Cheney Ridicules Kerry Call For "More Sensitive" War On Terror
Vice President Cheney's criticism of Sen. Kerry's call for a "more sensitive" war on terror received broad coverage on network newscasts, as well as print media and local TV. Typical of the coverage is the Dayton Daily News report, which says the Vice President "ridiculed" Kerry's remark and "took the presidential fight straight to the presidential nominee," and USA Today, which reports Cheney "mocked" the Massachusetts senator, saying, "President Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive warfare, nor did President Roosevelt, nor Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur." ABC World News Tonight describes Cheney's words as "very tough talk," adding that "eighty-two days from the election and the brass knuckles are out in a fight over sensitivity," while NBC Nightly News (8/12, story 8, Brokaw) reported, "Cheney delivered another harsh attack today. CBS Evening News added that Cheney's wife Lynne also weighed in, saying, "I can't imagine al Qaeda will be impressed by sensitivity." The Washington Times quotes Kerry's statement last week before the Unity Conference, a coalition of organizations representing minority journalists: "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history." Cheney said yesterday there's "nothing 'sensitive' about Islamist militants who videotape their decapitations of innocent civilians." The Kerry campaign "pointed to a speech Mr. Bush gave upon the dedication of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, in which the president said that 'precisely because America is powerful, we must be sensitive about expressing our power and influence.' That speech, however, was delivered six months before the September 11 attacks."
In response, says CNN, the Kerry's campaign accused Cheney "of launching a desperate and misleading attack to divert attention from the administration's record." The Washington Post adds that in "a sign of the Kerry campaign's determination to rebut the criticism, it also issued a statement signed by 10 former senior military officials, including McPeak and Clark, denouncing Cheney's attacks as 'gutter' politics." Moreover Retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak, "a Kerry supporter, contrasted Kerry's service in Vietnam with Bush's service in the Texas National Guard and Cheney's lack of military service. 'Do the president and vice president really want to have a debate about who is more suited to fight the war in Iraq and the war on terror?' he said in a statement. 'Do they really want a debate about which candidate has the toughness to make America stronger?'"
Local TV news offered extensive coverage of Cheney's attack. Many newscasts, such as the one from WBBH-TV in Ft. Myers, Florida, used direct footage of Cheney saying, "America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but, not a one of them was won by being sensitive." WHIO-TV of Dayton, Ohio also reported that the Vice President "blasted Democratic challenger John Kerry on his plans for the economy, national defense and the war on terror," while WCPO-TV of Cincinnati said Cheney thought Kerry's words "won't impress the September 11 terrorists or the Islamic militants who have beheaded US citizens."
Bush Says Kerry Criticism Denigrates Iraq Coalition Nations.
Also taking Kerry to task on the war issue was President Bush, who last night appeared on CNN's Larry King Live. Asked about Kerry's criticism that US chose to go it alone in Iraq, Bush said, "There's thirty nations now involved in Iraq. And I know their leaders well. I've thanked them on behalf of the American people for serving alongside our troops. I think to say we've gone it alone really does denigrate the contributions of other countries. These leaders and these people and these countries from all around world, whether it be Japan or South Korea or Denmark or Holland, they've made sacrifices like we have, because they understand the stakes." Bush was also asked whether he has a timeframe for when US troops will be out of Iraq. Bush said, "Here's the problem with timeframes. My opponent said we will substantially reduce troops in six months. That says to the enemy: Wait for six months and one day. Or it says to the Iraqis, the Americans aren't serious. And it's very important for us not to be setting timetables." Bush added that "the timetable is this: Not one day more than is necessary. And the commanders on the ground will let us know when."