In Saddam Hussein, we saw a threat. I went to the United States Congress. They looked at the same intelligence I looked at. They remembered the same history I remembered. And they came to the conclusion that I came to: Saddam Hussein was a threat. And they voted to authorize the use of force.He said these words campaigning in Minnesota, earlier today.
My opponent looked at the same intelligence. And when they said, show of hands for the authorization of force, he said, yes. Before the Commander-in-Chief commits troops into harm's way, we must try all options. I was hoping diplomacy would work. I went to the United Nations. The United Nations looked at the same intelligence I looked at. They concluded Saddam Hussein was a threat. They voted by 15 to nothing in the U.N. Security Council for Saddam Hussein to disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. I believe when bodies say something, they better mean it. I believe when a President speaks, he better mean what he says. (Applause.)
Saddam Hussein ignored the demands of the free world again. As he had for over a decade, he wasn't interested in what the free world had to say. As a matter of fact, he systematically deceived inspectors that were sent into his country. So I have a choice to make at this point in time, diplomacy isn't working...
Knowing what I know today, even though we haven't found the stockpiles of weapons we thought were there, I'd have still made the same decision. America and the world are safer with Saddam Hussein sitting in a prison cell. (Applause.) I would have made the same decision because he had the capability of making weapons and he could have passed that capability on to an enemy. I would have made that same decision because I'll never forget the lessons of September the 11th, 2001.
A few moments later, this is what Bush said about Kerry's position:
Now, during the course of this campaign, the fellow I'm running against has probably had about eight positions on Iraq -- for the war but wouldn't provide the funding; then he was the anti-war candidate; then he said, knowing everything we know today, I'd have done -- did the same thing; then he said, well, we're spending too much money -- that's after he said we weren't spending enough money. (Laughter.) And so yesterday in a radio interview, he tried to clear things up. He said, there were no circumstances -- none -- under which we should have gone to war. Although he said, his own vote to go to war was the right vote, and it was right to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. (Laughter.) The radio interviewer concluded, I can't tell you what he said. (Laughter.) Let me be clear: Mixed signals are the wrong signals to send to our troops in the field, the Iraqi people, to our allies, and -- most of all -- to our enemies. (Applause.)Do you see why I wrote what I did last weekend?
It is critical --
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT: It is critical -- it is critical that the President of the United States speaks clearly and consistently at this time of great threat in the world and not change positions because of expediency or pressure. (Applause.)
And here's the President's reference, from the Don Imus radio program Thursday:
IMUS: Do you think there are any circumstances we should have gone to war in Iraq -- any?I think Kerry intentionally answered a question that wasn't asked, though it is clear that George W. Bush evades questions all the time. Yet, the President takes his cue from the Imus question, not the Kerry answer.
KERRY: Not under the current circumstances, no, there are none that I see. I voted based on weapons of mass destruction. The president distorted that and I've said that. I mean, look, I can't be clearer. But I think it was the right vote based on what Saddam Hussein had done, and I think it was the right thing to do to hold him accountable. I've said a hundred times, there was a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. The president chose the wrong way. Can't be more direct than that.
Iraq is the #1 issue in this campaign and Kerry has got to make sure that everyone understands his position. Bush is twisting Kerry's words-- and I just saw CNN broadcast Bush doing it, without correction.
I also posted this on my DailyKos Diary, which I haven't used in awhile.