By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Times are tough, especially among those still looking for good jobs, but Sen. John Kerry doesn't think Washington's to blame. In fact the former Democratic presidential candidate, concerned with the anger voters are aiming at Washington, says that his party and President Obama are doing a ship-shape job. [See which industries contribute to Kerry's campaign.]
"We've come back," he says of the nation, Wall Street, and the economy. "This is an amazing resurgence."
Kerry talked about the voter anger during a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor called to give him time to pitch his expansive climate and energy bill. He was asked if he's ever seen such anger with Washington, in part inspired by the Tea Party movement named after the Boston Tea Party in his home state. [Uncover the secrets of Congress by searching for your member.]
With many expecting him to say no, the 26-year Washington veteran said yes, citing the turbulent 1960s and the Watergate era. "Yes, I have seen it," he said, but while those were focused on the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon's power grab, he said "I think this is less focused."
It wasn't a slam at the Tea Party movement and those upset at Washington as much as a frustration he feels that Congress and the president aren't getting the credit he thinks they deserve for pulling the country out of a second depression. [See a slide show of the 10 keys to an Obama comeback.]
"I think there's a comprehension gap," said Kerry. His point: While people may not be feeling the benefits of the bailouts and healthcare reform yet, Congress has been working with Obama to right the economic ship. Still, he sounded sympathetic to those kicked around by the economy. "There's a sense of some things unraveling" to them, said Kerry.
But he said that the D.C.-directed attacks are hypocritical, since many of those attacking Washington spending presumably want to keep their Social Security and Medicare and want Washington to play a big role in the Gulf Oil cleanup. "There's a huge contradiction on a daily basis," he said.
Maybe, he concluded, the Democrats should change their communications strategy "to better sell what we've done."