Saturday, August 28, 2004

VC surfaces & Diary refutes Kerry claim

Source: Washington Times Inside the Beltway by John McCaslin
August 25, 2004

Joyce Notes: LURCH, a.k.a. Kerry, HAS NO CREDIBILTY AFTER READING ABOUT THE FICTIONAL Dog V.C. (stand for Viet Cong, maybe?). A dog? He's delusional. Wasn't it a Green Beret, apparently one that can't swim, that "fell off" the boat led by Lurch? Maybe "Chicken Little" fits the deadbeat senator from Massachusetts more accurately.

VC surfaces
A new four-legged angle — actually a dog named "VC" — has suddenly materialized surrounding Sen. John Kerry's swift boat service in Vietnam.

In a 2004 presidential candidate questionnaire for Humane USA, Mr. Kerry was asked whether any pets have had an impact on his life.

"I have always had pets in my life, and there are a few that I remember very fondly," Mr. Kerry replied. "When I was serving on a Swift Boat in Vietnam, my crewmates and I had a dog we called VC.

"One day as our Swift Boat was heading up a river, a mine exploded hard under our boat," he continued. "After picking ourselves up, we discovered VC was MIA (missing in action). Several minutes of frantic search followed, after which we thought we'd lost him. We were relieved when another boat called asking if we were missing a dog."
Said Mr. Kerry: "It turns out VC was catapulted from the deck of our boat and landed, confused but unhurt, on the deck of another boat in our patrol."

J.J. Scheele, program director of Humane USA, confirmed yesterday that her organization did, in fact, receive the above statement from the Kerry campaign.

No military records on Mr. Kerry's Web site, which aides say is a complete accounting, mention a mine exploding under his boat or any dog. The only report of a mine detonating "near" Mr. Kerry's PCF 94 was March 13, 1969, when Mr. Kerry says he was injured and a man knocked overboard.

Source: Washington Times "Diary refutes Kerry claim" by Stephen Dinan and Charles Hurt August 25, 2004

Diary refutes Kerry claim

John Kerry's own wartime journal is raising questions about whether he deserved the first of three Purple Hearts, which permitted him to go home after 4½ months of combat.

The re-examination of Mr. Kerry's military record, prompted by commercials paid for by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the book "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry" by two of the group's members, continued even as Mr. Kerry stated that voters should judge his character based on his anti-war activities upon returning from Vietnam.

A primary claim against Mr. Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans is that Mr. Kerry's first Purple Heart — awarded for action on Dec. 2, 1968 — did not involve the enemy and that Mr. Kerry's wounds that day were unintentionally self-inflicted.

They charge that in the confusion involving unarmed, fleeing Viet Cong, Mr. Kerry fired a grenade, which detonated nearby and splattered his arm with hot metal.

Mr. Kerry has claimed that he faced his "first intense combat" that day, returned fire, and received his "first combat related injury."

A journal entry Mr. Kerry wrote Dec. 11, however, raises questions about what really happened nine days earlier.

"A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn't been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven't been shot at are allowed to be cocky," wrote Mr. Kerry, according the book "Tour of Duty" by friendly biographer Douglas Brinkley.

If enemy fire was not involved in that or any other incident, according to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, no medal should be awarded.

"The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy," according to the organization chartered by Congress. According to regulations set by the Department of Defense, an enemy must be involved to warrant a Purple Heart.

Altogether, Mr. Kerry earned three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star.

A Kerry campaign official, speaking on background, told The Washington Times yesterday that the "we" in the passage from Mr. Kerry's journal refers to "the crew on Kerry's first swift boat, operating as a crew" rather than Mr. Kerry himself.

"John Kerry didn't yet have his own boat or crew on December 2," according to the aide. "Other members of the crew had been in Vietnam for some time and had been shot at and Kerry knew that at the time. However, the crew had not yet been fired on while they served together on PCF 44 under Lieutenant Kerry."

Mr. Kerry's campaign could not say definitively whether he did receive enemy fire that day.

The newly exhumed passages were first reported by Fox News Channel in a televised interview with John Hurley, national leader of Veterans for Kerry.

"Is it possible that Kerry's first Purple Heart was the result of an unintentionally self-inflicted wound?" asked reporter Major Garrett.

"Anything is possible," Mr. Hurley replied.

The Swift Boat Veterans say that means Mr. Kerry is now backing off of his first Purple Heart claim, just as he has apparently changed his claim that he spent Christmas 1968 on an operation in Cambodia.

"It's a house of cards," said Van Odell, one of the veterans. "What he wrote in 'Tour of Duty' and how he used that is nothing but a house of cards, and it's exposed."

At a fund-raiser last night in Philadelphia, Mr. Kerry defended his anti-war activism upon his return from Vietnam, which also has come under attack by the Swift Boat Veterans, as "an act of conscience."

"You can judge my character, incidentally, by that," he said.

"Because when the time for moral crisis existed in this country, I wasn't taking care of myself, I was taking care of public policy," Mr. Kerry told his audience. "I was taking care of things that made a difference to the life of this nation. You may not have agreed with me, but I stood up and was counted, and that's the kind of president I'm going to be."

The Swift Boat Veterans' claims and the political storm that surrounds them has dominated the presidential campaign for the last two weeks.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs said that from Aug. 9 to 15, the first week after the group's ads were released, there were 92 mentions in major papers and 221 mentions in all news reports. By last week, Aug. 16 to 22, there were 221 mentions in major papers and 696 mentions in all news reports the center tracks.

"The Swift Boat veterans commercial is the 'Blair Witch Project' of campaign ads — an enormous return on a small investment," said Matthew T. Felling, media director for the center. "Everyone is talking about it, and no one can agree on where the line between fact and fiction exists."

He said the commercial has become "a national player in its own right," nearly equaling Vice President Dick Cheney's 733 mentions in all news reports last week.

Mr. Kerry himself is making personal phone calls trying to stamp out the controversy.

On Monday morning, a day after former Sen. Bob Dole questioned Mr. Kerry's Purple Hearts on CNN, Mr. Kerry called the former Republican presidential candidate.

"There's respect there. We were in the Senate together," Mr. Dole told interviewer Wolf Blitzer on Monday. "But we're talking about the presidential race, and I tweaked him a little on the Purple Hearts."

And on Sunday, Mr. Kerry called Robert Brant, one of the members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

A source associated with the veterans group and familiar with the 10-minute conversation said Mr. Kerry asked whether Mr. Brant knew about the group. When Mr. Brant said he was part of it, there was "kind of a silence" on the line before Mr. Kerry continued the conversation.

The source said Swift Boat Veterans is considering sending a cease-and-desist letter to Mr. Kerry asking him not to contact their members anymore because it might be a violation of campaign-finance laws.

In a speech at the Cooper Union school in New York yesterday, Mr. Kerry said the "Bush campaign and its allies have turned to the tactics of fear and smear."

Asked by reporters about the Swift Boat furor later yesterday, Mr. Kerry said he's trying to focus on "the economy, jobs, health care — the things that matter to Americans."

Asked specifically if he has been calling Swift Boat veterans, Mr. Kerry said, "I am talking about the things that are important to Americans — jobs, health care, how we are going to fix our schools."

In last night's Philadelphia speech, even while defending his activities with Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Mr. Kerry called the criticism of his service "so petty it's almost pathetic in a way."

But the issue is not likely to go away, in part because Mr. Kerry's defenders want their full say.

A new documentary, "Brothers in Arms," will be released in a theater in New York and on DVD everywhere on Friday that highlights Mr. Kerry and the veterans who served with him, and filmmaker Paul Alexander said he found the veterans' stories very convincing.

"What's remarkable to me is when you see the interviews in the movie, how consistent they are on what happened," said Mr. Alexander, who said he interviewed all the men who served on PCF 94, and interviewed them several times over several months. Mr. Alexander previously wrote "Man of the People: The Life of John McCain."

He said the movie particularly sheds light on the incident for which Mr. Kerry earned his Bronze Star, for rescuing a Special Forces officer from the water under what he and his crew said was enemy fire.

The Swift Boat Veterans, including Mr. Odell, say there was no enemy fire, but Mr. Alexander said after making the movie and talking with crewmates Mike Medeiros, Del Sandusky and David Alston, he believes there was enemy fire.

"Mike described the mortar rounds that were going over the top of the 94, and David and Del described the sound effects — specifically down to what kind of machine gun it was — the AK-47," Mr. Alexander said. "Their description is so specific they're not mistaken."

•This article is based in part on wire-service reports.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

"Me" News

"Hello, it's me!" - Todd Rundgren (At least, he sang a song with an opening line of such.)

To speak in the tongue of NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, "I'm gonna talk about me, talk about my, talk about I."

Enough of that. Anyway, I need to take a break from this "Ball of Confusion" (a Temptations song from 1971) called life, especially since I live in the "Gay American State". I, TOO, AM A GAY AMERICAN!!!!!!!! (Gay as in meaning "happy".)

I got my car back from the shop this afternoon. He was not kidding when he said that it will fly. I was not looking, and I was doing 45 in a 35, and there were no cops around-lucky me. The bad news is that I hate to see what the final invoice will tally. The good news is that it runs almost brand new- new brakes, suspension quiet, fresh oil, tune up, etc. I cannot wait to get on I-295- "Boogity!, Boogity!, Boogity!" -Darrell Waltrip

Ashley and I have almost hit two months. I have enjoyed my freedom for the last three days, as she has been out of the office. Back to hearing her rant and other things tomorrow, just in time for the weekend.

I saw a link on AOL that said, "Is your man a looker?" I can answer that for all of you ladies. ALL MEN LOOK! As long as we are with you, there is no urgent need to hit the "panic" insecurity button you tend to carry, provided that you have a true gentleman. Just be yourself, and try to remember the reason why you are with him; hopefully, that reason is not due to sex. Otherwise, you may have a player.

Before I close, I will let you know that I will have another McGreevey Soap Opera Update coming your way. Stay tuned!

THE APPRENTICE will return on Thursday, September 9. I can not wait.

Have a wonderful weekend, wherever you may be.


Phillips Philes Phlashback: President Ronald Reagan's 1984 Acceptance Speech

Source: Ronald Reagan Library Public Records "Remarks Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas"
August 23, 1984

The President: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice President, delegates to this convention, and fellow citizens: In 75 days, I hope we enjoy a victory that is the size of the heart of Texas. Nancy and I extend our deep thanks to the Lone Star State and the "Big D" -- the city of Dallas -- for all their warmth and hospitality.

Four years ago I didn't know precisely every duty of this office, and not too long ago, I learned about some new ones from the first graders of Corpus Christi School in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Little Leah Kline was asked by her teacher to describe my duties. She said: "The President goes to meetings. He helps the animals. The President gets frustrated. He talks to other Presidents." How does wisdom begin at such an early age?

Tonight, with a full heart and deep gratitude for your trust, I accept your nomination for the Presidency of the United States. I will campaign on behalf of the principles of our party which lift America confidently into the future.

America is presented with the clearest political choice of half a century. The distinction between our two parties and the different philosophy of our political opponents are at the heart of this campaign and America's future.

I've been campaigning long enough to know that a political party and its leadership can't change their colors in 4 days. We won't, and no matter how hard they tried, our opponents didn't in San Francisco. We didn't discover our values in a poll taken a week before the convention. And we didn't set a weathervane on top of the Golden Gate Bridge before we started talking about the American family.

The choices this year are not just between two different personalities or between two political parties. They're between two different visions of the future, two fundamentally different ways of governing -- their government of pessimism, fear, and limits, or ours of hope, confidence, and growth.

Their government sees people only as members of groups; ours serves all the people of America as individuals. Theirs lives in the past, seeking to apply the old and failed policies to an era that has passed them by. Ours learns from the past and strives to change by boldly charting a new course for the future. Theirs lives by promises, the bigger, the better. We offer proven, workable answers.

Our opponents began this campaign hoping that America has a poor memory. Well, let's take them on a little stroll down memory lane. Let's remind them of how a 4.8-percent inflation rate in 1976 became back-to-back years of double-digit inflation -- the worst since World War I -- punishing the poor and the elderly, young couples striving to start their new lives, and working people struggling to make ends meet.

Inflation was not some plague borne on the wind; it was a deliberate part of their official economic policy, needed, they said, to maintain prosperity. They didn't tell us that with it would come the highest interest rates since the Civil War. As average monthly mortgage payments more than doubled, home building nearly ground to a halt; tens of thousands of carpenters and others were thrown out of work. And who controlled both Houses of the Congress and the executive branch at that time? Not us, not us.

Campaigning across America in 1980, we saw evidence everywhere of industrial decline. And in rural America, farmers' costs were driven up by inflation. They were devastated by a wrongheaded grain embargo and were forced to borrow money at exorbitant interest rates just to get by. And many of them didn't get by. Farmers have to fight insects, weather, and the marketplace; they shouldn't have to fight their own government.

The high interest rates of 1980 were not talked about in San Francisco. But how about taxes? They were talked about in San Francisco. Will Rogers once said he never met a man he didn't like. Well, if I could paraphrase Will, our friends in the other party have never met a tax they didn't like or hike.

Under their policies, tax rates have gone up three times as much for families with children as they have for everyone else over these past three decades. In just the 5 years before we came into office, taxes roughly doubled.

Some who spoke so loudly in San Francisco of fairness were among those who brought about the biggest single, individual tax increase in our history in 1977, calling for a series of increases in the Social Security payroll tax and in the amount of pay subject to that tax. The bill they passed called for two additional increases between now and 1990, increases that bear down hardest on those at the lower income levels.

The Census Bureau confirms that, because of the tax laws we inherited, the number of households at or below the poverty level paying Federal income tax more than doubled between 1980 and 1982. Well, they received some relief in 1983, when our across-the-board tax cut was fully in place. And they'll get more help when indexing goes into effect this January.

Our opponents have repeatedly advocated eliminating indexing. Would that really hurt the rich? No, because the rich are already in the top brackets. But those working men and women who depend on a cost-of-living adjustment just to keep abreast of inflation would find themselves pushed into higher tax brackets and wouldn't even be able to keep even with inflation because they'd be paying a higher income tax. That's bracket creep; and our opponents are for it, and we're against it.

It's up to us to see that all our fellow citizens understand that confiscatory taxes, costly social experiments, and economic tinkering were not just the policies of a single administration. For the 26 years prior to January of 1981, the opposition party controlled both Houses of Congress. Every spending bill and every tax for more than a quarter of a century has been of their doing.

About a decade ago, they said Federal spending was out of control, so they passed a budget control act and, in the next 5 years, ran up deficits of $260 billion. Some control.

In 1981 we gained control of the Senate and the executive branch. With the help of some concerned Democrats in the House we started a policy of tightening the Federal budget instead of the family budget.

A task force chaired by Vice President George Bush -- the finest Vice President this country has ever had -- it eliminated unnecessary regulations that had been strangling business and industry.

And while we have our friends down memory lane, maybe they'd like to recall a gimmick they designed for their 1976 campaign. As President Ford told us the night before last, adding the unemployment and inflation rates, they got what they called a misery index. In '76 it came to 12 1/2 percent. They declared the incumbent had no right to seek reelection with that kind of a misery index. Well, 4 years ago, in the 1980 election, they didn't mention the misery index, possibly because it was then over 20 percent. And do you know something? They won't mention it in this election either. It's down to 11.6 and dropping.

By nearly every measure, the position of poor Americans worsened under the leadership of our opponents. Teenage drug use, out-of-wedlock births, and crime increased dramatically. Urban neighborhoods and schools deteriorated. Those whom government intended to help discovered a cycle of dependency that could not be broken. Government became a drug, providing temporary relief, but addiction as well.

And let's get some facts on the table that our opponents don't want to hear. The biggest annual increase in poverty took place between 1978 and 1981 -- over 9 percent each year, in the first 2 years of our administration. Well, I should -- pardon me -- I didn't put a period in there. In the first 2 years of our administration, that annual increase fell to 5.3 percent. And 1983 was the first year since 1978 that there was no appreciable increase in poverty at all.

Pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into programs in order to make people worse off was irrational and unfair. It was time we ended this reliance on the government process and renewed our faith in the human process.

In 1980 the people decided with us that the economic crisis was not caused by the fact that they lived too well. Government lived too well. It was time for tax increases to be an act of last resort, not of first resort.

The people told the liberal leadership in Washington, "Try shrinking the size of government before you shrink the size of our paychecks."

Our government was also in serious trouble abroad. We had aircraft that couldn't fly and ships that couldn't leave port. Many of our military were on food stamps because of meager earnings, and reenlistments were down. Ammunition was low, and spare parts were in short supply.

Many of our allies mistrusted us. In the 4 years before we took office, country after country fell under the Soviet yoke. Since January 20th, 1981, not 1 inch of soil has fallen to the Communists.

Audience: 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President: All right.

Audience: 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President: But worst of all, Americans were losing the confidence and optimism about the future that has made us unique in the world. Parents were beginning to doubt that their children would have the better life that has been the dream of every American generation.

We can all be proud that pessimism is ended. America is coming back and is more confident than ever about the future. Tonight, we thank the citizens of the United States whose faith and unwillingness to give up on themselves or this country saved us all.

Together, we began the task of controlling the size and activities of the government by reducing the growth of its spending while passing a tax program to provide incentives to increase productivity for both workers and industry. Today, a working family earning $25,000 has about $2,900 more in purchasing power than if tax and inflation rates were still at the 1980 level.

Today, of all the major industrial nations of the world, America has the strongest economic growth; one of the lowest inflation rates; the fastest rate of job creation -- 6 1/2 million jobs in the last year and a half -- a record 600,000 business incorporations in 1983; and the largest increase in real, after-tax personal income since World War II. We're enjoying the highest level of business investment in history, and America has renewed its leadership in developing the vast new opportunities in science and high technology. America is on the move again and expanding toward new eras of opportunity for everyone.

Now, we're accused of having a secret. Well, if we have, it is that we're going to keep the mighty engine of this nation revved up. And that means a future of sustained economic growth without inflation that's going to create for our children and grandchildren a prosperity that finally will last.

Today our troops have newer and better equipment; their morale is higher. The better armed they are, the less likely it is they will have to use that equipment. But if, heaven forbid, they're ever called upon to defend this nation, nothing would be more immoral than asking them to do so with weapons inferior to those of any possible opponent.

We have also begun to repair our valuable alliances, especially our historic NATO alliance. Extensive discussions in Asia have enabled us to start a new round of diplomatic progress there.

In the Middle East, it remains difficult to bring an end to historic conflicts, but we're not discouraged. And we shall always maintain our pledge never to sell out one of our closest friends, the State of Israel.

Closer to home, there remains a struggle for survival for free Latin American States, allies of ours. They valiantly struggle to prevent Communist takeovers fueled massively by the Soviet Union and Cuba. Our policy is simple: We are not going to betray our friends, reward the enemies of freedom, or permit fear and retreat to become American policies -- especially in this hemisphere.

None of the four wars in my lifetime came about because we were too strong. It's weakness that invites adventurous adversaries to make mistaken judgments. America is the most peaceful, least warlike nation in modern history. We are not the cause of all the ills of the world. We're a patient and generous people. But for the sake of our freedom and that of others, we cannot permit our reserve to be confused with a lack of resolve.

Ten months ago, we displayed this resolve in a mission to rescue American students on the imprisoned island of Grenada. Democratic candidates have suggested that this could be likened to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan -- --

Audience: Boo-o-o!

The President: -- -- the crushing of human rights in Poland or the genocide in Cambodia.

Audience: Boo-o-o!

The President: Could you imagine Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, or Scoop Jackson making such a shocking comparison?

Audience: No!

The President: Nineteen of our fine young men lost their lives on Grenada, and to even remotely compare their sacrifice to the murderous actions taking place in Afghanistan is unconscionable.

There are some obvious and important differences. First, we were invited in by six East Caribbean States. Does anyone seriously believe the people of Eastern Europe or Afghanistan invited the Russians?

Audience: No!

The President: Second, there are hundreds of thousands of Soviets occupying captive nations across the world. Today, our combat troops have come home. Our students are safe, and freedom is what we left behind in Grenada.

There are some who've forgotten why we have a military. It's not to promote war; it's to be prepared for peace. There's a sign over the entrance to Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State, and that sign says it all: "Peace is our profession."

Our next administration -- --

Audience: 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President: All right.

Audience: 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President: I heard you. And that administration will be committed to completing the unfinished agenda that we've placed before the Congress and the Nation. It is an agenda which calls upon the national Democratic leadership to cease its obstructionist ways.

We've heard a lot about deficits this year from those on the other side of the aisle. Well, they should be experts on budget deficits. They've spent most of their political careers creating deficits. For 42 of the last 50 years, they have controlled both Houses of the Congress.

Audience: Boo-o-o!

The President: And for almost all of those 50 years, deficit spending has been their deliberate policy. Now, however, they call for an end to deficits. They call them ours. Yet, at the same time, the leadership of their party resists our every effort to bring Federal spending under control. For 3 years straight, they have prevented us from adopting a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. We will continue to fight for that amendment, mandating that government spend no more than government takes in.

And we will fight, as the Vice President told you, for the right of a President to veto items in appropriations bills without having to veto the entire bill. There is no better way than the line-item veto, now used by Governors in 43 States to cut out waste in government. I know. As Governor of California, I successfully made such vetos over 900 times.

Now, their candidate, it would appear, has only recently found deficits alarming. Nearly 10 years ago he insisted that a $52 billion deficit should be allowed to get much bigger in order to lower unemployment, and he said that sometimes "we need a deficit in order to stimulate the economy."

Audience: Boo-o-o!

The President: As a Senator, he voted to override President Ford's veto of billions of dollars in spending bills and then voted no on a proposal to cut the 1976 deficit in half.

Audience: Boo-o-o!

The President: Was anyone surprised by his pledge to raise your taxes next year if given the chance?

Audience: No!

The President: In the Senate, he voted time and again for new taxes, including a 10-percent income tax surcharge, higher taxes on certain consumer items. He also voted against cutting the excise tax on automobiles. And he was part and parcel of that biggest single, individual tax increase in history -- the Social Security payroll tax of 1977. It tripled the maximum tax and still didn't make the system solvent.

Audience: Boo-o-o!

The President: If our opponents were as vigorous in supporting our voluntary prayer amendment as they are in raising taxes, maybe we could get the Lord back in the schoolrooms and drugs and violence out.

Something else illustrates the nature of the choice Americans must make. While we've been hearing a lot of tough talk on crime from our opponents, the House Democratic leadership continues to block a critical anticrime bill that passed the Republican Senate by a 91-to-1 vote. Their burial of this bill means that you and your families will have to wait for even safer homes and streets.

There's no longer any good reason to hold back passage of tuition tax credit legislation. Millions of average parents pay their full share of taxes to support public schools while choosing to send their children to parochial or other independent schools. Doesn't fairness dictate that they should have some help in carrying a double burden?

When we talk of the plight of our cities, what would help more than our enterprise zones bill, which provides tax incentives for private industry to help rebuild and restore decayed areas in 75 sites all across America? If they really wanted a future of boundless new opportunities for our citizens, why have they buried enterprise zones over the years in committee?

Our opponents are openly committed to increasing our tax burden.

Audience: Boo-o-o!

The President: We are committed to stopping them, and we will.

They call their policy the new realism, but their new realism is just the old liberalism. They will place higher and higher taxes on small businesses, on family farms, and on other working families so that government may once again grow at the people's expense. You know, we could say they spend money like drunken sailors, but that would be unfair to drunken sailors -- [laughter] -- --

Audience: 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President: All right. I agree.

Audience: 4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

The President: I was going to say, it would be unfair, because the sailors are spending their own money. [Laughter]

Our tax policies are and will remain prowork, progrowth, and profamily. We intend to simplify the entire tax system -- to make taxes more fair, easier to understand, and, most important, to bring the tax rates of every American further down, not up. Now, if we bring them down far enough, growth will continue strong; the underground economy will shrink; the world will beat a path to our door; and no one will be able to hold America back; and the future will be ours.

Audience: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President: All right. Another part of our future, the greatest challenge of all, is to reduce the risk of nuclear war by reducing the levels of nuclear arms. I have addressed parliaments, have spoken to parliaments in Europe and Asia during these last 3 1/2 years, declaring that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And those words, in those assemblies, were greeted with spontaneous applause.

There are only two nations who by their agreement can rid the world of those doomsday weapons -- the United States of America and the Soviet Union. For the sake of our children and the safety of this Earth, we ask the Soviets -- who have walked out of our negotiations -- to join us in reducing and, yes, ridding the Earth of this awful threat.

When we leave this hall tonight, we begin to place those clear choices before our fellow citizens. We must not let them be confused by those who still think that GNP stands for gross national promises. [Laughter] But after the debates, the position papers, the speeches, the conventions, the television commercials, primaries, caucuses, and slogans -- after all this, is there really any doubt at all about what will happen if we let them win this November?

Audience: No!

The President: Is there any doubt that they will raise our taxes?

Audience: No!

The President: That they will send inflation into orbit again?

Audience: No!

The President: That they will make government bigger then ever?

Audience: No!

The President: And deficits even worse?

Audience: No!

The President: Raise unemployment?

Audience: No!

The President: Cut back our defense preparedness?

Audience: No!

The President: Raise interest rates?

Audience: No!

The President: Make unilaterial and unwise concessions to the Soviet Union?

Audience: No!

The President: And they'll do all that in the name of compassion.

Audience: Boo-o-o!

The President: It's what they've done to America in the past. But if we do our job right, they won't be able to do it again.

Audience: Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President: It's getting late.

Audience: Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

The President: All right. In 1980 we asked the people of America, ``Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?'' Well, the people answered then by choosing us to bring about a change. We have every reason now, 4 years later, to ask that same question again, for we have made a change.

The American people joined us and helped us. Let us ask for their help again to renew the mandate of 1980, to move us further forward on the road we presently travel, the road of common sense, of people in control of their own destiny; the road leading to prosperity and economic expansion in a world at peace.

As we ask for their help, we should also answer the central question of public service: Why are we here? What do we believe in? Well for one thing, we're here to see that government continues to serve the people and not the other way around. Yes, government should do all that is necessary, but only that which is necessary.

We don't lump people by groups or special interests. And let me add, in the party of Lincoln, there is no room for intolerance and not even a small corner for anti-Semitism or bigotry of any kind. Many people are welcome in our house, but not the bigots.

We believe in the uniqueness of each individual. We believe in the sacredness of human life. For some time now we've all fallen into a pattern of describing our choice as left or right. It's become standard rhetoric in discussions of political philosophy. But is that really an accurate description of the choice before us?

Go back a few years to the origin of the terms and see where left or right would take us if we continued far enough in either direction. Stalin. Hitler. One would take us to Communist totalitarianism; the other to the totalitarianism of Hitler.

Isn't our choice really not one of left or right, but of up or down? Down through the welfare state to statism, to more and more government largesse accompanied always by more government authority, less individual liberty and, ultimately, totalitarianism, always advanced as for our own good. The alternative is the dream conceived by our Founding Fathers, up to the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with an orderly society.

We don't celebrate dependence day on the Fourth of July. We celebrate Independence Day.

Audience: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President: We celebrate the right of each individual to be recognized as unique, possessed of dignity and the sacred right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. At the same time, with our independence goes a generosity of spirit more evident here than in almost any other part of the world. Recognizing the equality of all men and women, we're willing and able to lift the weak, cradle those who hurt, and nurture the bonds that tie us together as one nation under God.

Finally, we're here to shield our liberties, not just for now or for a few years but forever.

Could I share a personal thought with you tonight, because tonight's kind of special to me. It's the last time, of course, that I will address you under these same circumstances. I hope you'll invite me back to future conventions. Nancy and I will be forever grateful for the honor you've done us, for the opportunity to serve, and for your friendship and trust.

I began political life as a Democrat, casting my first vote in 1932 for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That year, the Democrats called for a 25-percent reduction in the cost of government by abolishing useless commissions and offices and consolidating departments and bureaus, and giving more authority to State governments. As the years went by and those promises were forgotten, did I leave the Democratic Party, or did the leadership of that party leave not just me but millions of patriotic Democrats who believed in the principles and philosophy of that platform?

One of the first to declare this was a former Democratic nominee for President -- Al Smith, the Happy Warrior, who went before the Nation in 1936 to say, on television -- or on radio that he could no longer follow his party's leadership and that he was "taking a walk." As Democratic leaders have taken their party further and further away from its first principles, it's no surprise that so many responsible Democrats feel that our platform is closer to their views, and we welcome them to our side.

Four years ago we raised a banner of bold colors -- no pale pastels. We proclaimed a dream of an America that would be "a shining city on a hill."

We promised that we'd reduce the growth of the Federal Government, and we have. We said we intended to reduce interest rates and inflation, and we have. We said we would reduce taxes to provide incentives for individuals and business to get our economy moving again, and we have. We said there must be jobs with a future for our people, not government make-work programs, and, in the last 19 months, as I've said, 6 1/2 million new jobs in the private sector have been created. We said we would once again be respected throughout the world, and we are. We said we would restore our ability to protect our freedom on land, sea, and in the air, and we have.

We bring to the American citizens in this election year a record of accomplishment and the promise of continuation.

We came together in a national crusade to make America great again, and to make a new beginning. Well, now it's all coming together. With our beloved nation at peace, we're in the midst of a springtime of hope for America. Greatness lies ahead of us.

Holding the Olympic games here in the United States began defining the promise of this season.

Audience: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President: All through the spring and summer, we marveled at the journey of the Olympic torch as it made its passage east to west. Over 9,000 miles, by some 4,000 runners, that flame crossed a portrait of our nation.

From our Gotham City, New York, to the Cradle of Liberty, Boston, across the Appalachian springtime, to the City of the Big Shoulders, Chicago. Moving south toward Atlanta, over to St. Louis, past its Gateway Arch, across wheatfields into the stark beauty of the Southwest and then up into the still, snowcapped Rockies. And, after circling the greening Northwest, it came down to California, across the Golden Gate and finally into Los Angeles. And all along the way, that torch became a celebration of America. And we all became participants in the celebration.

Each new story was typical of this land of ours. There was Ansel Stubbs, a youngster of 99, who passed the torch in Kansas to 4-year-old Katie Johnson. In Pineville, Kentucky, it came at 1 a.m., so hundreds of people lined the streets with candles. At Tupelo, Mississippi, at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, a robed church choir sang "God Bless America" as the torch went by.

That torch went through the Cumberland Gap, past the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial, down the Santa Fe Trail, and alongside Billy the Kid's grave.

In Richardson, Texas, it was carried by a 14-year-old boy in a special wheelchair. In West Virginia the runner came across a line of deaf children and let each one pass the torch for a few feet, and at the end these youngsters' hands talked excitedly in their sign language. Crowds spontaneously began singing "America the Beautiful" or "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

And then, in San Francisco a Vietnamese immigrant, his little son held on his shoulders, dodged photographers and policemen to cheer a 19-year-old black man pushing an 88-year-old white woman in a wheelchair as she carried the torch.

My friends, that's America.

Audience: U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

The President: We cheered in Los Angeles as the flame was carried in and the giant Olympic torch burst into a billowing fire in front of the teams, the youth of 140 nations assembled on the floor of the Coliseum. And in that moment, maybe you were struck as I was with the uniqueness of what was taking place before a hundred thousand people in the stadium, most of them citizens of our country, and over a billion worldwide watching on television. There were athletes representing 140 countries here to compete in the one country in all the world whose people carry the bloodlines of all those 140 countries and more. Only in the United States is there such a rich mixture of races, creeds, and nationalities -- only in our melting pot.

And that brings to mind another torch, the one that greeted so many of our parents and grandparents. Just this past Fourth of July, the torch atop the Statue of Liberty was hoisted down for replacement. We can be forgiven for thinking that maybe it was just worn out from lighting the way to freedom for 17 million new Americans. So, now we'll put up a new one.

The poet called Miss Liberty's torch the "lamp beside the golden door." Well, that was the entrance to America, and it still is. And now you really know why we're here tonight.

The glistening hope of that lamp is still ours. Every promise, every opportunity is still golden in this land. And through that golden door our children can walk into tomorrow with the knowledge that no one can be denied the promise that is America.

Her heart is full; her door is still golden, her future bright. She has arms big enough to comfort and strong enough to support, for the strength in her arms is the strength of her people. She will carry on in the eighties unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed.

In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America's is.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Note: The President spoke at 9:11 p.m. at the Dallas Convention Center. Prior to the President's speech, the delegates watched a film which concluded with the introduction of the President.

Following the convention proceedings, the President and Mrs. Reagan attended a reception at the convention center for officials and guests of the Republican National Convention.

McGreevey Soap Opera Update (8/26/04)

This is from the New York Times:

I Still Have Work to Do
August 22, 2004


Trenton - Ten days ago, I made a very difficult personal decision to announce my sexuality and resignation as governor of New Jersey. I also apologized to my wife for my failure to respect the covenant of our marriage, and to the citizens of New Jersey for allowing my professional decisions to be distracted by my personal life. I accepted full responsibility for the sins, transgressions and errorsin judgment I exhibited during my tenure and will work to correct the consequences.

To all those many thousands of individuals, Republican andDemocrat, who called with words of kindness, I simply say thank you. If any good is to come from this episode - as distinct from the accomplishments of my administration -hopefully, it is that New Jersey and increasingly America recognizes that sexuality is an individual imprint and not a statement of competency and capability.

While there are many different and sometimes competing influences, it is my humble hope that my "coming out"could, in some small way, help those gay Americans who have yet to become open with their sexuality. To be gay, for me,was not a choice, but simply stating a reality. Now at peace with arguably one of the most important truths of my life, it is my prayer that I will now be free to live openly and integrate my sexuality with my daily life. This integration will hopefully help my actions, my thoughts and my heart to be in alignment going forward, keeping me from the pitfalls of a divided self or secret truths.

Much has been said about my decision not to resign immediately, but to set Nov. 15 as the effective date of my resignation. My initial inclination was to accept responsibility, apologize and move on quickly. The more I reflected, however, the more I realized that leaving office abruptly would be an abandonment of responsibility.

I fully believe in the importance of elections within a participatory democracy. There can be no greater instrument for ensuring the strength and foundation of our system of government than the electoral process. Recognizing that principle, nonetheless, I can identify two specific reasons for choosing to remain governor until Nov. 15.

First, there are immediate public policy considerations and actions, which need to be completed. Simply put, there are demands and projects which need to be addressed and put in place now.

Having accepted responsibility for my actions by profferingmy resignation didn't necessarily mean that I was required to abandon midstream important initiatives that this administration holds dear.

For instance, our work to establish a stem cell institute between the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NewJersey and Rutgers University is on the cusp of becoming a reality that will be a source of hope to those who are confronting incurable disease.

Our landmark legislation that preserves 400,000 acres of the pristine Highland watershed land now requires the establishment of a mechanism to protect drinking water for more than 5 million residents. A property tax constitutional commission must be appointed to provide for a balanced, thoughtful examination as to the prospects of property tax reforms. The irony is that having no political agenda allows me to make certain difficult decisions regarding the scope and structure of constitutional change.

Moreover, security concerns in light of the heightened level of terror alerts surrounding the Republican National Convention also argue for continuity of leadership.

The second major reason is that our 1947 state constitution establishes the Senate president as the official who would succeed a governor in an unexpired term. I acknowledge that the constitution would permit a special election to occur if I were to resign at or about the first week of September. But the constitution does not outline provisions or state requirements for the timing of a resignation.While the constitution does provide the mechanism for an election, the decision of when to make that resignation effective is a personal one.

I made this decision in the context of what I thought was in the best interest of the state. I truly believe that an orderly transition is important for continuity and stability. An acting governor is more inclined by title to finish the good work that has been started. Moreover, inthis case, there will still be an election next year as called for in the constitution. There is a great cost to staging an election hastily; even a statewide race could get lost in a national election year and the momentum and investment made in still developing initiatives would most likely be diminished.

This decision was a difficult one and it was made with serious deliberation. While I see the merits of both sides of the debate, I stand firm with my decision. My obligation is to complete the important work already started and to achieve an effective transition of state government.

James E. McGreevey is the Democratic governor of New Jersey.
The comments of Joyce, as e-mailed to me:

Our "girlie man" N.J. governor putting his life in his hands (literally with the Democrat guerillas political mob in this state) by defending his late departure from state government that would supercede the required special election to fill his vacantcy. His riduluous defense in this opinion piece of "his decision" to leave office in the middle of November-- 12 weeks after announcing his resignation, makes no sense and is all about feeding McGreedy's personal ego at the expense of a N.J. citizen's voting to pick his replacement.


Phillips Philes Phlashback: TX Governor George W. Bush's PRE-9/11/01 Acceptance Speech From 2000

Source: USA Today "Text of Bush acceptance speech" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
August 3, 2000

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Mr. Chairman - Mr. Chairman, delegates and my fellow citizens, I proudly accept your nomination.

Thank you. Thank you for this honor.

Thank you for this honor.

Together, we will renew America's purpose.

Our founders first defined that purpose here in Philadelphia. Ben Franklin was here, Thomas Jefferson and, of course, George Washington, or, as his friends, called him, George W.

I am proud to have Dick Cheney by my side.

He is a man - he is a man of integrity and sound judgment who has proven that public service can be noble service.

America will be proud to have a leader of such character to succeed Al Gore as vice president of the United States.

I'm grateful for Senator John McCain. I appreciate so very much his speech two nights ago. I appreciate his friendship. I love his spirit for America. And I want to thank the other candidates who sought this office, as well. Their convictions have strengthened our party.

I'm especially grateful tonight to my family. No matter what else I do in my life, asking Laura to marry me was the best decision I ever made.

And to our daughters, Barbara and Jenna, we love you a lot. We're proud of you. And as you head off to college this fall, don't stay out too late. And e-mail your old dad once in a while, will you?

And mother, everybody loves you and so do I.

Growing up - growing up, she gave me love and lots of advice. I gave her white hair.

And I want to thank my dad, the most decent man I have ever known.

All of my life I have been amazed that a gentle soul could be so strong.

Dad, I am proud to be your son.

My father was the last president of a great generation, a generation of Americans who stormed beaches, liberated concentration camps and delivered us from evil. Some never came home. Those who did put their medals in drawers, went to work and built on a heroic scale highways and universities, suburbs and factories, great cities and grand alliances, the strong foundations of an American century.

Now the question comes to the sons and daughters of this achievement, what is asked of us? This is a remarkable moment in the life of our nation. Never has the promise of prosperity been so vivid.

But times of plenty like times of crises are tests of American character.

Prosperity can be a tool in our hands used to build and better our country, or it can be a drug in our system dulling our sense of urgency, of empathy, of duty. Our opportunities are too great, our lives too short to waste this moment.

So tonight, we vow to our nation we will seize this moment of American promise. We will use these good times for great goals.

We will confront the hard issues, threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security, before the challenges of our time become crises for our children.

And we will extend the promise of prosperity to every forgotten corner of this country: to every man and woman, a chance to succeed; to every child, a chance to learn; and to every family, a chance to live with dignity and hope.

For eight years the Clinton-Gore administration has coasted through prosperity. The path of least resistance is always down hill. But America's way is the rising road. This nation is daring and decent and ready for change.

Our current president embodied the potential of a generation - so many talents, so much charm, such great skill. But in the end, to what end? So much promise to no great purpose.

Little more than a - little more than a decade ago, the Cold War thawed, and with the leadership of Presidents Reagan and Bush, that wall came down.

But instead of seizing this moment, the Clinton-Gore administration has squandered it. We have seen a steady erosion of American power and an unsteady exercise of American influence. Our military is low on parts, pay and morale. If called on by the commander in chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report, ''Not ready for duty, sir.''

This administration had its moment, they had their chance, they have not led. We will.

This generation - this generation was given the gift of the best education in American history, yet we do not share that gift with everyone. Seven of 10 fourth-graders in our highest poverty schools cannot read a simple children's book. And still this administration continues on the same old path, the same old programs, while millions are trapped in schools where violence is common and learning is rare.

This administration had its chance. They have not led. We will.

America has a strong economy and a surplus. We have the public resources and the public will, even the bipartisan opportunities to strengthen Social Security and repair Medicare. But this administration, during eight years of increasing need, did nothing.

They had their moment. They have not led. We will.

Our generation has a chance to reclaim some essential values, to show we have grown up before we grow old. But when the moment for leadership came, this administration did not teach our children, it disillusioned them.

They had their chance. They have not led. We will.

And now they come asking for another chance, another shot. Our answer: Not this time, not this year.

This is not the time for third chances; it is the time for new beginnings.

The rising generations of this country have our own appointment with greatness. It does not rise or fall with the stock market. It cannot be bought with our wealth. Greatness is found when American character and American courage overcome American challenges.

When Lewis Morris of New York was about to sign the Declaration of Independence, his brother advised against it, warning he would lose all his property. But Morris, a plainspoken founder, responded, ''Damn the consequences, give me the pen.''

That is the eloquence of American action. We heard it during World War II when General Eisenhower told paratroopers on D-Day morning not to worry. And one replied, ''We're not worried, General. It's Hitler's turn to worry now.''

We heard it in the civil rights movement, when brave men and women that did not say, "We shall cope," or "We shall see." They said, "We shall overcome."

An American president must call upon that character.

Tonight in this hall, we resolve to be the party of - not of repose but of reform. We will write not footnotes but chapters in the American story. We will add the work of our hands to the inheritance of our fathers and mothers and leave this nation greater than we found it.

We know the test of leadership. The issues are joined. We will strengthen Social Security and Medicare for the greatest generation and for generations to come.

Medicare does more than meet the needs of our elderly; it reflects the values of our society. We will set it on firm financial ground and make prescription drugs available and affordable for every senior who needs them.

Social Security has been called the third rail of American politics, the one you're not supposed to touch because it might shock you. But if you don't touch it, you cannot fix it.

And I intend to fix it.

To the seniors in this country, you earned your benefits, you made your plans, and President George W. Bush will keep the promise of Social Security, no changes, no reductions, no way.

Our opponents will say otherwise. This is their last parting ploy, and don't believe a word of it.

Now is the time - now is the time for Republicans and Democrats to end the politics of fear and save Social Security together.

For younger workers, we will give you the option, your choice, to put part of your payroll taxes into sound, responsible investments.

This will mean a higher return on your money in over 30 or 40 years, a nest egg to help your retirement or to pass on to your children.

When this money is in your name, in your account, it's just not a program, it's your property.

Now is the time to give American workers security and independence that no politician can ever take away.

On education, too many American children are segregated into schools without standards, shuffled from grade to grade because of their age, regardless of their knowledge. This is discrimination, pure and simple, the soft bigotry of low expectations. And our nation ... and our nation should treat it like other forms of discrimination: We should end it.

One size does not fit all when it comes to educating our children, so local people should control local schools.

And those who spend your tax dollars must be held accountable. When a school district receives federal funds to teach poor children, we expect them to learn. And if they don't, parents should get the money to make a different choice.

Now is the time to make Head Start an early learning program to teach all our children to read and renew the promise of America's public schools.

Another test of leadership is tax relief.

The last time taxes were this high as a percentage of our economy, there was a good reason; we were fighting Wo War II. Today our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend.

But they've got it backwards. The surplus is not the government's money; the surplus is the people's money.

I will use this moment of opportunity to bring common sense and fairness to the tax code. And I will act on principle. On principle, every family, every farmer and small-business person should be free to pass on their life's work to those they love, so we will abolish the death tax.

On principle, no one in America should have to pay more than a third of their income to the federal government, so we will reduce tax rates for everyone in every bracket.

On principle, those with the greatest need should receive the greatest help, so we will lower the bottom rate from 15% to 10% and double the child credit.

Now is the time to reform the tax code and share some of the surplus with the people who pay the bills.

The world needs America's strength and leadership. And America's armed forces need better equipment, better training and better pay.

We will give our military the means to keep the peace, and we will give it one thing more: a commander in chief who respects our men and women in uniform and a commander in chief who earns their respect.

A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear and the victory must be overwhelming.

I will work to reduce nuclear weapons and nuclear tension in the world, to turn these years of influence into decades of peace. And at the earliest possible date, my administration will deploy missile defenses to guard against attack and blackmail.

Now is the time not to defend outdated treaties but to defend the American people.

A time of prosperity is a test of vision, and our nation today needs vision. That's a fact. That's a fact. Or as my opponent might call it, a risky truth scheme. Every one of the proposals I've talked about tonight he's called a risky scheme over and over again. It is the sum of his message, the politics of the roadblock, the philosophy of the stop sign.

If my opponent had been at the moon launch, it would have been a risky rocket scheme.

If he had been there when Edison was testing the light bulb, it would have been a risky anti-candle scheme.

And if he had been there when the Internet was invented ...

He now leads - he now leads the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but the only thing he has to offer is fear itself.

That outlook is typical of many in Washington, always seeing the tunnel at the end of the light.

But I come from a different place and it has made me a different leader. In Midland, Texas, where I grew up, the town motto was, ''The sky's the limit,'' and we believed it. There was a restless energy, a basic conviction that with hard work, anybody could succeed and everybody deserved a chance.

Our sense of community - our sense of community was just as strong as that sense of promise. Neighbors helped each other. There were dry wells and sand storms to keep you humble, lifelong friends to take your side, and churches to remind us that every soul is equal in value and equal in need.

This background leaves more than an accent, it leaves an outlook - optimistic, impatient with pretense, confident that people can chart their own course in life.

That background may lack the polish of Washington. Then again, I don't have a lot of things that come with Washington. I don't have enemies to fight. I have no stake in the bitter arguments of the last few years. I want to change the tone of Washington to one of civility and respect.

The largest lesson I learned in Midland still guides me as governor of Texas: Everyone, from immigrant to entrepreneur, has an equal claim on this country's promise. So we improved our schools dramatically for children of every accent, of every background. We moved people from welfare to work. We strengthened our juvenile justice laws. Our budgets have been balanced with surpluses. And we cut taxes, not only once, but twice.

We accomplished a lot.

I don't deserve all the credit, and I don't attempt to take it. I work with Republicans and Democrats to get things done.

A bittersweet part of tonight is that someone is missing, the late lieutenant governor of Texas, Bob Bullock.

Bob was a Democrat, a crusty veteran of Texas politics, and my great friend. We worked side by side, he endorsed my re-election, and I know he is with me in spirit in saying to those who would malign our state for political gain: Don't mess with Texas.

As governor, I've made difficult decisions and stood by them under pressure.

I've been where the buck stops in business and in government. I've been a chief executive who sets an agenda, sets big goals, and rallies people to believe and achieve them. I am proud of this record, and I am prepared for the work ahead.

If you give me your trust, I will honor it. Grant me a mandate, I will use it. Give me the opportunity to lead this nation, and I will lead.

And we need a leader to seize the opportunities of this new century - the new cures of medicine, the amazing technologies that will drive our economy and keep the peace. But our new economy must never forget the old, unfinished struggle for human dignity. And here we face a challenge to the very heart and founding premise of our nation.

A couple of years ago, I visited a juvenile jail in Marlin, Texas, and talked with a group of young inmates. They were angry, wary kids. All had committed grown-up crimes. Yet when I looked in their eyes, I realized some of them were still little boys.

Toward the end of the conversation, one young man, about 15 years old, raised his hand and asked a haunting question, "What do you think of me?" He seemed to be asking, like many Americans who struggle: Is their hope for me? Do I have a chance? And, frankly, do you, a white man in a suit, really care about what happens to me?

A small voice, but it speaks for so many: single moms struggling to feed the kids and pay the rent; immigrants starting a hard life in a new world; children without fathers in neighborhoods where gangs seem like friendship or drugs promise peace, and where sex sadly seems the closest thing to belong. We are their country too. And each of us must share in its promise or the promise is diminished for all.

If that boy in Marlin believes he's trapped and worthless and hopeless, if he believes his life has no value, then other lives have no value to him, and we're all diminished.

When these problems are not confronted, it builds a wall within our nation. On one side are wealth, technology, education and ambition. On the other side of that wall are poverty and prison, addiction and despair. And my fellow Americans, we must tear down that wall.

Big government is not the answer, but the alternative to bureaucracy is not indifference. It is to put conservative values and conservative ideas into the thick of the fight for justice and opportunity.

This is what I mean by compassionate conservatism. And on this ground, we will lead our nation.

We will give low-income Americans tax credits to buy the private health insurance they need and deserve.

We will transform today's housing rental program to help hundreds of thousands of low-income families find stability and dignity in a home of their own.

And in the next bold step of welfare reform, we will support the heroic work of homeless shelters and hospices, food pantry and crisis pregnancy centers, people reclaiming their communities block by block and heart by heart.

I think of Mary Jo Copeland, whose ministry called Sharing and Caring Hands serves 1,000 meals a week in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Each day, Mary Jo washes the feet of the homeless and sends them off with new socks and shoes. "Look after your feet," she tells them. "They must carry you a long way in this world, and then all the way to God."

Government cannot do this work. It can feed the body, but it cannot reach the soul.

Yet, government can take the side of these groups, helping the helper, encouraging the inspired. My administration will give taxpayers new incentives to donate to charity, encourage after-school programs that build character, and support mentoring groups that shape and save young lives.

We must give our children a spirit of moral courage because their character is our destiny.

We must tell them - we must tell them - we must tell them with confidence that drugs and alcohol can destroy you, and bigotry disfigures the heart.

Our schools must support the ideals of parents, elevating character and abstinence from afterthoughts to urgent goals.

We must help protect our children in our schools and streets, and by finally and strictly enforcing our nation's gun laws.

But most of all, we must teach our children the values that defeat violence. I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life - the life of the elderly and sick, the life of the young and the life of the unborn.

Good people can disagree on this issue, but surely we can agree on ways to value life by promoting adoption, parental notification. And when Congress sends me a bill against partial-birth abortion, I will sign it into law.

Behind every goal I've talked about tonight is a great hope for our country. A hundred years from now this must not be remembered as an age rich in possession and poor in ideals.

Instead, we must usher in an era of responsibility.

My generation tested limits, and our country in some ways is better for it. Women are now treated more equally.

Racial progress has been steady; it's still too slow. We're learning to protect ... we're learning to protect the natural world around us. We will continue this progress, and we will not turn back.

At times we lost our way, but we're coming home.

So many of us held our first child and saw a better self reflected in her eyes. And in that family love, many have found the sign and symbol of an even greater love, and have been touched by faith.

We discovered that who we are is more than important than what we have. And we know we must renew our values to restore our country.

This is the vision of America's founders. They never saw our nation's greatness in rising wealth or in advancing armies, but in small, unnumbered acts of caring and courage and self-denial.

Their highest hope, as Robert Frost described it, was to occupy the land with character. And that, 13 generations later, is still our goal, to occupy the land with character.

In a responsibility era, each of us has important tasks, work that only we can do. Each of us is responsible to love and guide our children and to help a neighbor in need. Synagogues, churches and mosques are responsible, not only to worship, but to serve. Corporations are responsible to treat their workers fairly and to leave the air and waters clean.

And our nation's leaders our responsible to confront problems, not pass them onto others.

And to lead this nation to a responsibility era, that president himself must be responsible.

So when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not only uphold the laws of our land, I will swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God.

I believe the presidency, the final point of decision in the American government, was made for great purposes. It is the office of Lincoln's conscience, of Teddy Roosevelt's energy, of Harry Truman's integrity and Ronald Reagan's optimism.

For me, gaining this office is not the ambition of a lifetime, but it is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I will make the most of it.

I believe great decision are made with care, made with conviction, not made with polls.

I do not need to take your pulse before I know my own mind.

I do not reinvent myself at every turn. I am not running in borrowed clothes.

When I act, you will know my reasons. And when I speak, you will know my heart.

I believe in tolerance, not in spite of my faith, but because of it.

I believe in a God who calls us not to judge our neighbors but to love them.

I believe in grace because I've seen it, and peace because I've felt it, and forgiveness because I've needed it.

I believe true leadership is a process of addition, not an act of division.

I will not attack a part of this country because I want to lead the whole of it.

And I believe this'll be a tough race, down to the wire. Their war room is up and running, but we are ready.

Their attacks will be relentless, but they will be answered. We are facing something familiar, but they're facing something new.

We are now the party of ideas and innovation, the party of idealism and inclusion, the party of a simple and powerful hope.

My fellow citizens, we can begin again.

After all of the shouting and all of the scandal, after all the bitterness and broken faith, we can begin again.

The wait has been long, but it won't be long now.

A prosperous nation is ready to renew its purpose and unite behind great goals, and it won't be long now.

Our nation must renew the hopes of that boy I talked with in jail and so many like him, and it won't be long now.

Our country is ready for high standards and new leaders, and it won't be long now.

An era of tarnished ideals is giving way to a responsibility era, and it won't be long now.

I know how serious the task is before me. I know the presidency is an office that turns pride into prayer. But I am eager to start on the work ahead, and I believe America is ready for a new beginning.

My friend, the artist Tom Lea of El Paso, Texas, captured the way I feel about our great land, a land I love. He and his wife, he said, "Live on the east side of the mountain. It's the sunrise side, not the sunset side. It is the side to see the day that is coming, not to see the day that has gone."

Americans live on the sunrise side of the mountain, the night is passing, and we're ready for the day to come.

God bless. God bless America.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

New York Times: Rivals Mine Kerry Senate Years for Material to Slow Him Down

Source: New York Times "Rivals Mine Kerry Senate Years for Material to Slow Him Down"
January 25, 2004

Joyce Notes: The New York Times, ironically, exposes Lurches frequent see-sawing and backpedaling in the Senate in this article that strangly coming from this paper shows Kerryoake to be the three W's: WISHY-WASHY; WEAK; and WIMPY

Rivals Mine Kerry Senate Years for Material to Slow Him Down

January 25, 2004

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 - The moment John Kerry began to seem like the candidate to watch in the Iowa caucuses, the campaigns of his Democratic rivals Howard Dean and Richard A. Gephardt swiftly used a handful of Mr. Kerry's decade-old Senate votes and statements against ethanol and agricultural subsidies to attack him as not supportive of Iowa's essential industry.

Now that his opponents are moving even more aggressively to slow Mr. Kerry's rise, his 19-year voting record as the junior senator from Massachusetts could loom as his greatest political vulnerability, to Democrats and Republicans alike. The sheer length of Mr. Kerry's service means that he has built a paper trail of positions on education, the military, intelligence and other issues - stands that might have looked one way when he took them but that resonate differently now.

For example, at the end of the cold war, Mr. Kerry advocated scaling back the Central Intelligence Agency, but after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he complained about a lack of intelligence capability. In the 1980's, he opposed the death penalty for terrorists who killed Americans abroad, but he now supports the death penalty for terrorist acts. In the 1990's, he joined with Republican senators to
sponsor proposals to end tenure for public school teachers and allow direct grants to religion-based charities, measures that many Democratic groups opposed. In 1997, he voted to require elderly people with higher incomes to pay a larger share of Medicare premiums.

The record is susceptible to two broad strands of attack. Mr. Kerry's rival Democrats point to a series of shifting stands on issues, like his qualified praise for the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress and his vote authorizing President Bush to use force in Iraq. They say these are at odds with his claim to be the "real deal" Democratic alternative to Mr. Bush, capable of "standing up for people and taking on powerful interests," as he says in his stump speech.

"When it was popular to be a Massachusetts liberal, his voting record was that," said Jay Carson, a Dean campaign spokesman. "When it was popular to be for the Iraq war, he was for it. Now it's popular to be against it, and he's against it. This is a voting record that is a big vulnerability against Republicans in the general election. He's all over the place on this stuff."

Speaking with reporters in New Hampshire on Saturday, Dr. Dean used Senator Kerry's record to make a point about his own foreign policy experience.

"His voting record on Iraq is exactly the opposite of mine," Dr. Dean said, pointing to Mr. Kerry's votes against the Gulf War in 1991 and for the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq last fall. "I think mine has been proven to be right twice."

By contrast, the Republicans seek to paint Mr. Kerry as voting in lock step with, or even to the left of, his fellow Massachusetts Democrat Edward M. Kennedy.

"Whether it's economic policy, national security policy or social issues, John Kerry is out of sync with most voters," the Republican national chairman, Ed Gillespie, said in a speech on Friday.

Mr. Kerry's spokesman, David Wade, said the senator was "proud of his independence and unashamed that his resistance to orthodoxy leaves him hard to pigeonhole," adding that he had "fought a lifetime for what's right even when it's neither popular nor predictable." He added, "Ed Gillespie may be the last guy left who doesn't realize it's George Bush who's out of touch with the American people."

On a number of issues, including support for gun control, gay rights and the environment, Mr. Kerry has a long, consistent record. He has been a strong opponent of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and has earned a lifetime 96 percent "right" voting record from the League of Conservation Voters. His lifetime score from the A.F.L.-C.I.O. is 90 percent, while his rating by the American Conservative Union stands at just 6 percent.

But on many issues, Mr. Kerry has often struck more nuanced, politically cautious positions than those broad assessments might suggest. After the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, Mr. Kerry proclaimed himself "delighted with seeing an institutional shake-up because I think we need one." A few months later, with President Bill Clinton locked in combat with the Republicans, Mr. Kerry voiced some doubts in a closed-door meeting of senators about the wisdom of trying to raise the minimum wage. And as Mr. Kennedy later recalled, he told Mr. Kerry, "If you're not for raising the minimum wage, you don't deserve to call yourself a Democrat."

Mr. Kerry's old friend Adam Walinsky, who helped him draft the strongly worded anti-Vietnam War speech to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that marked the start of his political career in 1971, noted the contrast between Mr. Kerry's outspoken youth and his much more cautious Senate career.

"His politics are not that bold," Mr. Walinsky said. "And it's a really interesting question as to why. Certainly, in the times when I met him and the issues we were involved with then, there was nothing cautious or hesitant. Maybe some of it is that horrible Washington groupthink."

A Kerry campaign aide said that if the campaign was forced to defend itself, it was "armed with a treasure-trove of votes that prove John Kerry's commitment to strong national defense, a stronger intelligence-gathering operation than George Bush has delivered, and to a long record of fighting the deficit, reforming education and restructuring welfare."

Mr. Kerry has a detailed record of positions on scores of topics - a potential handicap for any incumbent senator running for the presidency. That may be one reason no one has made the leap directly since John F. Kennedy in 1960.

But unlike some of his colleagues with long records to defend, Mr. Kerry has never been especially popular with other Democrats in Congress and the party establishment. They have accused him of being too eager to be in the majority, too quick to position his vote for political advantage.

The rap on Mr. Kerry's Senate career, fellow senators and Congressional aides say, has been that he is more interested in high-profile investigations - like those into the Bank of Credit and Commerce International and Gen. Manuel Noriega of Panama - than in the grinding details of legislative procedure. He has deferred to Mr. Kennedy on most bills involving health and education and has few major bills to his name; when asked to summarize his legislative accomplishments, he often seems to struggle.

But among the details of his legislative record, there is fertile ground for his rivals' attacks. Mr. Kerry voted for the USA Patriot Act, Mr. Bush's No Child Left Behind education bill and the Congressional resolution authorizing the president to use force in Iraq, only to sharply criticize all three once he became a presidential candidate. Mr. Kerry counters that his quarrel is with Mr. Bush's execution of the policies, but he struggled for months to explain his shifting stance on the Iraq war.

In 1991, Mr. Kerry voted with a majority of Democratic senators to oppose the first President Bush's use of force to repel Iraq from Kuwait, saying that the danger of a yes vote was "that those who vote for use of force will create a situation where it becomes more, rather than less, likely that the force they hope will not be used will, in fact, be used."

By contrast, in fall 2002, as he was weighing a presidential run, he voted with a narrower majority of Democratic senators to grant President Bush the right to use force to overthrow Saddam Hussein if necessary, "because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region."

Like his rival and fellow senator John Edwards of North Carolina, Mr. Kerry has since voted against Mr. Bush's request for billions of dollars for reconstruction and military operations in Iraq. He said that to do so would be to reward the administration for inept execution of prewar diplomacy that might have avoided the conflict, and of postwar planning for the American occupation.

Some criticism of Mr. Kerry goes back much farther. After the end of the cold war, he asked why the nation's "vast intelligence apparatus continues to grow even as government resources for new and essential priorities fall far short of what is necessary," as he put it in remarks in the Senate in 1997. He proposed a series of measures, most of which lacked sufficient support, to cut spending programs for intelligence.

But after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Kerry said on the CBS News program "Face the Nation," "The tragedy is, at the moment, that the single most important weapon for the United States of America is intelligence, and we are weakest, frankly, in that particular area."

In 1998, Mr. Kerry criticized the "stifling bureaucracy" of the public school system and called for an "end to teacher tenure as we know it," incorporating some of his ideas into a bill he co-sponsored with Senator Gordon H. Smith, Republican of Oregon. He also worked with Senator Christopher S. Bond, Republican of Missouri, on a bill to allow direct grants to charities, including religious institutions, for certain early childhood education programs. Both measures were opposed by teachers unions and other Democratic constituencies.

Some of Mr. Kerry's rivals' attacks are not hard to answer. An e-mail critique circulated by the Dean campaign says that as a candidate for Congress in 1972, Mr. Kerry promised to cut military spending, without noting that the Vietnam War was then still under way and that Mr. Kerry was running not only as a decorated veteran of two tours there but as a national leader of veterans who opposed the war.

Kerry and Edwards: Enemies Just Months Ago

Source: "Kerry and Edwards: Enemies Just Months Ago"
July 6, 2004

Joyce Notes: This lengthy article is about what Lurch and his psychic running mate really think of each other. Note how nasty they are to each other. Example: Kerry talking about Edwards "This is not the time for on-the-job training in the White House on national security issues." Edwards talking about Kerry "There is a difference here. There is a difference between Senator Kerry and myself..What he's saying now is different than what he did in the past." You both got that right!!

Kerry and Edwards: Enemies Just Months Ago
Chuck Noe,
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards don’t make for a diverse presidential ticket. Both are filthy-rich middle-aged white males – words of horror to the liberal establishment, though offset by their left-wing voting records. Both have flip-flopped on many issues, the latest of which is their opinions of each other.
Edwards repeatedly said he would not be Kerry's running mate, though it has been obvious for months he was running for the No. 2 job. Will he be honest in the future, or did his false denials in fact expose his character, or lack thereof?

Kerry, meanwhile, sniped at Edwards even more often than the one-term senator attacked him. Beltway insiders say the party establishment pressured a reluctant Kerry to accept his telegenic former foe.

Though the two are all smiles now, they were snapping at each other earlier this year. Among the conflicts pointed out by the Republican National Committee and the Associated Press:

Diaper Rash vs. Baggy Eyes

Kerry has frequently ridiculed Edwards’ lack of experience. In return, the freshman senator has portrayed the Massachusetts Democrat as an old fogy.

“‘In the Senate four years – and that is the full extent of public life – no international experience, no military experience. You can imagine what the advertising is going to be next year,” Kerry told the New York Times in January. “When I came back from Vietnam in 1969 I don’t know if John Edwards was out of diapers then. Well, I’m sure he was out of diapers.”

“Kerry took aim at Edwards’s lack of military and foreign policy experience while responding to Edwards’s comment that both candidates shared similar plans to rebuild Iraq,” the Boston Globe reported Feb. 23. Kerry said: “Well, I think he would like it to be that way, but I think I have 35 years of experience in international security, foreign policy and military affairs, and I think that makes an enormous difference here.”

Kerry mocked the first-term pol’s lust for power. “The veteran senator also questioned the former trial lawyer’s pursuit of the presidency after less than one term in elective office,” the Globe reported Jun 10. “‘And people call me ambitious?’ a Globe reporter once overheard Kerry asking an aide.”

“I think the American people want an experienced hand at the helm of state,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Kerry as saying on Feb. 3. “This is not the time for on-the-job training in the White House on national security issues.”
Not to be outdone, Edwards portrayed his rival being as old and tired as … well, as old and tired as Kerry looks and is.

Edwards’ campaign, incessantly described by the media establishment as positive and upbeat, ordered underlings to describe Howard Dean as an “elitist from Park Avenue in New York City” and charge that Kerry “can’t claim to change America because he has been part of the failed Washington politics for too long,” CNN reported Jan. 22.

A classic quote from Edwards in late February: “Do you believe that change is more likely to be brought about by someone who has spent 20 years in Washington or by someone who is more of an outsider to this process?”

You’re a Loser/You’re a Bigger Loser

Just months ago both candidates agreed on one thing: The other guy couldn’t defeat President Bush.

“Edwards says he’s the only one who can win states in the South. He can’t win his own state,” Kerry told his aide David Wade, in a remark picked up by a reporter’s microphone, the New York Times reported Feb. 3.

Steve Elmendorf, Kerry’s deputy campaign manager, said in mid-February, “We play everywhere, unlike John Edwards and Howard Dean and anyone else in the race.”
Edwards, on the other hand, branded Kerry as an out-of-touch Taxachusetts left-wing elitist.

Edwards’ infamous memo unearthed by CNN on Jan. 22 advised, “In order to Bush, we need a nominee who can win Southern states, not another New Englander or Washington insider who loses every Southern state.”

“The question is, who on the top of the Democratic ticket can go every place in America and campaign with the candidates and strengthen their ability to get elected? In Georgia, do you want John Edwards campaigning with you? Do you want Howard Dean campaigning with you? Do you want John Kerry campaigning with you?” the Times on Jan. 22 quoted Edwards as saying.

A week later Edwards increased his assault. “If Democratic voters want to take the risk that we can for the first time in our country’s history win a presidential election without winning any Southern states then they have that choice; that’s not me. I’m somebody that will compete every single place in America, and with a proven record of doing that.” (In reality, his record proved to be losing every state except the Carolinas.)

Edwards in early February: “Folks in the South, they’re tired of Republicans taking the South for granted. They’re tired of Democrats ignoring the South. What they want is somebody to fight for them.”

The Times on Feb. 27 reported: “At one point, Mr. Edwards expressed doubt that Mr. Kerry could defeat Mr. Bush in a series of swing states that could decide the election next fall because of some of the votes he has cast over the years.” It quoted him as saying, “I would concede that Senator Kerry may have an advantage in New Hampshire. I would not believe he has an advantage over me any place else. I think I have the advantage in these other places.”

Edwards took a rare gamble in depicting Kerry as a soft-on-terrorism leftist. After Kerry said there was “an enormous question about the exaggeration by this administration” on its evidence against Saddam Hussein, Edwards said in late January, “It’s hard for me to see how you can say there’s an exaggeration when thousands of people lost their lives on September the 11th

Trading Insults

Sen. Flip-Flop has been trying to have it both ways on Bill Clinton’s North American Free Trade Agreement, which he voted for in 1993 but now complains about, although not as much as his fresh-faced rival.

Edwards “wasn’t in the Senate back then,” Kerry said in February. “I don’t know where he registered his vote, but it wasn’t in the Senate.”

Kerry’s campaign mocked Edwards’ attempt to go populist on trade. An e-mail from a Kerry spokesman trashed a speech the North Carolinian gave, NBC noted Feb. 20: “Below is John Edwards MAJOR economic address, where he promises to reward work and to create opportunity. There’s one thing missing from this speech: TRADE. Apparently, cracking down on unfair trade practices and promoting fair and balanced trade was not a priority to John Edwards just eight months ago. Mr. Johnny Come Lately on Trade!”

Another memo from Kerry’s campaign, accusing Edwards of flip-flopping four times on fast-track trade authority for the president, said Edwards “voted FOR the China trade deal, even while acknowledging that he thought jobs would be lost,” the Globe reported Feb. 20.

Kerry’s handler Stephanie Cutter said in late February, “Edwards has talked more about NAFTA in the last three weeks than he did in his entire career.”

Kerry joined in the attacks. “If he’s going to blame me for NAFTA, then I hope he’s going to give me credit for the single-vote passage of a deficit-reduction act that created 23 million jobs.”

And then he stepped up the onslaught. “John Edwards has been in the Senate for five years. He’s talked more in the last five weeks about trade than he has in the entire five years. The fact is that he didn’t vote in the 1994 election when he had a chance to vote about trade. He didn’t talk about it, against it, in his election in 1998 when he ran for the Senate. And he went to the New York Times last week and said that he thought that NAFTA, in fact, was good for the prosperity of our country.”

Edwards, wooing Big Labor, had the luxury of not having to vote on NAFTA.

He told CNN’s Larry King on Feb. 3: “I myself have been against NAFTA because of the damage it’s doing to our economy, against the other trade agreements that I don’t believe incorporate fair trade elements that need to be there. That’s the difference between Senator Kerry and myself. And I think these differences will become clearer and clearer as the race focuses on the two of us.”

Echo chamber: The next day the Los Angeles Times reported that Edwards “cited his modest background and his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement as two of their principal differences.” The candidate said, “I think these differences will become clearer and clearer as the race focuses on the two of us.”

A week later, to the Globe: “I opposed NAFTA. I take trade and issues of job loss personally. I’ve seen it up close.” He called these “obvious differences” between himself and the front-runner.

To NBC: “Senator Kerry voted for NAFTA; I opposed NAFTA. I wanted to make sure voters knew about that.”

He emphasized to voters in Milwaukee: “I’m against NAFTA; I was against NAFTA. Governor Dean and Senator Kerry were for it.”

To the Washington Post: “I think it’s clear that Senator Kerry and I have very different records on trade.”

Edwards bragged to a college audience “that his disagreements with Kerry extended well beyond NAFTA and include many trade agreements he has opposed,” the Associated Press reported Feb. 20. The candidate said: “Those trade deals were wrong. They cost us too many jobs and lowered our standards.”

To ABC’s “This Week” on Feb. 22: “We both voted for China; that’s correct. But Senator Kerry voted for all those trade agreements. And I did oppose NAFTA when I was running for the Senate, back in 1998, because I saw the devastation that it created. We have very different records when it comes to trade. And my position on this is driven by my own personal experience. I have seen the effect it’s had on families and on communities.”

Edwards noted Kerry’s flip-flops on trade. “There is a difference here. There is a difference between Senator Kerry and myself. … What he’s saying now is different than what he did in the past,” the Post on Feb. 27 quoted him as saying.

He’s Not Greedy Enough/He’s Too Greedy

Kerry blasted Edwards for being the less greedy of the two in scheming to confiscate Americans’ paychecks. Edwards let Kerry have his way on that one.

“Also, John Edwards, I notice, voted to give life to George Bush’s tax cut, because he voted for the first round of that tax cut. I did not. I always thought it was a pig in the poke,” the Massachusetts pol said Feb. 22 on ABC’s “This Week.” Clintonista host George Stephanopoulos observed, “He voted against the final package.” Kerry grumbled, “He voted against the final passage, but he gave it life by sending it to the Republican House.”

Kerry targeted Edwards, CNN reported Jan. 14, by “promising to close the ‘outrageous tax loophole that allows wealthy business owners to avoid paying their Medicare taxes.”

Edwards, on the other hand, sounded like a Republican in tarring Kerry as a tax-and-spend liberal.

“Senator Kerry has consistently said that he can pay for all the things that he’s proposing and substantially reduce the deficit, I think I’ve heard him say cut it in half, in his first term. Well, The Washington Post … just analyzed his proposals, and it’s the same old thing. Here we go again. In fact, in fact, he overspends, in terms of being able to pay for all of his proposals, he overspends by $165 billion in his first term, which means he would drive us deeper and deeper into deficit. My point is very simple about all this. This is the same old Washington talk that people have been listening to for decades. They want something different,” Edwards said during the Democrat debate Feb. 29.

He told CNN’s Larry King on Feb. 17 that “the electorate is divided into a third Democrats, a third independents, a third Republicans. If we’re going to win the general election, we’re going to have to get independents. This is another in a long series of examples of me being much more attractive to independent voters. … I will make distinctions between Senator Kerry and myself. I’ve already been doing that, Larry, over the last several days here in Wisconsin.”

Not So Special

Kerry portrayed the fat-cat trial lawyer as a tool of not-so-special interest groups. Edwards portrayed the Beltway insider as a tool of not-so-special interest groups.

Kerry’s mouthpiece Cutter said in late January, ‘If his intent is to remove special interests from Washington, why has he, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, taken more than $11 million from lawyers and law firms?”

The next month she fought back after Edwards touted a study showing Kerry was the Senate’s emperor of special-interest money. “This is an interesting line of attack from the positive campaign of John Edwards considering that his campaign is wholly funded by trial lawyers, which are widely recognized as special interests and lobbyists.”

In another shot at trial lawyers, whose endless lawsuits help make health care unaffordable for many Americans but who are one of the Democrat party’s biggest cash cows, Kerry sniped: “It seems to me there’s a huge amount of money that’s been compiled in his campaign from one particular area of our economy. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Edwards returned the fire.

“It’s one thing to talk about special interests. It’s something else to do something about it,” he said in late January. “It’s a difference between Senator Kerry and me.”

The Times reported Jan. 27: “Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, hoping for another lift here after his second-place finish in Iowa, said that unlike Mr. Kerry he had never taken contributions from ‘Washington lobbyists’ and told reporters traveling on his bus, ‘If we want real change in America, real change in Washington, it’s my belief that it takes somebody that’s not a Washington insider to do that.’

Edwards said a week later: “We want someone who hasn’t been there for 15 to 20 years, if you’re going to bring change. I don’t take contributions from lobbyists. He obviously does.”

You Rich White Guy/You Richer Whiter Guy

The two fat cats bared their claws over which one could empathize with the common man.

The two WASPs stung each other over Kerry’s blue blood. “If where you come from was a qualification for being president, we’d never have had Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy,” Kerry said in February. Edwards shot back: “I have lived with the same problems when I was growing up that most families live with every day. Because of that, I understand their problems on a personal level.”

In one of his meanest remarks, Edwards accused Kerry of that ultimate Democrat sin: not pandering to the poor and unsuccessful. Where’s compassionate liberalism when you need it? “There are multiple differences on economics,” Newsweek on March 1 quoted Edwards as saying. “One, the difference in our personal stories. Two, I’m the person who’s focused much more on what has to be done for the middle class. Three, I have not heard him talk about poverty. I doubt if it would be a priority.”

Edwards in mid-January: “In 1969, I was sitting around a kitchen table with my parents trying to figure out how we would pay for college like so many Iowans do every single day. And that is a difference between me and Senator Kerry.”

Raining on Mr. Sunny/Beaming at Mr. Rainy

Time after time, the dour Kerry displayed jealousy of Edwards’ sunny aura. Edwards, born to be a sidekick, usually kept his vacant Carter-like grin plastered on.

Kerry’s campaign complained in late February: “Edwards promised to run a positive campaign. But now Edwards attacks John Kerry and runs from his own record.”

The Bostonian complained in October: “Most importantly, I do something John Edwards doesn’t do, which is make health care available to every single American family. It doesn’t do a lot of good to just have kids covered and, as often is the case, not have the parents covered, because the kids wind up still not getting to the doctor.”

During the Democrat debate Feb. 26, Kerry accused his future running mate of dishonesty. He complained “there’s nothing, nothing in the returns in 18 out of 20 primaries and caucuses so far that documents what John Edwards has just said. I won independents and Republicans in Iowa.” Moderator Larry King said, “You mean he’s not telling the truth?” Kerry replied, “There’s nothing that documents what he just said.”

During the debate at USC, Kerry hectored Edwards for refusing to say whether he regretted his vote for military action in Iraq. Kerry snarled, “You [were] asked a yes-or-no question: Do you regret your vote?”
Kerry, of course, voted for that same resolution, though as he infamously bragged to veterans, he later voted not to supply the troops he had put in harm’s way.

Edwards also voted not to supply the troops he had put in harm’s way. And that sort of wishy-washy behavior is what makes Kerry and Edwards two flip-flopping peas in a pod.