NYTimes- Kerry’s Remarks Only Bush’s Problem?


By: Warner Todd Huston

Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry“>
Since Kerry’s “the troops are stupid” remarks were reported on Newsbusters yesterday, the story has truly grown some legs. This has caused the MSM to bend themselves into pretzels to explain away Kerry’s typically anti-military remarks and leading the pack, as always, is the “Paper of broken record”, the New York Times.

In a piece titled “Bush Attacks Kerry for Remarks on Iraq Troops”, the Times spends nearly the entire story making this out to be a Bush/Republican issue and barely even takes the time to mention what it is that Kerry said to initiate the incident in the first place, casting the entire story into the rote Republicans-are-at-fault mode.

The story, by Adam Nagourney and several other contributors (amusing that it took a whole committee to make this spin up), nearly ignores Kerry’s actual remarks not even bothering to mention the phrase that caused this whole dust up until the 15th paragraph.

The 14 paragraphs before that has some anti-Bush doosies, too.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 — For at least a few hours on Tuesday, President Bush had a chance to relive his victorious campaign of 2004, taking a break from a bleak Republican campaign season as he attacked Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts over the war in Iraq.

Oh, it isn’t Kerry disrespecting the troops, it’s Bush “taking a break from a bleak” campaign! Why, it isn’t about Kerry at all. I feel so relieved.

Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who was Mr. Bush’s opponent in 2004, is not running for any office this year. But the president seized on what he said were Mr. Kerry’s disparaging remarks about the troops at a rally in California — and what Mr. Kerry insisted was little more than a botched joke — as he sought to make Mr. Kerry the face of the Democratic Party this fall.

Have you seen any stories describing how Bush should be the issue for Democrats to run against mentioning that Bush “is not running for office this year” as if it were a reason to ignore the criticism like this paragraph did for Kerry?

I sure haven’t.

In fact the first 14 paragraphs talk about Bush and Bush and Bush… but Bush isn’t the story here, folks. It’s John Kerry’s gaffe, not Bush’s! 14 paragraphs about Bush… where is the reason this story exists? Where is the focus on Kerry?

Instead of Kerry we get Bush bashing overload…

… Mr. Bush brought renewed attention to the war in Iraq, which he defended with renewed vigor while campaigning in Georgia, at the very moment that a number of Republican Congressional candidates, following the advice of party strategists, are stepping up their efforts to distance themselves from the White House on the war as the campaign enters its final days.

…In Rhode Island on Tuesday, Senator Lincoln Chafee, a Republican struggling against a challenge from Sheldon Whitehouse, an antiwar Democrat, began a new television advertisement reminding Rhode Island voters, “I stood against the Senate and president and voted no” on the war.

… In Tennessee, Bob Corker, a Republican candidate for Senate, said it was time for a new plan and a change in leadership at the Pentagon.

…In New Jersey, Thomas H. Kean Jr., the Republican challenging Senator Robert Menendez, has started a new advertisement that says he wants to “change the course in Iraq; Replace Rumsfeld.” In Indiana, John Hostettler, a Republican congressman, reminds voters in his latest advertisement that he voted against the invasion of Iraq because “the intelligence did not support the claim that there were weapons of mass destruction there.”

… But their willingness to break so publicly with the White House in the closing days of the campaign — in some cases, with the active encouragement of the some of the party’s own strategists — is evidence of the extent to which they view the war in Iraq as a lethal issue this fall.

…It is especially striking because Mr. Bush has defended the war, and attacked Democrats over it, with increasing force in the last several days.

…The mounting death toll in Iraq over the last month and apparent differences between the United States and the Iraqi government over how to proceed have given Democrats new opportunities to criticize Mr. Bush’s handling of the conflict and make the case that electing a Democratic Congress is the first step toward finding a solution.

Line after line attacking Bush … no mention of Kerry.

Ah, but wait. Here we finally get to it in paragraph 15.

In his remarks in California, Mr. Kerry said: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Serious coverage, eh?

This was followed immediately by Kerry’s lame explanation of what he “really” meant.

Mr. Kerry said that he botched a joke that his aides said had been prepared as follows: “Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.”

That is the most disingenuous explanation I have ever seen shy of a 10 year-old saying his invisible friend made him break the window!

Kerry was speaking wholly in context to students at that rally and made no hesitation as if he had begun to garble his meaning as the video clearly shows. There can be no doubt that he meant that our troops are not educated and that he wanted his audience to somehow be “better” than that. He spoke easily, directly and with purpose. He did not appear to be distracted nor did he seem to lose his place.

OK, there was the Times’ water holding support of Kerry… back to our regularly scheduled Bush bashing!

…Mr. Bush, speaking to a cheering crowd at a campaign rally late Tuesday afternoon in a half-empty arena…

…In one sign of the deteriorating situation for Republicans…

… Mr. Bundy said. “Even Republicans who think the mission is worthwhile, they’re frustrated and the president doesn’t seem to get it all the time.”

Well, you get the picture.

The point is, instead of reporting what Kerry has done, the New York Times is trying to turn this story on its ear and make it another excuse to say how bad Bush is and how poorly Republicans are doing this campaign season.

The Times swears that Kerry’s invisible friend broke the window, Mom. Really it isn’t his fault. Bush MADE him do it.

Oh, bad Bush. Bad, bad Bush.

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