January 26, 2004

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mekong Delta): "Yes, I do," says the candidate . "I believe this president breached faith with the lesson that I just expressed to you that we learned in Vietnam. You truly should go to war as a matter of last resort. Iím afraid this p

Those of you have been reading the LNS for awhile
probably remember that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mekong
Delta) was a candidate that both foreign correspondent
Dunston Woods and I had high hopes for...But the LNS,
over the months, turned away from Kerry as he
exhibited a failure of leadership, most notably in his
vote for the _resident's war resolution, but perhaps
even worse by refusing to acknowledge his mistake
afterwards and condemn the foolish military adventure
that the Bush cabal has dragged this country into...In
Iowa, Kerry surprises us, showing impressive political
skills and a grim determination by coming back from
near oblivion, now on the eve of the New Hampsire
primary, he has begun to demostrate the political
courage that is going to be demanded of the
anti-Bush...We could be close now to annointing a
leader...But there is more...There is a push to
deep-six Wesley Clark (D-NATO) in N.H., just as Dean
was ambushed in Iowa. But I have a feeling Clark might
surprise them with a strong second place finish. And
trust me, John Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) and Wesley Clark
(D-NATO) need each other, and the Party and the US
itself needs them both...The LNS will explain why late
Tuesday night, after the polls in New Hampshire
close...Meanwhile, Howard Dean (D-Jeffords), whatever
happens in N.H. tomorrow, has blinked in the wake of
Iowa, attempting to re-define himself as milktoast. He
is acting like Gore did in 2000, when after the first Bush-Gore debate Gore allowed the propapunditgandists to mess with his game, and stopped going after Bush aggressively in the subsequent encounters. Now Dean, like Gore has second-guessed himself, and may have proven the doubters within the Party right (yes, Gore won anyway, but Dean probably wouldn't) ...After Iowa, I said Dean deserved better, and he did. But now that Dean has blinked, everything has changed...

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mekong Delta): "Yes, I do," says the candidate . "I believe this president breached faith with the lesson that I just expressed to you that we learned in Vietnam. You truly should go to war as a matter of last resort. Iím afraid this president rushed to war without a plan to win the peace. "

Support Our Troops, Elect Two Soldiers in 2004:
Kerry/Clark or Clark/Kerry...

Here is Bradley's full report from 60 Minutes:

Had John Kerry, the four-term senator from
Massachusetts, not stumbled coming out of the gate and
not had trouble breaking away from the field in the
race to become the Democratsí candidate for president,
there were those in his party who say he would have
been a runaway winner.

Now, with a win in last weekís Iowa caucus, heís back
on track. At least, the smart money thinks heís got a
good shot Ė maybe the best shot Ė at getting his
partyís coveted nomination. 60 Minutes Correspondent
Ed Bradley caught up with Kerry on the campaign trail.

Kerry say he thinks he's doing a better job at
connecting with people today than he did at the
beginning of his campaign. So what happened?

"Itís sometimes like spring training," says the
senator. "You kind of have to get out of Washington,
get away from the language. Get away from the sort of
formality, and break out. And thatís what I did."

But Kerryís formality comes as much from growing up in
a patrician family as from the years spent in
Washington as a senator. Born in 1943, his mother was
a Boston blue-blood and his father was an Army Air
Corps pilot who later became a foreign service
officer, which meant that Kerry, the second of four
children, moved from place to place in the United
States and Europe.

"I can remember, as a 12-year-old kid, I actually rode
my bicycle into the East sector of Berlin Ė which is a
huge no-no Ė using my diplomatic passport, until my
dad found out and I was firmly grounded and my
passport was yanked," Kerry recalls.

In eighth grade, Kerry went to St. Paulís, a boarding
school in New Hampshire, and then to Yale, where he
was a member, as George W. Bush was, of Skull and
Bones, an elite private club.

He enlisted in the Navy and, in 1968, he went to
Vietnam, where Lieutenant Kerry earned three Purple
Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star commanding
what were known as swift boats, patrolling the rivers
of the Mekong Delta.

How did he get the Silver Star?

"Surviving, I guess, is the best way to put it," Kerry
explains. "I think most people who walk around with
medals in this country, may be proud of the medals.
And I am. But weíre much more, sort of thoughtful and
remembering of the people who didnít come home, who
are really the heroes. And I just am not comfortable,
sort of, going into the story."

When did he decide the war was wrong?

"Within weeks, almost, of being there," he says.

And what was it that changed your mind?

"It was the totality of the experience that I saw,"
replies the senator. "The lesser role the Vietnamese
were playing in their own country. The rules that we
were enforcing on them. The free-fire zones of
harassment and interdiction fire. The more I saw of
these missions, the more I said, 'This is a folly.'Ē

He came back and became part of the Vietnam veterans
who were part of the war protest movement. At one
point, in 1971, there was a march on Arlington
Cemetery. And the doors were locked. Does Kerry
remember that?

"I do remember that," he says. "It was a bitter, sad
moment for every veteran there. Because all we were
going to go do is pay tribute to the fallen. And we
were so distrusted that they barred the doors."

That very week in 1971, Lt. Kerry was invited to
testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He said, in part: "How do you ask a man to be the last
man to die for Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the
last man to die for a mistake?"

To 60 Minutes Correspondent Bradley, Kerry says today,
"It was a huge moment in my life. I just launched into
what came from my gut and my heart. I Ė in a sense, it
had been building up for a long time."

For Kerry, it's still emotional after all these years.
Vietnam is something that just doesn't leave you.

Explains Kerry, "It's young people dying young for the
wrong reasons, because leaders don't do the things
that they should do to protect them."

Does he see a parallel with Iraq?

"Yes, I do," says the candidate. "I believe this
president breached faith with the lesson that I just
expressed to you that we learned in Vietnam. You truly
should go to war as a matter of last resort. Iím
afraid this president rushed to war without a plan to
win the peace."

But this was the war that the senator voted for.

"No," replies Kerry. "I think a better way to phrase
that is: I voted for a process by which war would be
the last resort. And those are the conditions which
the president himself established. He said, 'I will
build a coalition. We're going to use the United
Nations, we will inspect, and I will go to war as a
last resort.' He did not do anything three of those
things. So yes, I believe we should have stood up to
Saddam Hussein, I thought it was important for our
nationís security. There was a right way to do it, and
there was a wrong way to do it. The president chose
the wrong way."

And for those who say Kerry should have voted no,
Kerry adds this: "If anyone believes that I would have
used that authority the way George Bush did, they
should not vote for me, period."

Wesley Clark has said that he has won a war. He has
negotiated a peace agreement: "Iím not worried about
John Kerry. Heís a lieutenant, Iím a general."

To that, Kerry says, "Well, thatís the first time Iíve
heard a general be so dismissive of lieutenants, who
bleed a lot in wars. I think that the general is
entitled to his feelings and his opinions."

Does Kerry think John Edwards has the experience?

"Thatís not for me to judge, thatís for the American
people to judge." Kerry replies.

Kerry was critical of Edwards at one point, saying:
"When I came back from Vietnam in 1969, ladies and
gentleman, Iím not sure if John Edwards was out of
diapers then yet."

In response to that, Kerry tells Bradley, "I
immediately said afterwards, 'Iím only joking,' and I
said 'No, of course he wasn't.' And I then proceeded
to praise him as a very talented and capable person.
And I believe that about him. And, obviously, you
canít joke at all, and I shouldnít."

Kerry certainly doesn't joke about George W. Bush,
saying, "I disagree with President Bush on, number
one, his economic policy, which is driving the country
into debt and not creating jobs, giving tax cuts to
wealthy Americans at the expense of the average
American; the energy bill which has been transformed
into $50 billion of oil and gas subsidies. Almost
every policy in the environment is going backwards. I
disagree with his approach to health care, which is no
approach at all, and I disagree deeply, profoundly,
with the way he is conducting his war on terror that
is breaking our relationships around the planet,
isolating the United States. Thatís what I disagree
with, for starters."

Bradley asks, "Did you leave anything out?"

And Kerry replies, "Thereís more, thereís more, my

Kerry has vowed, "We will send George Bush back to
Texas, we will stand up and we will say, 'Mission

But its takes money, and lots of it, to have a chance
to give the president that pink slip. Mr. Bush is
expected to raise an unprecedented $200 million for
his re-election campaign. So how does Kerry top that?

"Iím not worried about his money," says the senator.

Because Kerry and Gov. Dean are the only Democratic
candidates to forgo public financing, there is no cap
on the amount of money they can raise.

Says Kerry, "If I win this nomination early, I will
have the ability to mobilize the full power of the
Democratic party to raise money. And unlike Al Goreís
cycle, Iíll have the ability answer back and fight
back. They may have the money, but I think we have the
ideas, and the people."

Bradley points out some criticisms that have been
brought to bear on Kerry: "They said that youíre too
aloof, you lack a common touch, that youíre a
politician who lacks a real core. How do you respond
to them?"

"I think Iowa responded to them," Kerry says.

Kerryís first elective office was in 1982 as
lieutenant governor to Michael Dukakis. He was elected
to the senate in 1984, where he focused on
investigations into Iran-Contra, Panamanian dictator
Manuel Noriega and joined fellow Vietnam vet John
McCain in looking into the fate of missing POWs in
southeast Asia.

But his political career took a toll on his marriage.
He separated from his first wife in 1982 and they
divorced six years later. Kerry was a single father of
two daughters when he met his current wife, Teresa
Heinz, widow of Senator John Heinz, who was killed in
a plane crash in 1991. She was left with three sons, a
half-billion dollar fortune and control of a
billion-dollar charitable foundation. Born in
Mozambique, Africa, her father was a Portuguese
doctor. She and Kerry have been married for eight

What would Mrs. Heinz-Kerry's role be, as first lady?

"Keeping him honest, strong -- up when they knock him,
and real humble when they praise him too much," she
says. "And you know Washington. They always do that.
You know, you're either a devil or you're a saint.
AndÖnone of us are either, or most of us are not."

Was she ever opposed to her husband's campaign? Was
she a tough sell?

"I was a tough sell until about a year and a half

And today?

"I support him completely."

Mrs. Heinz-Kerry says she has not been a part of even
one strategy session in her husband's campaign. So
what is her role in the campaign?

Her reply: "I just go out and do my thing. Get them
all into trouble, is what I do."

And what about her vast fortune? Bradley asks Kerry if
the money ever gets in the way. Does it cast a giant

He replies, "At first, I was a little bit, actually,
sort of intimidated by that. I think itís one of the
reasons I was cautious. But then, you know, emotions
and feelings take precedence, and you take what comes
with it. Iím not worried about it."

Says his wife, "I came with it."

And he continues, "No, but I mean, what I mean is,
thatís my point. That I didnít worry. You know, just,
it doesnít matter anymore. But I canít tell you in an
honest way that I didnít have to step over that kind
of barrier, sure."

By law, his wife can only contribute $2,000 of her own
money to his campaign. But the Kerrys have mortgaged
their jointly owned townhouse in Boston to pump money
into the race. And Mrs. Heinz-Kerry says sheíll spend
her own money independent of the campaign to defend
her family against negative attacks.

In an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Morley
Safer, 33 years ago, Kerry was asked if he wanted to
be president. Bradley, reminding Kerry of his
response, says, "You laughed. You said, 'No, thatís
such a crazy question at a time like this, when there
are so many things that have to be done and so many
changes that have to be made. I just donít think itís
something that you plan.'"

Kerry explains, "I thought my anti-war activities
would probably disqualify me from running for office,
as he asked that, and I think thatís what I was
referring to."

Every Democrat elected president in the last 40 years
has been a southerner. Republicans say that they canít
wait to pull out all of their Dukakis comparisons if
Kerry is indeed the nominee. Does he really think a
Massachusetts liberal can win, say, the south, for

"I think what people are looking for is not regional,
where you come from," says Kerry. "Theyíre looking for
whatís in your gut. The people in the south that I
talk to want jobs just as much as people in the rest
of the country. They want health care. They want to
drink clean water and breathe clean air. The fact is
that Michael Dukakis didnít lose the presidency
because he came from Massachusetts. The truth is,
Americans are going to look at your character, and
theyíre going to look at your vision for the country.
And theyíre going to test whether your words are real,
and whether youíll fight for them."

He's convinced he can close this deal.

"I am convinced," he affirms. "Iím convinced Iím going
to beat George Bush and lead this country to a better

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Posted by richard at January 26, 2004 08:38 AM