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Saturday, September 25, 2004

Miracle: AP Calls Bullshit on Bush 

Zemblan patriot B.K. forwards an AP wire article by Jennifer Loven that is all but certain to be revised or rewritten in the next couple of hours, as you could undoubtedly predict from the title alone: "In New Attacks on Kerry, Bush Twists His Rival's Words." For purposes of future comparison, here's the original feed, datelined September 25, 7:51 am PDT:
President Bush opened several new scathing lines of attack against Democrat John Kerry, charges that twisted his rival's words on Iraq and made Kerry seem supportive of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.

It was not unlike the spin that Kerry and his forces sometimes place on Bush's words.

Campaigning by bus through hotly contested Wisconsin on Friday, Bush sought to counter recently sharpened criticism by Kerry about his Iraq policies:

He stated flatly that Kerry had said earlier in the week "he would prefer the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in Iraq today." The line drew gasps of surprise from Bush's audience in a Racine, Wis., park. "I just strongly disagree," the president said.

But Kerry never said that. In a speech at New York University on Monday, he called Saddam "a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell." He added, "The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure."

Bush attacked Kerry for calling "our alliance 'the alliance of the coerced and the bribed.'"

"You can't build alliances if you criticize the efforts of those who are working side by side with you," the president said in Janesville, Wis.

Kerry did use the phrase to describe the U.S.-led coalition of nations in Iraq, in a March 2003 speech in California. He was referring to the administration's willingness to offer aid to other nations to gain support for its Iraq policies.

But Bush mischaracterized Kerry's criticism, which has not been aimed at the countries that have contributed a relatively small number of troops and resources, but at the administration for not gaining more participation from other nations.

Bush also suggested Kerry was undercutting an ally in a time of need, and thus unfit to be president, when he "questioned the credibility" of Iraqi interim leader Ayad Allawi.

"This great man came to our country to talk about how he's risking his life for a free Iraq, which helps America," the president said in Janesville. "And Sen. Kerry held a press conference and questioned Prime Minister Allawi's credibility. You can't lead this country if your ally in Iraq feels like you question his credibility."

Bush repeated the attack later in the day and Vice President Dick Cheney echoed the message in Lafayette, La. "I must say I was appalled at the complete lack of respect Sen. Kerry showed for this man of courage," Cheney said.

Kerry's point was that the optimistic assessments of postwar Iraq from both Bush and Allawi didn't match previous statements by the Iraqi leader, nor the reality on the ground, and were designed to put the "best face" on failed policies.
The remainder of the article is a fair 'n' balanced fishing expedition for comparable distortions by the Kerry camp (because, as we all know, "both sides do it"). The worst Ms. Loven can find is this:
The e-mail from campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill accused the president of having "no plan to get us out of Iraq" and thinking "the future of Iraq is brighter than the future of America."

Bush has a plan for Iraq - Kerry just disagrees that it is working. And the president wasn't comparing Iraq's future to that of the United States, only accurately reflecting one recent survey in Iraq and the latest trends in America that asked participants for their assessment of the direction their countries are going.
Ms. Loven, however, offers no particulars of the Bush "plan" to educate those of us who have spent the last couple of years wondering what the fuck it might be (we understand that it cannot officially commence until the locals have showered our troops with rose petals). It is also disappointing that she was unable to confirm or deny rumors of a secret Kerry plan to ban the Bible.

UPDATE: The Boston Globe and the L.A. Times are running with the soothingly bipartisan headline "Bush, Kerry Twisting Each Other's Words."

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