Kerry Owes America An Apology

John Kerry went too far yesterday, effectively accusing President Bush of corruption.

In comments, caught on tape, Kerry had this exchange with union workers:

“Keep smiling,” one man said to him.

Kerry responded, “Oh yeah, don’t worry man. We’re going to keep pounding, let me tell you — we’re just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I’ve ever seen.

Shame on John Kerry! Kerry should be required to support the slanderous charges with detailed facts or apologize to President Bush and the country. What evidence does John Kerry have of corruption or lying by President Bush? John Kerry has no more evidence to support his assertion of corruption and lying than Terry McAuliffe had to support his outrageous allegations that President Bush was AWOL, Al Gore had to support his outlandish charge that President Bush "betrayed" the nation or Howard Dean's "speculation" that President Bush was warned about the 9-11 attacks.

Why can't John Kerry and other Democrats stand up and debate policies based on reason and facts? Instead of resorting to slanderous name calling, Kerry ought to try to engage President Bush in a reasoned discussion about the merits of particular policies. Why is that too much to ask?

Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel chided Kerry for breaking his promise to run a clean campaign, and faulted Democrats for "harsh, angry (and) bitter" comments:

"Throughout the primary process and obviously now, Democrats have used some of the most harsh, angry, bitter rhetoric that we have seen in our country's history," Stanzel said.

"As always, we indicated that we want this to be about the issues," he added.

Stanzel said that on the night of March 3, when Kerry effectively clinched the nomination, Bush called Kerry and said he looked forward to a spirited race. Kerry replied that he hoped the campaign would stick to the issues but, Stanzel said, "It doesn't seem to me that Senator Kerry is following that statement."

Fox News reported that Bush-Cheney campaign chairman Marc Racicot called for Kerry to apologize:

"Senator Kerry's statement today in Illinois was unbecoming of a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America, and tonight we call on Senator Kerry to apologize to the American people for this negative attack," Racicot said in a statement. "On the day that Senator Kerry emerged as his party's presumptive nominee, the president called to congratulate him. That goodwill gesture has been met by attacks and false statements."

According to the Washington Post, Kerry shows no remorse for slandering president Bush:

Kerry campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said the Democratic candidate had no regrets about his characterizations of the opposition. "Not at all," she said.

If this election is to be a meaningful debate about the conduct of the war against terrorism and other important issues, the outrageous and slanderous name calling must stop. Reasoned debate requires a modicum of decorum. Accusing a sitting president of corruption and lying, without any supporting evidence, is not the sort of "debate" I expect from a former attorney general who is a U.S. Senator and wants to be president.

Posted by Dan Spencer at March 11, 2004 5:14 AM