Q: Senator Kerry, do you believe that the President is a liar?
This afternoon on the Ed Schultz show they were discussing the debates and whether Kerry should come right out and accuse Bush of being a liar. Ed seemed to be in favor of it, but I am not. However, the question of Bush's honesty is likely to come up in the debate, so here's my chance to play debate coach and suggest how Kerry should deal with it:
Q: Senator Kerry, a significant number of people in this country have begun to question the honesty of the President, in both his domestic and foreign policy. A significant number of voters believe that the President deceived this country into war with Iraq. Senator Kerry, do you believe that the President is a liar?
Kerry: The question of lying is a question of intent. Now it is clear that the case for war was less than it was made at the time. But whether Mr. Bush intentionally mislead this country into war or whether his administration simply made a mistake is beyond my ability to judge. I'm not sure which is the more disturbing option: that Mr. Bush deliberately mislead us into war or that his administration was simply incompetent. However, I can tell you that I find it deeply troubling that we even have to ask this question. It is disturbing that we can't even be sure which of the these two awful options is closer to the truth. It is a failed leadership that loses the trust of a nation's people. When I am president I will work to restore the faith the American people once had in their president.
Q: So you won't tell us whether you think Bush is a liar?
Kerry: I will leave that judgment to history and the American people.
Q: But your personal opinion...?
Yes, I know the debate rules don't allow for follow-up questions. But this is all fantasy anyway and I just like the image of Kerry shrugging in response to the question.