Pattaya Daily News

02 November 2006 :: 17:11:49 pm 32130

Kerry apologizes to U.S. Troops

In a brief statement, Kerry apologizes to "any service member, family member or American who was offended" by remarks he made earlier this week, in which he suggested that those who don‘t do well in school could "get stuck in Iraq."
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Statement of Senator John Kerry
             As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troop. 

            I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended. 
                        
It is clear the Republican Party would rather talk about anything but their failed security policy. I don’t want my verbal slip to be a diversion from the real issues. I will continue to fight for a change of course to provide real security for our country, and a winning strategy for our troops
. ……… 

            George Bush demanded that Mr Kerry apologise for his “insulting and shameful” remarks. 

            Democrats stampeded over each other yesterday to disassociate themselves from John Kerry, their presidential candidate two years ago, who has handed Republicans an election lifeline with remarks implying US troops in Iraq are there because they are stupid. 

            Senator Kerry, speaking to a group of students in California on Monday, said: “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” A video of his speech was placed swiftly on the internet and then seized upon by the White House, which has been desperate to switch the focus of voters away from the mounting toll of death and destruction in Iraq before Tuesday’s crucial elections for control of Congress. 

            Harold Ford Jnr, who is running for the Senate in Tennessee, said: “Whatever the intent, [he] was wrong to say what he said.” Jon Tester, the party’s senatorial candidate in Montana, said: “He owes our troops and their families an apology.” Senator Hillary Clinton called the remarks inappropriate. 

            At the same time Democrat candidates across the US cancelled scheduled campaign appearances with Mr Kerry, whose distant hopes of another presidential candidacy in 2008 have now all but evaporated. 

            Mr Kerry on Tuesday had insisted that it was Mr Bush who should apologise. But yesterday he said: “Of course I’m sorry about a botched joke. I mean, you know, it’s pretty stupid.” 

            He claimed that his remarks had been aimed at Mr Bush for being “intellectually lazy” in getting “us stuck in a war in Iraq” — but he had fluffed his lines. 

            Instead, he said the mock-outrage of the White House was the latest example of the Republican campaign of “smear and fear” that had characterized attacks on his military record in Vietnam during the 2004 presidential contest, as well as his gaffe that he had voted for Iraq war funding before voting against it. 

            Yesterday Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, twisted the knife with a direct reference to this when he told a campaign rally: “Of course, now Senator Kerry says he was just making a joke. I guess we didn’t get the nuance. He was for the joke before he was against it.” 

            Mr Kerry has previously attacked the so-called “chicken-hawks” who have cast aspersions on his military record, while never seeing combat themselves. Yesterday he made no reference to how Mr Bush had avoided service in Vietnam, perhaps because it would have meant conceding that the President had got better grades than him at Yale. 

            President Bush said last night that he wanted Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, and Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, to remain in his Administration until the end of his term.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : World News

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