Skip to comments.Transcript & Video: Debate #1
Posted on 09/30/2004 10:47:50 PM PDT by Salvation
CORAL GABLES, Fla. Foreign policy and homeland security were the focus of the first debate between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry. Following is a transcript of the debate.
JIM LEHRER, ANCHOR AND EXECUTIVE EDITOR, PBS' "THE NEWSHOUR": Good evening from the University of Miami Convocation Center in Coral Gables, Florida. I'm Jim Lehrer of "The NewsHour" on PBS.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Let the world know what Kerry really said.
(That he lied, mispoke, made mistakes, gaffed!)
Do you believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States?
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Yes, I do.
But before I answer further, let me thank you for moderating. I want to thank the University of Miami for hosting us. And I know the president will join me in welcoming all of Florida to this debate. You've been through the roughest weeks anybody could imagine. Our hearts go out to you. And we admire your pluck and perseverance.
I can make American safer than President Bush has made us.
And I believe President Bush and I both love our country equally. But we just have a different set of convictions about how you make America safe.
I believe America is safest and strongest when we are leading the world and we are leading strong alliances.
I'll never give a veto to any country over our security. But I also know how to lead those alliances.
This president has left them in shatters across the globe, and we're now 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq and 90 percent of the costs.
I think that's wrong, and I think we can do better.
I have a better plan for homeland security. I have a better plan to be able to fight the war on terror by strengthening our military, strengthening our intelligence, by going after the financing more authoritatively, by doing what we need to do to rebuild the alliances, by reaching out to the Muslim world, which the president has almost not done, and beginning to isolate the radical Islamic Muslims, not have them isolate the United States of America.
I know I can do a better job in Iraq. I have a plan to have a summit with all of the allies, something this president has not yet achieved, not yet been able to do to bring people to the table.
We can do a better job of training the Iraqi forces to defend themselves, and I know that we can do a better job of preparing for elections.
All of these, and especially homeland security, which we'll talk about a little bit later.
LEHRER: Mr. President, you have a 90-second rebuttal.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I, too, thank the University of Miami, and say our prayers are with the good people of this state, who've suffered a lot.
September the 11th changed how America must look at the world. And since that day, our nation has been on a multi-pronged strategy to keep our country safer.
We pursued Al Qaeda wherever Al Qaeda tries to hide. Seventy-five percent of known Al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice. The rest of them know we're after them.
We've upheld the doctrine that said if you harbor a terrorist, you're equally as guilty as the terrorist.
And the Taliban are no longer in power. Ten million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan in the upcoming presidential election.
In Iraq, we saw a threat, and we realized that after September the 11th, we must take threats seriously, before they fully materialize. Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell. America and the world are safer for it.
We continue to pursue our policy of disrupting those who proliferate weapons of mass destruction.
Libya has disarmed. The A.Q. Khan network has been brought to justice.
And, as well, we're pursuing a strategy of freedom around the world, because I understand free nations will reject terror. Free nations will answer the hopes and aspirations of their people. Free nations will help us achieve the peace we
Do you want to ping your list?
From tonights debate (1st Debate):
John Kerry: He also said Saddam Hussein would have been stronger. That is just factually incorrect. Two-thirds of the country was a no-fly zone when we started this war. We would have had sanctions. We would have had the U.N. inspectors. Saddam Hussein would have been continually weakening.
From Jan. 2004:
John Kerry: This is a man who has used weapons of mass destruction, unlike other people on this Earth today, not only against other people but against his own people. This is a man who tried to assassinate a former president of the United States, a man who lobbed 36 missiles into Israel in order to destabilize the Middle East, a man who is so capable of miscalculation that he even brought this war on himself. This is a man who, if he was left uncaptured, would have continued to be able to organize the Ba'athists. He would have continued to terrorize the people, just in their minds, because of 30 years of terror in Iraq." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 1/11/04)
From tonights debate:
John Kerry: And certainty sometimes can get you in trouble.
BUSH: North Korea, first, I do. Let me say -- I certainly hope so. Before I was sworn in, the policy of this government was to have bilateral negotiations with North Korea.
And we signed an agreement with North Korea that my administration found out that was not being honored by the North Koreans.
And so I decided that a better way to approach the issue was to get other nations involved, just besides us. And in Crawford, Texas, Jiang Zemin and I agreed that the nuclear-weapons-free peninsula, Korean Peninsula, was in his interest and our interest and the world's interest.
And so we began a new dialogue with North Korea, one that included not only the United States, but now China. And China's a got a lot of influence over North Korea, some ways more than we do.
This is the same garbage Kerry spews forth -- that we will internationalize issues and use other countries to deal with the issues, mainly by "dialog".
So is Kerry saying if President Bush is President they will have died for a mistake, but if he is President thet will not have died for a mistake????
Transcript and video!
Here's the Colossal Misjudgments one:
LEHRER: New question, two minutes, Senator Kerry.
"Colossal misjudgments." What colossal misjudgments, in your opinion, has President Bush made in these areas?
KERRY: Well, where do you want me to begin?
First of all, he made the misjudgment of saying to America that he was going to build a true alliance, that he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nations and go through the inspections.
In fact, he first didn't even want to do that. And it wasn't until former Secretary of State Jim Baker and General Scowcroft and others pushed publicly and said you've got to go to the U.N., that the president finally changed his mind -- his campaign has a word for that -- and went to the United Nations.
Now, once there, we could have continued those inspections.
We had Saddam Hussein trapped.
He also promised America that he would go to war as a last resort.
Those words mean something to me, as somebody who has been in combat. "Last resort." You've got to be able to look in the eyes of families and say to those parents, "I tried to do everything in my power to prevent the loss of your son and daughter."
I don't believe the United States did that.
And we pushed our allies aside.
And so, today, we are 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the cost: $200 billion -- $200 billion that could have been used for health care, for schools, for construction, for prescription drugs for seniors, and it's in Iraq.
And Iraq is not even the center of the focus of the war on terror. The center is Afghanistan, where, incidentally, there were more Americans killed last year than the year before; where the opium production is 75 percent of the world's opium production; where 40 to 60 percent of the economy of Afghanistan is based on opium; where the elections have been postponed three times.
The president moved the troops, so he's got 10 times the number of troops in Iraq than he has in Afghanistan, where Usama bin Laden is. Does that mean that Saddam Hussein was 10 times more important than Usama bin Laden -- than, excuse me, Saddam Hussein more important than Usama bin Laden? I don't think so.
LEHRER: Ninety-second response, Mr. President.
BUSH: My opponent looked at the same intelligence I looked at and declared in 2002 that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat.
He also said in December of 2003 that anyone who doubts that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein does not have the judgment to be president.
I agree with him. The world is better off without Saddam Hussein.
I was hoping diplomacy would work. I understand the serious consequences of committing our troops into harm's way.
It's the hardest decision a president makes. So I went to the United Nations. I didn't need anybody to tell me to go to the United Nations. I decided to go there myself.
And I went there hoping that, once and for all, the free world would act in concert to get Saddam Hussein to listen to our demands. They passed the resolution that said, "Disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences." I believe, when an international body speaks, it must mean what it says.
Saddam Hussein had no intention of disarming. Why should he? He had 16 other resolutions and nothing took place. As a matter of fact, my opponent talks about inspectors. The facts are that he was systematically deceiving the inspectors.
That wasn't going to work. That's kind of a pre-September 10th mentality, the hope that somehow resolutions and failed inspections would make this world a more peaceful place.
He was hoping we'd turn away. But there was fortunately others beside himself who believed that we ought to take action.
We did. The world is safer without Saddam Hussein.
Another falsehood..The push was on to lift sanctions on Iraq...by countries who wanted to do business openly with Iraq instead of bypassing sanctions as they were doing.
Is Kerry saying that he would have negotiated with bin Laden???
LEHRER: New question, Mr. President. Two minutes.
What about Senator Kerry's point, the comparison he drew between the priorities of going after Usama bin Laden and going after Saddam Hussein?
BUSH: Jim, we've got the capability of doing both.
As a matter of fact, this is a global effort.
We're facing a group of folks who have such hatred in their heart, they'll strike anywhere, with any means.
And that's why it's essential that we have strong alliances, and we do.
That's why it's essential that we make sure that we keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of people like Al Qaeda, which we are.
But to say that there's only one focus on the war on terror doesn't really understand the nature of the war on terror.
Of course we're after Saddam Hussein -- I mean bin Laden. He's isolated. Seventy-five percent of his people have been brought to justice. The killer -- the mastermind of the September 11th attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, is in prison.
We're making progress.
But the front on this war is more than just one place. The Philippines -- we've got help -- we're helping them there to bring -- to bring Al Qaeda affiliates to justice there.
And, of course, Iraq is a central part in the war on terror. That's why Zarqawi and his people are trying to fight us. Their hope is that we grow weary and we leave.
The biggest disaster that could happen is that we not succeed in Iraq. We will succeed. We've got a plan to do so. And the main reason we'll succeed is because the Iraqis want to be free.
I had the honor of visiting with Prime Minister Allawi. He's a strong, courageous leader. He believes in the freedom of the Iraqi people.
He doesn't want U.S. leadership, however, to send mixed signals, to not stand with the Iraqi people.
He believes, like I believe, that the Iraqis are ready to fight for their own freedom. They just need the help to be trained.
There will be elections in January. We're spending reconstruction money. And our alliance is strong.
That's the plan for victory.
And when Iraq if free, America will be more secure.
LEHRER: Senator Kerry, 90 seconds.
KERRY: The president just talked about Iraq as a center of the war on terror. Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it.
The president made the judgment to divert forces from under General Tommy Franks from Afghanistan before the Congress even approved it to begin to prepare to go to war in Iraq.
And he rushed the war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace. Now, that is not the judgment that a president of the United States ought to make. You don't take America to war unless have the plan to win the peace. You don't send troops to war without the body armor that they need.
I've met kids in Ohio, parents in Wisconsin places, Iowa, where they're going out on the Internet to get the state-of-the-art body gear to send to their kids. Some of them got them for a birthday present.
I think that's wrong. Humvees -- 10,000 out of 12,000 Humvees that are over there aren't armored. And you go visit some of those kids in the hospitals today who were maimed because they don't have the armament.
This president just -- I don't know if he sees what's really happened on there. But it's getting worse by the day. More soldiers killed in June than before. More in July than June. More in August than July. More in September than in August.
And now we see beheadings. And we got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day, and they're blowing people up. And we don't have enough troops there.
BUSH: Can I respond to that?
LEHRER: Let's do one of these one-minute extensions. You have 30 seconds.
BUSH: Thank you, sir.
First of all, what my opponent wants you to forget is that he voted to authorize the use of force and now says it's the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place.
I don't see how you can lead this country to succeed in Iraq if you say wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. What message does that send our troops? What message does that send to our allies? What message does that send the Iraqis?
No, the way to win this is to be steadfast and resolved and to follow through on the plan that I've just outlined.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Senator.
KERRY: Yes, we have to be steadfast and resolved, and I am. And I will succeed for those troops, now that we're there. We have to succeed. We can't leave a failed Iraq. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake of judgment to go there and take the focus off of Usama bin Laden. It was. Now, we can succeed. But I don't believe this president can. I think we need a president who has the credibility to bring the allies back to the table and to do what's necessary to make it so America isn't doing this alone.
LEHRER: We'll come back to Iraq in a moment. But I want to come back to where I began, on homeland security. This is a two-minute new question, Senator Kerry.
As president, what would you do, specifically, in addition to or differently to increase the homeland security of the United States than what President Bush is doing?
KERRY: Jim, let me tell you exactly what I'll do. And there are a long list of thing. First of all, what kind of mixed message does it send when you have $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq, and the president is cutting the COPS program in America?
What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open firehouses in Iraq, but we're shutting firehouses who are the first- responders here in America.
The president hasn't put one nickel, not one nickel into the effort to fix some of our tunnels and bridges and most exposed subway systems. That's why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican Convention was there. We hadn't done the work that ought to be done.
The president -- 95 percent of the containers that come into the ports, right here in Florida, are not inspected.
Civilians get onto aircraft, and their luggage is X- rayed, but the cargo hold is not X-rayed.
Does that make you feel safer in America?
This president thought it was more important to give the wealthiest people in America a tax cut rather than invest in homeland security. Those aren't my values. I believe in protecting America first.
And long before President Bush and I get a tax cut -- and that's who gets it -- long before we do, I'm going to invest in homeland security and I'm going to make sure we're not cutting COPS programs in America and we're fulso unfortunately gave in to the chemical industry, which didn't want to do some of the things necessary to strengthen our chemical plant exposure.
And there's an enormous undone job to protect the loose nuclear materials in the world that are able to get to terrorists. That's a whole other subject, but I see we still have a little bit more time.
Let me just quickly say, at the current pace, the president will not secure the loose material in the Soviet Union -- former Soviet Union for 13 years. I'm going to do it in four years. And we're going to keep it out of the hands of terrorists.
I doubt the Las Vegas line has changed much. My spread, 8 points Bush on Nov. 3........
And part of that leadership is sending the right message to places like North Korea.
Right now the president is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn't make sense.
You talk about mixed messages. We're telling other people, "You can't have nuclear weapons," but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using.
TO SUM IT UP - Kerry asks "Why is it okay for US to have nuclear weapons but its not okay for North Korea (or the terrorists for that matter) to have them?"
KERRY: The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control.
No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.
But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.
Here we have our own secretary of state who has had to apologize to the world for the presentation he made to the United Nations.
I mean, we can remember when President Kennedy in the Cuban missile crisis sent his secretary of state to Paris to meet with DeGaulle. And in the middle of the discussion, to tell them about the missiles in Cuba, he said, "Here, let me show you the photos." And DeGaulle waved them off and said, "No, no, no, no. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me."
How many leaders in the world today would respond to us, as a result of what we've done, in that way? So what is at test here is the credibility of the United States of America and how we lead the world. And Iran and Iraq are now more dangerous -- Iran and North Korea are now more dangerous.
Now, whether preemption is ultimately what has to happen, I don't know yet. But I'll tell you this: As president, I'll never take my eye off that ball. I've been fighting for proliferation the entire time -- anti-proliferation the entire time I've been in the Congress. And we've watched this president actually turn away from some of the treaties that were on the table.
You don't help yourself with other nations when you turn away from the global warming treaty, for instance, or when you refuse to deal at length with the United Nations.
You have to earn that respect. And I think we have a lot of earning back to do.
LEHRER: Ninety seconds.
BUSH: Let me -- I'm not exactly sure what you mean, "passes the global test," you take preemptive action if you pass a global test.
My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure.
My opponent talks about me not signing certain treaties. Let me tell you one thing I didn't sign, and I think it shows the difference of our opinion -- the difference of opinions.
And that is, I wouldn't join the International Criminal Court. It's a body based in The Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors can pull our troops or diplomats up for trial.
And I wouldn't join it. And I understand that in certain capitals around the world that that wasn't a popular move. But it's the right move not to join a foreign court that could -- where our people could be prosecuted.
My opponent is for joining the International Criminal Court. I just think trying to be popular, kind of, in the global sense, if it's not in our best interest makes no sense. I'm interested in working with our nations and do a lot of it. But I'm not going to make decisions that I think are wrong for America.
Fluffs, farts, and folibles along with this "debate" are meaningless. The substance of the argument for both Bush and Kerry is well defined by this stage of the game and Kerry is lacking..Score points for nuance and good hair, but post 9/11 we may be looking for a bit more..
What do you think?
This is one where the President did get the Zinger in!
LEHRER: New question, Mr. President. Two minutes.
What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq?
BUSH: Let me first tell you that the best way for Iraq to be safe and secure is for Iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job.
And that's what we're doing. We've got 100,000 trained now, 125,000 by the end of this year, 200,000 by the end of next year. That is the best way. We'll never succeed in Iraq if the Iraqi citizens do not want to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves. I believe they want to. Prime Minister Allawi believes they want to.
And so the best indication about when we can bring our troops home -- which I really want to do, but I don't want to do so for the sake of bringing them home; I want to do so because we've achieved an objective -- is to see the Iraqis perform and to see the Iraqis step up and take responsibility.
And so, the answer to your question is: When our general is on the ground and Ambassador Negroponte tells me that Iraq is ready to defend herself from these terrorists, that elections will have been held by then, that their stability and that they're on their way to, you know, a nation that's free; that's when.
And I hope it's as soon as possible. But I know putting artificial deadlines won't work. My opponent at one time said, "Well, get me elected, I'll have them out of there in six months." You can't do that and expect to win the war on terror.
My message to our troops is, "Thank you for what you're doing. We're standing with you strong. We'll give you all the equipment you need. And we'll get you home as soon as the mission's done, because this is a vital mission."
A free Iraq will be an ally in the war on terror, and that's essential. A free Iraq will set a powerful example in the part of the world that is desperate for freedom. A free Iraq will help secure Israel. A free Iraq will enforce the hopes and aspirations of the reformers in places like Iran. A free Iraq is essential for the security of this country.
LEHRER: Ninety seconds, Senator Kerry.
KERRY: Thank you, Jim.
My message to the troops is also: Thank you for what they're doing, but it's also help is on the way. I believe those troops deserve better than what they are getting today.
You know, it's interesting. When I was in a rope line just the other day, coming out here from Wisconsin, a couple of young returnees were in the line, one active duty, one from the Guard. And they both looked at me and said: We need you. You've got to help us over there.
Now I believe there's a better way to do this. You know, the president's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad, beyond Basra. And the reason he didn't is, he said -- he wrote in his book -- because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land.
That's exactly where we find ourselves today. There's a sense of American occupation. The only building that was guarded when the troops when into Baghdad was the oil ministry. We didn't guard the nuclear facilities.
We didn't guard the foreign office, where you might have found information about weapons of mass destruction. We didn't guard the borders.
Almost every step of the way, our troops have been left on these extraordinarily difficult missions. I know what it's like to go out on one of those missions when you don't know what's around the corner.
And I believe our troops need other allies helping. I'm going to hold that summit. I will bring fresh credibility, a new start, and we will get the job done right.
LEHRER: All right, go ahead. Yes, sir?
BUSH: I think it's worthy for a follow-up.
LEHRER: Sure, right.
LEHRER: We can do 30 second each here. All right.
BUSH: My opponent says help is on the way, but what kind of message does it say to our troops in harm's way, "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time"? Not a message a commander in chief gives, or this is a "great diversion."
As well, help is on the way, but it's certainly hard to tell it when he voted against the $87-billion supplemental to provide equipment for our troops, and then said he actually did vote for it before he voted against it.
Not what a commander in chief does when you're trying to lead troops.
LEHRER: Senator Kerry, 30 seconds.
KERRY: Well, you know, when I talked about the $87 billion, I made a mistake in how I talk about the war. But the president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?
I believe that when you know something's going wrong, you make it right. That's what I learned in Vietnam. When I came back from that war I saw that it was wrong. Some people don't like the fact that I stood up to say no, but I did. And that's what I did with that vote. And I'm going to lead those troops to victory.
"Bush inner circle suggests Bush visit with Hurricane victims earlier in day was emotionally draining, contributed to "tired" appearance in debate..."
While President Bush was dealing with the Hurricane victims, Kerry was getting a manicure. IMNSHO--Bush is salt of the earth and Kerry is a Parisian snob.
Couldn't agree more!
This debate will provide many nuggets of soundbytes for talk radio for the next several days. Mainly highlighting all the gaffes and flips and flops Kerry made in the 90 minutes he was behind that lectern.
Also, Kerry made several errors that the President corrected. For example, saying there had been no international summit yet. And the "global test" comment should haunt Kerry.
The President's best lines---the many times he mentioned mixed signals that Kerry is sending to the allies and the troops. And this: "He says the cornerstone of his plan to succeed in Iraq is to call upon nations to serve. So what's the message going to be: 'Please join us in Iraq. We're a grand diversion. Join us for a war that is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time?'"
The pundits I'm hearing tonight aren't being as nasty as I expected. They're saying it's a slight advantage to Kerry.
In a few days Dick Cheney is going to demolish John Edwards. That's the only debate Bush/Cheney should have agreed to. GWB should not have given Kerry the dignity of standing on the same stage with him.
This transcript is the also going to give everyone a chance to disect all the lies Kerry is stating about GWB. And I can't stand lying!
Listening to John Kerry's part of the debate, well, was like watching Linda Blair's head spin in the Exorcist. It was entertaining. And upon this basis, many are saying that "Kerry Won". Okaaaay. John Kerry won the battle but lost the war. In the debate last night; and in re his positions. In fact, all he did was affirm that he would not win the WAR on terror. But that he would fight to end the sovereignity of America, ergo making him a "global hero".
Americans know it was a "global" jihad that led to the murder of 3,000 innocent people. How's this gonna fly in the privacy of the American heart? Not very far. Clear to me President Bush Team has a superb strategy for these debates; just as superb as their strategy in addressing the axis of evil has been, and continues to be. I've got this huge grin on my face this morning. lol. There's this thing about "resonances" in the human mind and the human soul. Issues that looked like "wins" by Kerry last night are going to be simmering in American backbrain as being at odds with what else he said.
Yes, my jaw dropping moment came when he asserted he would, in essence, declare "America a NUCLEAR FREE ZONE".. and somehow all those with dirty nukes were going to say "Yeaaaahhhhh! We're wid you, Kerry. You be the man. We be destroying our nukes now and because you are the man!" lol. John Kerry hammered hard on how many dangerous nukes were "out there" and told Americans he'd do nothing to protect them, except to point his index finger at himself when addressing rogue nations and say: "I order you to stop being bad".
On the plus side; it was obvious that John Kerry was nearly besides himself, trying to stop that snakey index finger from pointing at the audience, and Jim Lehrer. I kept seeing his hand go into withdrawl, like he had a string tied around that index finger "Remember! Finger Pointing is an Aggressive Body Language Gesture".
I thought President Bush played a fine hand!
I didn't watch the debate. In fact, I've never watched any of the presidential debates over the years. I've always had my mind made up on who I'll vote for before either of the two conventions start, much less when the debates start. Besides, in the past 10-12 years or so, watching one of the two on TV might push me beyond my limits of patience and charity, so better for me not to put myself in that situation.
Having said all that, I will add that as far as 2004 goes, I definitely will not, repeat will not, vote for Kerry. When the Dems can field Zell Miller, I might consider the Dems, but until then......
Kerry is the French candidate for the presidency. Feh!
That's actually General McPeak (Kerry said it correctly, but the transcript is wrong). McPeak was the Chief of Staff of the Air Force during Gulf War I. He DID NOT run the air war. General Horner was the Air Component Commander for the war. McPeak is one of the least respected USAF leaders of all time!
Thanks for the correction!
We need to get a lot of these to FoxNews Channel.
KERRY: What I think troubles a lot of people in our country is that the president has just sort of described one kind of mistake. But what he has said is that, even knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction, even knowing there was no imminent threat, even knowing there was no connection with Al Qaeda, he would still have done everything the same way. Those are his words.
Now, I would not. So what I'm trying to do is just talk the truth to the American people and to the world. The truth is what good policy is based on. It's what leadership is based on.
KERRY: I have no intention of wilting. I've never wilted in my life. And I've never wavered in my life.
I know exactly what we need to do in Iraq, and my position has been consistent: Saddam Hussein is a threat. He needed to be disarmed. We needed to go to the U.N. The president needed the authority to use force in order to be able to get him to do something, because he never did it without the threat of force.
But we didn't need to rush to war without a plan to win the peace.
["what an egregious liar" ping; "waffler/flipflopper ping"; "which the **** is it?" ping]
I can't stand lying either. When one reads the transcript, one sees that Bush was on fire last night and Kerry opened himself up on so many fronts by lying through his teeth and flipping and flopping all over the ballpark on Iraq and North Korea! The viewers should pay more close attention to what John Kerry says instead of what John Kerry looks like or what he's wearing. Bush was ripping Kerry to shreds at the debate last night, but the only thing people could focus on was his smirk, the knot in his back, and all that other stylistic stuff, while ignoring Bush's substance.