Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kerry: 'Before he debates Obama, McCain should debate himself'


DENVER -- If there was one sound byte that contributed more than any other to his defeat in 2004, it was when John Kerry let slip that he "was for it before I was against it."

Four years later, the Massachusetts senator unveiled a blistering attack on John McCain trying to paint the Republican presidential candidate with the same flip-flopper brush that sunk his own campaign.

"I have known about been friends with John McCain now for 22 years, but every day now I learn something new about candidate McCain," he said.

"Let's compare Senator McCain to Candidate McCain," Kerry said, noting that on the campaign trail, the GOP nominee has voiced support for tax cuts he voted against in the senate, criticized an environmental bill he originally co-authored and said he wouldn't vote for an immigration bill he championed.

"Are you kidding me folks?" Kerry mocked. "Talk about being before it before you're against it."

Democrats have learned many lessons from Kerry's failed bid. In 2004, he waited too long to respond to Swift Boat attacks on his Vietnam War record, and the Democratic convention mostly lacked harsh attacks on President Bush and the Republicans.

Kerry criticized McCain, "who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was a target," of now embracing those very same negative tactics in his campaign against Obama.

He said Americans were tired of such tactics and that Americans would not fall for them this time around.

The Massachusetts senator also rebutted criticisms of Obama's youth and status as a newcomer to national politics. The 47-year-old was virtually unknown outside of Chicago before his electrifying speech at the 2004 convention and election to the Senate that year.

"When we choose a Commander in Chief this November, we're electing judgement, character," he said. "Not years in the Senate or on this Earth."


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