Friday, August 06, 2004

Where Was John?

Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON — Trying to chip away at President Bush's advantage on national security issues, John Kerry said Thursday he would have jumped into action more quickly than President Bush did on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Democratic presidential nominee chided Bush for sitting quietly with a group of Florida elementary school students for seven minutes after learning that hijacked airplanes had struck the World Trade Center in New York.

"Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whispered in my ear that America is under attack, I would have told those kids very nicely and politely that the president of the United States has something that he needs to attend to," Kerry said.

The Massachusetts senator's remarks drew laughter and applause from about 5,000 journalists, mostly African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American and Native Americans who gathered in Washington for the Unity: Journalists of Color convention. Bush is scheduled to speak to the convention early today.

Rudy Giuliani shot back with the right political response from the other side: "John Kerry must be frustrated in his campaign if he is armchair quarterbacking based on cues from Michael Moore." A centerpiece of "Fahrenheit 9/11" is footage of the president remaining with the students instead of leaving immediately upon hearing of the second attack.

Rudy's brilliant, really: Maneuver the whole "seven minutes with the goat book" thing into Michael Moore territory and thus make it off-limits to Kerry, who is at pains to let it be known he did not see "F9/11" lest he validate MM's status as anti-war kingmaker.

But leave it to a blogger to ask -- and answer -- the really interesting question, "where exactly was John Kerry that morning when America was under attack, and what was he doing?"

Redstate got the goods.

In an interview with Larry King on CNN, July 8, 2004, Sen. Kerry was asked where he was the morning of September 11th. Here is part of his response:

Kerry: "... And as I came in [to a meeting in Sen. Daschle's office], Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid were standing there, and we watched the second plane come in to the building. And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table and then we just realized nobody could think, and then boom, right behind us, we saw the cloud of explosion at the Pentagon ...."

It should be noted that the second plane hit the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m., and the plane hit the Pentagon at 9:43 a.m. By Kerry's own words, he and his fellow senators sat there for forty minutes, realizing "nobody could think."

In other words: Sen. Kerry, who criticized President Bush for not rushing out of the Florida classroom for seven minutes, sat paralyzed with his colleagues for a full forty minutes. He is hardly in a position to criticize President Bush for "inaction."

New media gets an essential leg of the story while dino-media is too brain-addled even to ask the question.

Some people want to give Kerry a by on this, because it wasn't a point he brought up on his own; he was answering a question. But many if not most of the quotes you read from Bush or Kerry or any politician are responses to specific questions. Perhaps it's misleading not to let people know that. But if you only quoted them on the topics they choose to speak on, you wouldn't learn much.

The fact is, he missed a great chance here to help his cause, by saying hindsight is 20-20, and what's important is what he plans to do, and taking the opportunity to distance himself from Michael Moore, who stalked the Demo Convention like Marley's ghost and who is odious to a lot of non-base voters who otherwise would be more open to supporting Kerry.