Thursday, August 05, 2004

Playing Politics

CNN's Bill Schneider gets snarky:

WOODRUFF: Well, the war on terror is now a political issue in the presidential race here in the United States. That fact was made clear this week by the latest reported terrorist threats. Here now, CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The War in Iraq has always been a political issue. Now, terror, too, has become politics. The administration says be afraid, be very afraid.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not yet safe. Threats are still out there.

SCHNEIDER: The homeland security secretary's message was specific and sobering.

TOM RIDGE, SECY. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It is alarming in both the amount and specificity of the information.

SCHNEIDER: Many Democrats were alarmed by the timing of the alert, right after John Kerry's triumphant convention, based on intelligence that was several years old. They saw politics. But Kerry couldn't say that without sounding cynical.

KERRY: I haven't suggested that, and I won't suggest that.

SCHNEIDER: So others said it, with or without Kerry's approval.

HOWARD DEAN, FMR. VERMONT GOVERNOR: It's just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics.

SCHNEIDER: No fear of sounding cynical here.

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": With the Democratic party now in the spotlight, many people are wondering -- yes, oh, this just in. I'm sorry. "Terror warning." OK.

(APPLAUSE)

OK, I guess we'll have to stop. We'll have to stop talking about the Democrats.

SCHNEIDER: The administration was shocked -- shocked -- to hear that politics might be going on.

RIDGE: We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security.

SCHNEIDER: Oh, no?

RIDGE: The kind of information available to us today is the result of the president's leadership in the war against terror.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats, too, can turn terror into politics. They can accuse the White House of fear mongering.

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: A true leader inspires hope and vanquishes fear. This administration does neither. Instead, it brings fear.

SCHNEIDER: They can argue that Democrats would do better.

KERRY: And I believe that I can fight a more effective war on terror than George Bush is. I know I can fight a more effective war.

SCHNEIDER: How?

KERRY: I will build and lead strong alliances.

SCHNEIDER: And they can charge that the administration's policies, like the war in Iraq, have made the U.S. more vulnerable.

KERRY: I believe this administration in its policies is actually encouraging the recruitment of terrorists.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: This week, a barrier was broken. The war on terror is now officially a political issue. Judy?

WOODRUFF: Sea change.

SCHNEIDER: Yes.

WOODRUFF: OK. Bill Schneider. Thank you very much.

Of course Schneider, trying again to be "balanced", implies that playing to people's fear of terrorism and pointing out that someone is playing to people's fear of terrorism are equal.

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