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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Thursday, September 04, 2003


Kerry Cries, Punches Dean, Acts Wistful

posted by Trammell at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Kerry Says Bush 'Dead Wrong,' Cries at Sad Story

DERRY, N.H. (Reuters) - Maybe it was the ginger tea or the homemade brownies, but Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry ran a gamut of emotions on Wednesday, angrily denouncing President Bush as "dead wrong" on Iraq and shedding tears at a jobless woman's story.

Crying in New Hampshire, site of the first major primary of election seasons for the past half century, proved disastrous to another Democrat's White House campaign. Edmund Muskie's 1972 presidential bid sank after he teared up because of media attacks on his wife. But times have changed. Both the current and previous Presidents Bush are well known for struggling publicly with tears. [...]

"I don't care how many jobs I have to work, those kids are going to college," she said. "And if I can, I'll do whatever it takes to make this country stronger." Kerry, sitting beside her in Mary Ann's Diner, a popular small-town New Hampshire stop for 2004 presidential candidates, choked up and his eyes watered.

"That's very moving. It really is," he said, wiping away a tear. "No, it's tough." (NOTE: Funny, all the crying references seem to have been excised from most versions of this story. Chris Lehane screaming in your ear can do amazing things, I suppose.)[...]

Kerry's campaign has been fighting slippage in the polls and the perception it has been too detached, too flush with old-guard Democratic advisers and too slow to retool. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has eclipsed Kerry in early polls in New Hampshire, although the primary is more than four months away and the general election 14 months away.

Kerry's announcement speech was intended to reignite his White House bid by distilling what he has been saying for nine months into 30 minutes of "straight" talk (NOTE: Oh, please!) and he had plenty of that for both Bush and Dean on Iraq.

"I say to America, we deserve a president who gets it right from the beginning before young men and women are killed," he said. "They were wrong. Dead wrong. They should have listened to (Secretary of State) Colin Powell. They didn't and now they're trying to recoup."

Kerry, who voted in the U.S. Senate for the war in Iraq but has since criticized Bush's handling of it, has taken political heat for trying to have it both ways, especially from Dean, who was against the war from the start.

"Howard Dean's opposition to the war was wrong," Kerry told reporters. "You can't just walk away. All along I said you had to hold Saddam Hussein accountable but do it right." (NOTE: Isn't it really Kerry who's "trying to recoup?" He still can't get the Iraq story straight. No, Mr. Kerry, on Irag YOU were wrong!)

"There's something about September," he said. "The sky's bluer, the air's clearer ... and this campaign has plenty of gas."

(NOTE: Isn't it fun to use petroleum product metaphors and "blue sky, clean air" phraseology all at the same time?)


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.