Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Do You Hear What I Hear?


Do You Hear What I Hear?

By Dana Milbank

Tuesday, August 24, 2004; Page A15

The 2004 presidential campaign sometimes resembles the children's game of "telephone." Here are some quotations as they came out of Democratic nominee John F. Kerry's mouth -- and how President Bush and Vice President Cheney later recounted them.

"Every performer tonight in their own way, either verbally or through their music, through their lyrics, have conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country." -- Kerry, July 8

"The other day, my opponent said he thought you could find the heart and soul of America in Hollywood." -- Bush, Aug. 18

"My goal, my diplomacy, my statesmanship is to get our troops reduced in number and I believe if you do the statesmanship properly, I believe if you do the kind of alliance building that is available to us, that it's appropriate to have a goal of reducing the troops over that period of time [the first six months of a Kerry administration]. Obviously, we'd have to see how events unfold. . . . It is an appropriate goal to have and I'm going to try to achieve it." -- Kerry, Aug. 9

"I took exception when my opponent said if he's elected, we'll substantially reduce the troops in six months. He shouldn't have said that. See, it sends a mixed signal to the enemy for starters. So the enemy hangs around for six months and one day. . . . It says, maybe America isn't going to keep its word." -- Bush, Aug. 18

"I will fight this war on terror with the lessons I learned in war. I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as president of the United States. I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history. I lay out a strategy to strengthen our military, to build and lead strong alliances and reform our intelligence system. I set out a path to win the peace in Iraq and to get the terrorists wherever they may be before they get us." -- Kerry, Aug. 5

"Senator Kerry has also said that if he were in charge he would fight a 'more sensitive' war on terror. America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive. . . . Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed." -- Cheney, Aug. 12

"Lee Hamilton, the co-chairman of the 9/11 commission, has said this administration is not moving with the urgency necessary to respond to our needs. I believe this administration and its policies is actually encouraging the recruitment of terrorists. We haven't done the work necessary to reach out to other countries. We haven't done the work necessary with the Muslim world. We haven't done the work necessary to protect our own ports, our chemical facilities, our nuclear facilities. There is a long, long list in the 9/11 recommendations that are undone."
-- Kerry, Aug. 2

"My opponent says . . . that going to war with the terrorists is actually improving their recruiting efforts. I think the logic -- I know the logic is upside down. It shows a misunderstanding of the nature of these people. See, during the 1990s, these killers and terrorists were recruiting and training for war with us, long before we went to war with them. They don't need an excuse for their hatred. It's wrong to blame America for anger and the evil of these killers. We don't create terrorists by fighting back. You defeat the terrorists by fighting back." -- Bush, Aug. 18

"Yes, I would have voted for the authority [to use force in Iraq]. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have. But I would have used that authority, as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively. I would have done this very differently from the way President Bush has. My question to President Bush is: Why did he rush to war without a plan to win the peace? Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth?" -- Kerry, Aug. 9

"He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq. After months of questioning my motives, and even my credibility, the Massachusetts senator now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpiles of weapons we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power." -- Bush, Aug. 18

Now for an update on the White House's ongoing effort to kill the press corps. The White House travel office signed a contract last week with an airline called Primaris to fly the press corps to Bush events. The two-month-old company has only one airplane. True, media representatives gave their blessing to the deal. But that was before they learned that the company's president twice had his pilot's license revoked related to his flying of an "unairworthy" aircraft, that the chief executive flopped in his last attempt to start an airline and that the 15-year-old plane itself was damaged in a hailstorm a decade ago and spent most of the past two years mothballed in France.