Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Bad move

John Kerry is told to repudiate a Dean comment by the head of Bush's re-election campaign and Kerry does precisely that.

WASHINGTON - Presidential candidate John Kerry said Wednesday he does not share fellow Democrat Howard Dean's position that President Bush's decision to send troops to Iraq appears to have been a factor in the Spanish train bombing.

The chairman of Bush's re-election campaign called on Kerry to repudiate the comment that Dean made during a conference call arranged by the Kerry campaign.

"The president was the one who dragged our troops to Iraq, which apparently has been a factor in the death of 200 Spaniards over the weekend," Dean said as he defended Kerry from a Bush television ad that accused Kerry of turning his back on U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq.

Asked about the comment on his campaign plane Wednesday, Kerry said, "It's not our position."

Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot said Dean blamed the deaths on Bush and the war on terror when they were caused by a global terror network.

"If Senator Kerry understands the nature of this threat and the need to take on terror, then he should immediately repudiate these troubling comments, and stop all efforts on behalf of his surrogates to blame America for these attacks," said Racicot, former governor of Montana.

This is not simply a matter of Kerry running away from a Dean statement. It is a matter of Kerry ducking when the Republicans say "boo!"

Bad move. Bad leadership. Dean said nothing that was incorrect. By repudiating it Kerry has essentially ceded the point to the Bushies on this matter instead of seizing it as an opportunity to further highlight the failures in Bush's foreign policy.

I guess he can avoid "apologizing" when it is he that they are attacking directly. But when it is someone else that is attacked then Kerry starts looking for ways to protect himself from the fallout.


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