Skip to comments.Bush Ridicules Kerry Call for Summit on Iraq
Posted on 10/01/2004 3:13:03 PM PDT by ambrose
Bush Ridicules Kerry Call for Summit on Iraq
Fri Oct 1, 2004 05:58 PM ET
By Steve Holland
MANCHESTER, N.H. (Reuters) - President Bush accused Democrat John Kerry of new contradictions and ridiculed his call for a international summit on Iraq on Friday as he sought to rebound from a debate that many Americans thought Kerry won.
The day after the first presidential debate, Bush swept into two battleground states, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, and many of his jabs against Kerry sounded like what he wished he had said at the Miami encounter on Thursday night.
Bush advisers conceded that Kerry gave an articulate performance -- "a slick debater," in the words of one -- after snap polls taken after the debate showed Kerry won the first of three debates.
But as for the substance, Bush took issue with many of Kerry's positions and wasted little time in aggressively attacking them, particularly his pledge that if elected he would call a summit to seek more international help on Iraq.
"I've been to a lot of summits. I've never seen a meeting that would depose a tyrant or bring a terrorist to justice," Bush said at a rally in Allentown, Pa.
Traveling with Bush was Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, a one-time Bush rival who considers Kerry a friend on the other side of the aisle. McCain said Kerry had handled the debate well and Bush should not underestimate him in the next two.
But he differed with Kerry on trying to get more international support in Iraq. "We're not going to get additional support. The burden is going to be carried by the Americans, and British and our other coalition partners."
McCain said Kerry's call for direct U.S. talks with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program was a failed policy from the previous Clinton administration. Bush prefers six-party talks involving China.
Bush, who held a lead in national polls going into the debate, also accused the Massachusetts senator of new contradictions on Iraq by first saying that "the president made a mistake in invading Iraq" but then saying Americans were not dying in Iraq for a mistake.
"You can't have it both ways," Bush said. "You can't say it's a mistake and not a mistake. You can't be for getting rid of Saddam Hussein when things look good, and against it when times are hard."
And in both Allentown and Manchester, he lashed out at Kerry's contention that the United States had the right to take preemptive action abroad if it "passes the global test."
Bush promised to work with U.S. allies and the international community, "But I will never submit America's national security to an international test. The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France."
Kerry spokesman Phil Singer responded that "the global test is not asking for a permission slip. It's making sure that your decisions stand up to scrutiny and are backed by facts."
Bush campaign advisers praised their man for his plain-spoken delivery at the debate.
"We always expected him (Kerry) to be an articulate debater," said Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman. But he said "Americans aren't electing a debater-in-chief, they're electing a commander-in-chief."
He played down the relevance of instant polls. "(They) focus on the fine points of college debating," Mehlman said.
Bush advisers also dismissed Democrats who drew attention to the way Bush scowled and looked irritated at times when Kerry was speaking.
"That wasn't irritated. I know irritated," said senior Bush adviser Karl Rove. Instead, he said Bush was "pensive" and "focused."
I wished Bush was have told Kerry that is was democrats that put nuclear reactors in N. Korea in the first place!
I love this man!
"Americans aren't electing a debater-in-chief, they're electing a commander-in-chief." Ken Mehlman
Well said Ken.
Exactly. Debate skills, in no way, shape or form are a factor in how effective a POTUS is.
I prefer the format of the next two mtg's between the candidates - a 'town hall mtg' with people who will actually vote asking the questions.
I'll go farther and concede Kerry is the masterdebater in chief.
The same "many people" that Katie Couric is forever quoting.
Do the guys in the wagon have to pass a global test before they respond?
MIC. Master'bater in Chief?
Here's my perspective on the debate. I'm a lawyer. Although I do some trials, most of what I do involves appearing in court and making "statements of counsel." In other words, I'm the witness and I proffer evidence. I have days when I'm on my game and know the file inside out. There are days when I struggle. It's a biorhythm thing. Fact is, last night our president was not on his game. But he did well anyway and I'm proud of him. As Sean Hannity would say, Let not your heart be troubled.
He threw a punch that left a mark -- all the way across the Atlantic!
If Al Qaeda were a debating team, I might consider voting for Kerry. Since they're a terrorist organization, I'll stick with GWB. (Not mine but I can't recall the source.)
Perception is in the eye of the beholder and few people know W as well as Rove. Bush looked irritated, annoyed. He could change that and do well.
I thought Bush did just fine.
In fact, he did exactly what he needed to do - draw Kerry out of his shell, and let him say something stupid that can be turned into a commercial.
Some people here are upset because Bush didn't go for blood. They're the same people who were mad that Dole didn't challenge Clinton on Mena or Vince Foster. They're clueless as to the mentality of your avg swing voter moron.
Kerry's soul mate, Jimmy Carter discussed terrorism at a "summit", too. This is what this "brain trust" of the democratic party had to say about his way of handling terrorism....during his debate with Ronald Reagan:
MR. CARTER: Barbara, one of the blights on this world is the threat and the activities of terrorists. At one of the recent economic summit conferences between myself and the other leaders of the western world, we committed ourselves to take strong action against terrorism. Airplane hijacking was one of the elements of that commitment. There is no doubt that we have seen in recent years - in recent months - additional acts of violence against Jews in France and, of course, against those who live in Israel, by the PLO and other terrorist organizations. Ultimately, the most serious terrorist threat is if one of those radical nations, who believe in terrorism as a policy, should have atomic weapons. Both I and all my predecessors have had a deep commitment to controlling the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In countries like Libya or Iraq, we have even alienated some of our closest trade partners because we have insisted upon the control of the spread of nuclear weapons to those potentially terrorist countries. When Governor Reagan has been asked about that, he makes the very disturbing comment that non-proliferation, or the control of the spread of nuclear weapons, is none of our business. And recently when he was asked specifically about Iraq, he said there is nothing we can do about it. This ultimate terrorist threat is the most fearsome of all, and it's part of a pattern where our country must stand firm to control terrorism of all kinds.
MR. SMITH: Ms. Walters, a follow up?
MS. WALTERS: While we are discussing policy, had Iran not taken American hostages. I assume that, in order to preserve our neutrality, we would have stopped the flow of spare parts and vital war materials once war broke out between Iraq and Iran. Now we're offering to lift the ban on such goods if they let our people come home. Doesn't this reward terrorism, compromise our neutrality, and possibly antagonize nations now friendly to us in the Middle East?
MR. CARTER: We will maintain our position of neutrality in the Iran and Iraq war. We have no plans to sell additional materiel or goods to Iran, that might be of a warlike nature. When I made my decision to stop all trade with Iran as a result of the taking of our hostages, I announced then, and have consistently maintained since then, that if the hostages are released safely, we would make delivery on those items which Iran owns - which they have bought and paid for - also, that the frozen Iranian assets would be released. That's been a consistent policy, one I intend to carry out.
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