but there is also no guarantee they would have done any better if they did what I would have preferred. It also must be remembered that Kerry came far closer than most Democratic candidates in recent years, despite facing an incumbent during a war, and despite facing an unprecedented smear campaign. In considering the competence of the political campaigns, we cannot deny the considerable expertise of the Bush campaign in distorting the facts. It is a shame that such competence is not seen when they attempt to govern.

34 Responses to “Reports on Kerry Campaign Film Exaggerates Damages”

  1. John Kerry Quote ” THERE IS PROGRESS IN IRAQ”. He is out to lunch. There is a civil war going on there and the country will end up an Islamic state. Any wonder he lost. He is Bush Lite.
    When are Dems going to wake up to the fact we are in a fight get up off the mat and start throwing punches?? In case Kerry and others don’t know who their opponent is, it’s the Republicans!

  2. Er, not sure what Carl is talking about exactly, but Ron, I’ve been doing my share of trench warfare the past few days on some of the other dem blogs out there. The level of vitriol and bitterness is extraordinary (and everyone of them is yapping about this Newsday piece). I can’t believe how many times I’ve heard “he wasted my time, energy and vote” in relation to the campaign last year. And these are supposed to be our bretheren!

    In any event, the campaign certainly made its mistakes, the most glaring of which, I always felt, was his response to the bin Laden tape the weekend before the election. But I’m sure this flick will be nothing more than a Primary Colors type of documentary…sure, there will be some embrassing moments, but nothing to detract Kerry should he run again.

  3. http://www.politicalwire.com/ then scroll down to “Inside the Bubble Promo” for a couple of clips of the film. Hillary’s scoll and eyeroll is after GWB’s says, “I own a timber company?”

    Todd, hope your armor is good and solid…. fighting our own can get particularly ugly!

  4. Carl,

    The Boston Herald, who is responsible for this article, is a RW newpaper taking Kerry’s words out of context. Of course, you may be part of those who think that the Bushies are right.

    If not, this is a source that should just be dismissed. Kerry is working on a timetable for troop withdrawal.

  5. Thanks Ron. You’re right. If JK had won, the same footage would have been presented in a totally different light. People seem to forget that the media was just as surprised Shrub lost as many Dems were because the race was just that tight. Karl Rove wasn’t heaving in Air Force One the afternoon of the election for nothing. And if Shrub had lost, all the many gaffes his campaign made would have been played over and over from “Mission Accomplished” to his horrible performance in the first debate.

  6. Carl –
    There has been some progress in Iraq. Sadaam is out of power and the long oppressed majority will now have a say in their country’s governance. If that means conservative Islamic rule, who are we to judge? In some way, the life on the ground there changes from day-to-day, depending on what part of the country you are in. One day there is a baby step towards progress in one region, the next we take 10 steps back in another. However, the real reason most Americans are pissed about this war is that they now believe they were mislead into into it in the first place. The books were clearly cooked. There was no WMD. And now our involvement seems endless because there was no plan when we went in and there is still none. All of this while our soldier casualty count grows weekly.

    And another thing….JK is a good Dem. Bush lite Dems do not receive a straight-A endorsement from the NAACP, like JK did last year. Get your facts straight buddy.

  7. KJ,

    It certainly isn’t clear whether Hillary’s expression was in response to Kerry’s initial statement (as the article claims) or in response to Bush’s comment. I decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the authors here in accepting their claim that it was in response to Kerry. Even in this situation it is hardly anything to criticize Kerry for.

  8. Ron, the way the clip is edited, Hillary’s response comes after Bush’s retort. I don’t know who put the piece together, but if they were putting it together to try and show Hill scowling at Kerry, then they should have put that piece after Kerry’s comment, and not Bush’s.

    I’m just saying…. I don’t thing the visuals, however they were put together, make a strong point that Hill was dissing Kerry. If that’s what they were trying to do, I think they failed in the editing room.

  9. Carl,

    John Kerry quote?

    Taking a few words out of context is hardly a quote.

    Your misrepresentations of Kerry’s position is the true example of being Bush Lite–in this case using Bush like tactics to help the Republican cause.

    It looks like you are the one who needs to be reminded that the enemy is the Republicans. John Kerry was one of the first and most consistent opponents of Bush going to war in Iraq. Attacking Kerry, who is pushing for getting out of Iraq, are supporting the Republicans, and are one reason why we are stuck with people like Bush.

    Beating them is hard enough. It doesn’t help when pseudo-Democratic fools go around helping them.

  10. Florida Dem

    Agreed with everything you said. The only thing I would add is that Kerry also has a 91% lifetime voting record for the AFL-CIO. I don’t know if Kerry was “the most liberal US Senator” as National Journal claimed, but he sure was one of the most pro-labor. My question is “since when to Bush-lite Democrats give a damn about working people? Can you have a 91% AFL-CIO voting record and still end up Bush-lite?” Personally, I think the answers to those questions are, respectively, “It’s not possible” and “No.”

  11. My girlfriend (whose usually not as political as me) pointed out this song by Jo Dee Messina could be about Bush. At the time of this song’s release in early 2005 Bush was trying to talk to anybody under age 35 he could and tell them that sign on to his Social Security “plan.” My girlfriend (and me) didn’t buy his arguements anymore than we would buy Enron Stock.
    I agreed with her that it applied to Bush, but now I’m starting to wonder if it might also apply to the “democrats” who like to whine about other Democrats.
    The song is called “My Give A Damn’s Busted” Here’s the lyrics:

    Artist : Jo Dee Messina
    Song : My Give A Damn’s Busted

    Lyrics :

    (1st verse)

    Well you filled up my head,
    With so many lies.
    Twisted my heart
    Til something snapped inside.
    I’d like to give it one more try
    but my give a damn’s busted.

    You can crawl back home
    say you were wrong,
    stand out in the yard
    cry all night long.
    Well go ahead and water my lawn.
    My give a damn’s busted.


    I really wanna care,
    I wanna feel somethin’
    Let me dig a little deeper…

    (2nd verse)

    You can say you’ve got issues.
    You can say you’re a victim.
    It’s all your parents fault,
    After all you didn’t pick em
    Well maybe Oprah’s got time to listen.
    My give a damn’s busted.

    (*Well let me get this straight now)
    Your therapist said
    It was all just a phase
    A product of the prozac
    And your co-dependent ways
    So uhh … who’s your new neighbor these days
    My give a damn’s busted.


    I really wanna care,
    I wanna feel somethin’
    Let me dig a little deeper…

    (3rd verse)
    (*Oh you’re tellin’ me)
    It’s a desperate situation,
    No tellin’ what you’ll do.
    If I don’t forgive you,
    You say your life is through.
    Well honey… give me somethin’ I can use.
    (My give a damn’s busted.)
    (*Ahh you knew I was gonna say that, didn’t ya.)

    My give a damn’s busted (*ha ha)
    My give a damn’s busted
    Honey trust me
    My give a damn’s busted yeahhh …
    My give a damn’s busted yeahhh
    (*You wanna do what?)(*ha ha ha ha ha)
    My give a damn’s busted
    (*Get the party started thats what we’ll do)
    My give a damn’s busted
    (*I’m not done honey, trust me)
    My give a damn’s busted
    (*Been there, done that)
    My give a damn’s busted
    My give a damn’s busted

    Did I mention Jo Dee Messina (b. 1970) grew up in Massachusetts?

  12. Nick,

    National Journal did’t claim Kerry was most liberal Senator. That was in one year while campaigning, and National Journal stated it wasn’t a meaningful measure. Leave it to the Republicans to selectively quote from National Journal.

    Kerry’s lifetime rating from National Journal placed him as 11th most liberal.

  13. florida dem Says:

    And another thing….JK is a good Dem. Bush lite Dems do not receive a straight-A endorsement from the NAACP, like JK did last year. Get your facts straight buddy.

    You got that right florida dem. Too bad it wasn’t reported in the media.

  14. Even if Hillary was scowling at JK, how would that help Hillary? Making her look like rude and snippy doesn’t sound like any kind of a Hillary-boosting strategy.

  15. So many first time activists who didn’t get their way, and bolstered by mindless rhetoric of others. No age limit to spolied brat and naivete.

    There are other grown-ups who honestly felt Kerry a weak candidate, smart people, who still don’t understand the correlation of the perception and GOP spin. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. They had to work extra hard to muddy him, I guess, because he’s that substantial and quality.

  16. Marjorie,

    I ran into people like that too. They kept saying “Kerry is weak, we should have nominated someone else” and so on. All of this “weak” talk makes me sad because Kerry would have made a cool president.

  17. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.”
    ~~Albert Einstein

  18. I know, KJ, but there was so little opportunity for people to see his honest and courageous mind.

  19. KJ Says:

    “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.”
    ~~Albert Einstein

    Marjorie G Says:

    I know, KJ, but there was so little opportunity for people to see his honest and courageous mind.

    I share the same sentiments too.

  20. Me too, which is why I keep thinking we need some sort of strategy session. I mean, if we were all in the same city, easy. We’d get together on Saturdays in the park or at the coffee shop. But, we’re spread all over. How do we (continue) to spread the word without hitting the same brick walls we’ve hit before? There has to be another way.

    I want to reply to Arianna’s post today, but didn’t. She quote the Boston Herald, for crying out loud. We’re shooting our own, using bullets the ‘wingers provide, as usual.

  21. Marjorie and Indie

    A good rule of thumb when folks say Kerry was too weak is to ask them who they would’ve nominated. If folks want to criticize, fine. Just as long as they can backup their criticisms with solutions and real solutions, not just “we should’ve nominated Dean, he never flip-flopped.”

  22. Along with the other mentions above, the weekend before the NH primary, JK was also endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters. That was the first time in the history of the LCV that they had ever endorsed a candidate before the primary.

    The thing that is the most ridiculous about the parroting by the Dem hating “liberals” like the first poster above, is that as far as I can tell, all were big Dean supporters. Since Dean was the most “GOP lite” and long time DLC member of anyone in the Dem primary, except for Lieberman, it shows just how totally clueless they were and still are. As well of course as Dean being the only Dem I ever heard announce that Bush might have to unilaterally invade Iraq, if we didn’t get backing from any other countries. Of course, that statement was a week before Trippi decided to run Dean as the anti-war candidate. Also, I saw a video of Dean (in 2002?) saying that “I believe that in his heart Bush is a moderate” Moderate? Heart? Bush doesn’t even have a friggin heart!

    I’ve decided I dislike and have even less respect for the clueless “liberals” than the clueless Bush supporters. Since I have 0 respect for the GOP droolers, therefore that means I have less than no respect for the lib droolers. They both parrot total BS, and appear to rarely, if ever, even set foot in reality. All either seems capable of is regugitation of BS and spin. BUT, at least the Bush supporters try to help Bush and the GOP and are loyal to them, no matter how misguided and brainwashed they may be. All their mirror images on the left appear to do is try to help the GOP along with them by trashing Dems with RNC talking points along with their own added pearls of “wisdom” and drivel BS. Such as “they voted for the war!”, “GOP lite” and the always popular “spineless”. Repeat ad nauseam, morons…

  23. Dave & others,

    Thanks so much for expressing what I feel so many Democrats are feeling. It is so frustrating to continue to hear Democrats whining and moaning and having self-esteem issues. We are buying into what the Republican bullies are selling. Hate yourself, hate your candidates, doubt yourself, doubt your ideals, stop voting, stop uniting…lose, lose, lose…

    There is too much at stake in this country to worry over whether Kerry was/is perfect or not (even though I feel he is). We have to show the country that the Democratic views are what can make this a better place. WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR BICKERING…WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON OUR ASSETS AND ALIGN THEM WITH THE AMERICAN GOALS.

    How some continue to question Kerry’s competence and fitness for the job baffles me. We place such unfair judgements on our qualified leaders instead of directing this criticism where it should be …on the current “incompetent” administration. Support our leaders. Once independents and Republicans see that we have confidence in our leaders…they may consider the fact that the grass may be greener under our leadership. It’s one thing to make arguments about what we should do as a party or how we can improve…but to bash our leaders, especially those who are working day and night to make a difference, is unfair and unproductive

  24. Thank you DAS from San Diego

    Why would anyone value someone, our what we value, if we don’t believe ourselves.

    Justifies their Bush vote, when some might have felt remorse. Changing party loyalty is tough, even when all the facts are known.

  25. DAS from San Diego

    Welcome to The Democratic Daily. We’re a no bash Dems zone! Your points are very well taken here. The bashing has got to stop if we are to gain any credibility and traction. I hope you’ll stick around here!

  26. DAS from San Diego,

    Always nice to hear from another person who knows what is going on, what needs to be done and who the real enemy of our country is. You will find yourself in agreement with all the regulars around here(and many others).

    Thanks for speaking the truth and what is needed so eloquently and nicely. As you can probably tell, I’m more of the angry ranter type. 😉 People like the first poster really set me off and burn me up…

    They never cease to amaze me. That guy’s post consists totally of trashing Senator Kerry, along all other Dem’s in general. Then, he actually closes his post with the unbelievable snarky admonishment to John Kerry and the Dems that TEHY don’t seem to know who their real opponent is???? Simply amazing and all his type do is help the GOP win elections every time they open their mouths or type on a computer. Yeah, endlessly trashing “your side” while parroting MSM “conventional wisdom” and often right-wing talking points to everyone and anyone you can is the way to win elections. Sheesh….

  27. I am liberal Democrat and want a winner in 2008 and Kerry can’t win. The last election proved it. As for mistakes Kerry made the one I remember the most is ” I voted for the War before I voted against it.”. Sure he has a good voting record but I want to win in 2008 can’t do it with him. I want some leadership. A guy like Russ Fiengold who tells it like it is.

  28. Carl

    Russ Feingold voted to confirm John Ashcroft as Atty. General and voted for the balanced budget amendment. That’s your idea of a liberal democrat? I like Feingold, but even he has some votes in his record a “liberal” would not be proud of.
    Kerry NEVER said he voted for the war before he voted against it, it was the $87 billion dollars NOT the war. Do you remember this quote from the debate “I made a mistake in how I talked about the war, President Bush made a mistake in how he went to war.” 1st debate between Kerry and Bush.
    So losing one election “proves” someone can’t win? Hmmmm So Reagan’s losing the 1976 GOP nomination fight “proved” he couldn’t get the GOP nod? Nixon’s losing to Kennedy in 1960 “proved” he couldn’t win a presidential election? FDR’s being the VP candidate on the landslide losing ticket of 1920 (cox/Roosevelt) “proved” FDR shouldn’t be on the Dem ticket?
    Lincoln’s loss to Stephen Douglas in hte 1858 Senate race “proved” he couldn’t beat Douglas? Barry Goldwater’s landslide defeat “proved” a right-wing Republican couldn’t be elected president?

  29. Carl

    I’m a liberal Democrat – and I don’t support Dem bashing on this blog. More pointly bashing Senator John Kerry, IS NOT supported on this blog.

    There is a lot to be said about the 2004 election, including that it is very well possible that Kerry did win. That said, your comment holds no weight. Kerry is far more liberal than Feingold who just voted to confirm Roberts.

    Do yourself a favor take your bashing elsewhere.

  30. Oh well seems you all want to lose again in 2008, FYI voted for EDwards in the primary and of course for Kerry in the election.Just a remindere the last presidential candidate to win from New England was JFK. Johnson, Carter and Clinton were all southeners. Lets get real here!

  31. Carl

    The the buzz about the movie in question is talking about Kerry 08, yet Kerry has not confirmed he will run in 08 – nor will he as he is focused on helping others win in 06.

    Many of us here have chosen to continue to support the work John Kerry, and others are doing now, frankly that is far moreimportant than 08 at this point. Regardless, as I mentioned about bashing of any Dems is not supported here.

    Thank you for understanding.

  32. I agee Pamela we should be focused on getting Dems elected next year in the house senate and elsewhere at the grass roots.

  33. Carl

    Good to hear.

  34. Carl,

    Your political analysis regarding Kerry above is no more accurate than your invented quote from Kerry above.