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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Band of Brothers II: The US Senate

I know everyone is talking about "star witness" Richard Clarke, who testified before the 9/11 Commission Wednesday. Since I wasn't able to watch and haven't yet read the transcript, I'll reserve comment for now.

Apparently, however, Clarke continued to attack the Bush administration for minimizing the terror threat in 2001 before 9/11 and for undermining the war on terror by attacking Iraq.

Interestingly, while Bush is being attacked for being soft on terror, some Republicans are defending John Kerry for his record on security policy.

Last week, fellow Vietnam veteran Republican Senator John McCain (Arizona) defended John Kerry's voting record on defense:
Discussing the Bush campaign charges, McCain told the "Today" show on Thursday, "I do not believe that he is, quote, weak on defense. He's responsible for his voting record, as we are all responsible for our records, and he'll have to explain it. But, no, I do not believe that he is necessarily weak on defense."
McCain, the straight talker, apparently wanted to set the record straight.

Sunday, in a chat show appearance that I missed, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (Nebraska) seconded McCain's analysis:
Hagel joined fellow Vietnam veteran Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in criticizing ads sponsored by the Bush campaign that call Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts who also is a Vietnam veteran, "weak on defense."

"The facts just don't measure [up to]the rhetoric," Hagel said on ABC's "This Week."

"You can take a guy like John Kerry, who's been in the Senate for 19 years, and go through that voting record," Hagel said. "You can take it with … any of us, and pick out different votes, and then try to manufacture something around that."
For example, Kerry voted for one version of the $87 billion for Iraq when it was funded by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He voted against it when the funding amendment failed.

Were Republicans against a Homeland Security Department...if unionized? Yes. It's the same deal.

Thanks to Mark A.R. Kleiman for the links to the LA Times story.

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