Guests: Dennis Prager, Tom Oliphant, Terry Holt, Steve Elmendorf, Doug Schoen
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, the abrupt baiter ads are centermost date in the activity for the White House. The “Real Deal,” it‘s time for John Kerry to blaze a attempt above Bush‘s bow.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, area no authorization is appropriate and alone accepted faculty is allowed.
The Kerry advance calls on the admiral to accuse ads that catechism John Kerry‘s Vietnam War service. Bush says he wants to do abroad with all bendable money ads. But is that acceptable abundant for the Kerry camp? We are activity to be allurement them. Meanwhile, Abrupt Vets For Accuracy say their ads aren‘t activity anywhere. Will their advance bore John Kerry‘s White House hopes?
Then, this isn‘t the aboriginal time John O‘Neill and John Kerry accept faced off on Vietnam. Award-winning announcer Thomas Oliphant covered their aboriginal showdown in the ‘70s and he is actuality with his booty on who is absolutely cogent the truth.
Plus, who is John Kerry and what is his plan for the country? We are activity to be demography a afterpiece attending at that afterwards on.
ANNOUNCER: From the columnist room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has apparent it all. Acceptable to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, this is Joe Scarborough. Acceptable to our show. We‘re alive from Pensacola, Florida, by the way, home of the fastest man in the world.
Anyway, will the abrupt baiter affray be this campaign‘s defining moment?
It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, every four years, historians analyze through the accident that makes up a presidential campaign, and they try to aces the election‘s defining moment, you know, that accident that fabricated the aberration for the champ or bedevilled the loser. In 1960, of course, the Kennedy-Nixon agitation was that season‘s political defining moment. It seems that, as always, adolescence and ability exhausted bomb diaphoresis activity away.
In 1964, it was Barry Goldwater‘s embrace of extremism. Bethink aback he said that abandonment in aegis of addition was no vice? Well, Americans anticipation it was. In 1968, of course, there were the Chicago protests that helped disengage Hubert Humphrey‘s campaign. In 1988, the Dukakis catchbasin ride and so abounding added things. And in 2004, some are already suggesting that John Kerry‘s clumsy administering of the abrupt baiter altercation could be the defining affair of this campaign.
But I am not one of those people. However, if I were a Kerry supporter, I would be absolute afraid about the senator‘s advance and how it has bobbled this accepted pop-up. Anticipate about it for a second. Your applicant went to Vietnam. Your applicant won a Silver Star. Your applicant won a Bronze Brilliant and three Purple Hearts. Your guy was alleged a bona fide war hero by the United States Department of Navy, while your adversary was about during Vietnam, but cipher is absolutely abiding area that was.
And admitting this absolute political barbecue that has been laid afore your candidate‘s advance team, they accept been baffled over the arch now for the accomplished few weeks on war service, of all things. What am I missing here? Is this the aforementioned John Kerry advance who stormed to achievement in Iowa with an amazing improvement that was about Clintonian in nature? Or is it the John Kerry who from time to time makes Michael Dukakis‘ 1988 advance attending atrociously efficient?
Just as Democrats consistently accomplish themselves feel bigger by talking about aloof how brainless we Republicans are, Republicans usually go abaft bankrupt doors and beam about how clueless Democrats are aback it comes to campaigning. Annihilation feels bigger to a Karl Rove or Lee Aer than to carve up some Ivy League elitist who is anemic on defense, bendable on crime, and advanced on taxes.
Now, what fabricated John Kerry‘s antagonism so alarming for Republican strategists was the actuality that the Massachusetts agent had a war almanac and he seemed boxy abundant to bite aback aback he was hit. But the challenge of the accomplished anniversary accept some Republicans cerebration that maybe they abstract John Kerry. Maybe his advance is abounding with the aforementioned Northeast liberals who aloof don‘t accept how to win in the band-aid of presidential politics.
Now, I accept John Kerry accepted he had what it takes to activity and win in Iowa. And as Harold Macmillan said, in politics, a anniversary is a lifetime. But if that‘s the case, afresh John Kerry alone has 10 lifetimes left, and it‘s time he starts authoritative the best of them, or abroad he is activity to acquisition himself affectionate with Michael Dukakis ancient afterwards this fall.
And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
So, are the abrupt baiter ads absolutely affliction John Kerry‘s advance that badly?
With me now is Doug Schoen. He‘s a Democratic pollster who has done polling for both Bill and Hillary Clinton‘s campaigns. He‘s additionally the columnist of “On the Advance Trail: The Continued Road of Presidential Politics, 1860 to 2004.”
Doug, acknowledgment so abundant for actuality with us.
I appetite to alpha by account you commodity that “The Washington Post” wrote this weekend. They said the civic Annenberg acclamation analysis activate that added than bisected the voters questioned had apparent or heard of this ad, about on cable account shows. Best acid to the Kerry camp, the analysis activate that 44 percent of absolute voters accede the ad absolute or somewhat believable.
Doug, what does that beggarly to John Kerry‘s advance appropriate now?
DOUG SCHOEN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, it agency two things, first, that voters are absorption to a abundant greater admeasurement than Kerry would like on abrupt boats, rather than the issues that Bush is accessible on, the war in Iraq, the economy, the administering the country is activity in. That in and of itself is bad, and with the connected aback and alternating on abrupt boats, John Kerry is not able to get his absolute bulletin out in the after-effects of the convention.
SCARBOROUGH: So, Doug, are you adage that as continued as we are accepting a agitation on this abrupt baiter ad, on these abrupt boats ads, it doesn‘t amount who is acceptable that agitation or accident that debate? In the end, you anticipate John Kerry is the loser?
SCHOEN: I anticipate John Kerry is accepting off message, and in that sense, it acutely doesn‘t advice his campaign. I anticipate he has done the appropriate affair now, advancing aback with an ad advancing George Bush for beating John McCain and for agreeable in the aforementioned backroom now, because, in politics, as you able-bodied know, unless you acknowledge to attacks, they stick. And I anticipate John Kerry understands that, and accustomed the numbers that we accept apparent nationally, already he gets aback on bulletin and talks about the issues, the affair will abate in importance.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, let‘s allocution about one poll that came out. A poll appear Friday shows that John Kerry‘s abutment amid veterans has slipped aback the Democrats‘ convention.
Just three weeks ago, vets accurate Kerry and Bush equally. But Friday‘s numbers actualization this. They actualization that George Bush is able-bodied ahead, with 55 percent of the abutment of veterans, to aloof 37 percent for John Kerry.
What does he accept to do, John Kerry, to get these votes back?
SCHOEN: I anticipate he has got to do two things. I anticipate he anticipate he has got to, one, advance Bush in the way that I suggested, but second, do what you appropriate at the outset. He has got to allocution about his record, allocution about how appreciative he is of his service, but additionally allocution about his absolute account and his absolute almanac and the actuality that he has got an addition set of behavior from the Bush administering on adopted activity and the economy.
That will get accustomed voters, as able-bodied as veterans, back, and I anticipate appropriate now, we accept apparent alone very, absolute slight slippage nationally. And I anticipate you are right. I don‘t anticipate this is activity to be the defining moment in the advance for Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, acknowledgment so much, Doug Schoen. We abundantly acknowledge you actuality with us tonight.
Now, there‘s been a lot of aback and alternating amid the campaigns today.
With us now to allocution about it, civic agent for the Bush advance Terry Holt. And we additionally accept Kerry arch adviser Steve Elmendorf.
Gentlemen, acknowledge you both for actuality with us tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: Terry Holt, the new abrupt baiter ad is out.
TERRY HOLT, BUSH CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Terry Holt, it‘s activity to be out tomorrow, obviously.
Let‘s you booty a quick attending at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SWIFT BOAT VETERANS FOR TRUTH AD)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They had alone raped, cut off ears, cut off heads.
JOE PONDER, VIETNAM VETERAN: The accusations that John Kerry fabricated adjoin the veterans who served in Vietnam was aloof devastating.
PAUL GALANTI, VIETNAM VETERAN: John Kerry gave the adversary for chargeless what I and abounding of my assembly in North Vietnam in the bastille camps took ache to abstain saying. It beaten us. It abandoned his country, and added importantly, the bodies he served with. He aloof awash them out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: He awash them out, absolute boxy talk.
Terry Holt, will George Bush abode tomorrow that the abrupt baiter ad—vets booty that ad off the air?
HOLT: Well, this is their spot. We can‘t acquaint them what to do any added than we can acquaint Oscar Mayer or McDonald‘s what to do with their spots.
I anticipate what I would like to go aback to is, six months ago, aback we were talking about these 527s on your actualization and we were calling for activity on them at that time, because, as anybody saw, there was a flood of millions of dollars advancing into the political system, and the actuality of the amount is, it all benefited John Kerry until this one absolute baby buy, and afresh John Kerry cries foul.
Ultimately, I acquisition it fascinating. You accept been actuality before, Joe. You apperceive aback you get complex in a political quagmire, as I anticipate the Kerry advance is, it‘s safe to say, you advance someone. You advance the admiral in this case, and that‘s what they accept done. I think, as you ability know, we are on TV today talking about tax abatement for the average class, talking about deepening our intelligence-gathering capabilities in this country. You know, we are accepting a agitation about the issues. John Kerry is aloof not participating.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Terry, on these ads, John McCain has appear out and
specifically attacked these two abrupt baiter
HOLT: And the admiral today…
SCARBOROUGH: Now, no, authority on a second, Terry. The admiral has been about accusatory 527s. And you are correct. He has been accomplishing that over the accomplished six months to a year, but he has never appear out and accurately accursed the agreeable of these abrupt baiter ads. Why not?
HOLT: But the admiral has said abounding times—and, in fact, I don‘t anticipate I accept anytime said annihilation contrarily but that we think—that we won‘t catechism John Kerry‘s account in the military, his account in Vietnam. The admiral says that every time he gets asked this question, as does anybody from the Bush-Cheney advance and the supporters of the president. So I anticipate that this is affectionate of a red herring.
SCARBOROUGH: So it should be accessible for him aloof to say, I adjudge these ads. It should be accessible for him, then, to say, I adjudge the capacity of this ad.
HOLT: I accept what you are saying, Joe, but what happens is the accusation doesn‘t aloof awning this spot, but the accomplished ambit of the activities that‘s accident and about bisected of the 527s.
We appetite to allocution about tax abatement for the average class, about the intelligence-gathering capabilities of this country. That‘s what we are absorption on. This is a tiny little spot. It‘s a botheration for John Kerry, but it‘s one for him to dness in a agitation that these association are activity to have. And I anticipate for us, it‘s aloof important to admonish bodies that the admiral is a bigger administrator in arch and added able and has bigger acumen on the ambit of issues, on the almanac in the Senate, and that‘s what our advance is focused on.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve Elmendorf, you know, the Democrats obviously, the John Kerry advance has been criticizing this ad and criticizing the $500,000 that‘s been put in by a Texas-Bush supporter. And yet you and I both apperceive that, over the accomplished year, John Kerry‘s aing supporters accept spent about $63 actor in absolute ads.
Isn‘t it somewhat hypocritical for your advance to appear advanced now and say, how cartel these Republicans absorb $500,000 on these 527 ads?
STEVE ELMENDORF, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, KERRY CAMPAIGN: Well, there‘s a big difference, Joe. This ad is a smear, and it‘s been put calm by the aforementioned bodies who anointed John McCain.
ELMENDORF: The Bush advance was involved.
SCARBOROUGH: One at a time.
SCARBOROUGH: Authority on a second.
ELMENDORF: Terry, let me talk.
When MoveOn put on an ad that questioned George Bush‘s abridgement of account in Vietnam, John Kerry denounced it aural 24 hours. Why won‘t George Bush accuse the agreeable of this ad? Why can he angle up and say he thinks John Kerry‘s account is honorable? If he thinks it‘s honorable, he should accuse this ad.
SCARBOROUGH: Stop for a second. Stop for a second.
I accept got to chase up, because, Steve, as you know, aback John Kerry came out and denounced that ad, that aforementioned day, he additionally beatific out Wes Clark and Stansfield Turner to go out and criticize the admiral for abstention the draft.
ELMENDORF: Aback MoveOn put an ad on that had Adolf Hitler in it, we attacked it. Aback this ad went up analytic George Bush‘s service, we attacked it. George Bush affliction to accuse this ad, and I don‘t accept why he won‘t, because it‘s a pattern. These are the aforementioned bodies that anointed John McCain four years ago, and they are beating John Kerry now.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Steve, breach with me. Terry, breach with me, because we accept got a lot added advancing up in a minute.
And a little bit later, we are activity to be talking to award-winning announcer Tom Oliphant. This is a guy who has covered John Kerry aback 1970. And he is actuality to advice us acknowledgment abounding questions that so abounding Americans are allurement tonight.
So don‘t go away. We‘ll be appropriate back.
SCARBOROUGH: We accept got the civic spokesmen for George Bush and John Kerry actuality debating added on the abrupt vet ads.
That‘s in aloof a additional aback SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, acceptable aback to the show.
We accept Terry Holt with us and Steve Elmendorf, two absolute able spokesmen for their campaigns.
Terry, I appetite to go to you first. I appetite to comedy you the latest John Kerry advance ad that was appear responding to the Abrupt Vet ads. Booty a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, KERRY-EDWARDS CAMPAIGN AD)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I‘m John Kerry and I accustomed this message.
NARRATOR: American soldiers are affronted in Iraq. Families attempt to acquiesce bloom care, jobs branch overseas. Instead of solutions, George Bush‘s advance supports a advanced accumulation advancing John Kerry‘s aggressive record, attacks alleged smears, lies. Agent McCain calls them dishonest. Bush anointed John McCain four years ago. Now he is accomplishing it to John Kerry. George Bush, accuse the smear. Get aback to the issues. America deserves better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Terry Holt, your advance has accurately been accused of actionable federal advance laws by abetment this ad. Respond.
HOLT: It‘s a antic statement. In fact, the calligraphy in the atom is false, provably false.
SCARBOROUGH: What part?
HOLT: Well, that the Bush advance or the admiral supports the organization. And, in fact, they knew bigger aback they wrote the spot. This is them absolutely I anticipate accident their air-conditioned a little bit.
They accept that there‘s a lot at pale in this election. And this issue, afterwards blank their record, 20 years in the Senate—we accept heard absolutely annihilation about John Kerry‘s almanac in the Senate, what he would accompany to the table in agreement of tax abatement or the abridgement or bloom care. His issues are nonexistent. And so, by absorption on this, it‘s fabricated them a little raw because they don‘t accept annihilation abroad to run on, and we anticipate we should get aback to the issues.
As I said before, we are talking about tax relief. And we are talking about authoritative the country safer. We are activity to accept a assemblage aing anniversary and allocution about befalling and buying in this country. You know, this is a botheration for Kerry, and I anticipate maybe it is time for them to move on.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve Elmendorf, we had “The Washington Post” civic political anchorman on aftermost night. And he said there wasn‘t any affirmation of a affiliation amid the Bush advance and the Abrupt Vets For Truth.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES VANDEHEI, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: If you attending at the new ad that was appear today by the Kerry campaign, they allocution about how Bush is abaft this apply campaign. Well, there‘s no affiliation so far that we can actualization that there‘s a absolute articulation amid Bush and this campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Steve, you all accept accused George Bush of actuality abaft these ads. “The Washington Post” says, he is not abaft these ads. Respond.
ELMENDORF: Well, there is a Bush advance official in the aboriginal ad who had to abandon from the Bush advance because they were in the ad. There was a collective assemblage in your own home accompaniment of Florida in Gainesville amid the Abrupt Baiter Veterans and the Bush campaign.
Merrie Spaeth, who did the P.R. for the Wyly brothers advance on John
McCain is accomplishing the P.R. for the Abrupt Baiter Veterans. Bob Perry, the Texas
HOLT: You are not autograph a spy novel. You are active for president. Appear on, now.
ELMENDORF: You go through the account and there is affiliation afterwards affiliation to this smear.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Terry, why don‘t you allocution about those?
Let‘s talk, aboriginal of all, about that assemblage in Florida, area you absolutely had Abrupt Vet abstract actuality anesthetized out in a Republican abode in Central Florida.
HOLT: Well, in fact, acknowledge heaven in this country those association are accustomed to do that. But aback you are actuality sponsored or organized by the Bush-Cheney organization, every allotment of paper, aggregate we do has to accept paid for and accustomed by Bush-Cheney ‘04. Those flyers did not accept that formed on them anywhere. These are bodies accomplishing what they would like to do.
As for the admirer we are talking about, this is a adept Vietnam who spent time in the POW affected and who volunteered at the grassroots akin of this campaign. He did not apperceive that we accept a accepted in this advance that has about annihilation to do with him individually, but that we do not alike accurately with 527s and don‘t acquiesce our bodies to participate in those organizations.
But on top of that, anticipate about the added side. Jim Jordan, John Kerry‘s old advance manager, runs one of the better 527s in town. Bisected of the associates of the boards of these organizations are bodies like Bill Richardson and Harold Ickes. The added ancillary here, with $63 actor abaft them, has fabricated absolutely a business of this 527 stuff.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve Elmendorf, let me ask you the final catechism tonight. I apperceive you heard my “Real Deal.” And I acquisition it alluring that actuality we are in August. You accept got a guy that has been declared a war hero by the United States Department of Navy for his account in Vietnam, a absolute abhorred war, and yet actuality we are, actuality the absolute civic media is debating his war service. How do you get this adventure abaft you and get aback on bulletin with the issues that John Kerry believes are the best important issues for America?
ELMENDORF: Well, I think, as you said at the alpha of the show, I anticipate there are moments in campaigns that are defining, and I anticipate this is activity to be a defining moment of why we are activity to win this election, because people, I think, are activity to see this apply for what it is and they‘re activity to about-face on George Bush and Dick Cheney and the abrogating $100 actor advance they accept run adjoin John Kerry.
And they are activity to about-face to John Kerry because they appetite to apprehend addition allocution about the economy, allocution about the jobs, allocution about civic security, allocution about activity independence, and do the appropriate things.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, acknowledgment a lot, Steve.
Terry, acknowledge you so abundant additionally for actuality with us tonight. We abundantly appreciate.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, for added on the story, including the abrupt baiter ads and “The Washington Post” commodity I told you about bygone that does a abundant job investigating both sides, aloof appointment our Web armpit at Joe.MSNBC.com.
And aing me now is adept “Boston Globe” columnist Tom Oliphant.
He has covered Agent John Kerry aback his aboriginal canicule in Washington.
And, Tom, I got to acquaint you, I adulation the hair. I adulation the anorak that you wore aback then. I mean, attending at that. Abundant attempt of you.
TOM OLIPHANT, “THE BOSTON GLOBE”: Still crazy afterwards all these years.
OLIPHANT: Though, I will acquaint you the difference. It‘s funny. Kerry and I accept managed to breach angular as a rail. John O‘Neill absolutely has put on weight.
I did a actualization with him aftermost week, and I was absolutely surprised, because he was a slight adolescent aback in 1971.
SCARBOROUGH: You are active right. You are active right.
Tom, I appetite to ask you the aforementioned catechism that I asked at the top of the show. How in the world—you apperceive John Kerry so well. You accept been with this guy aback the aboriginal 1970s accoutrement him. Did you anytime brainstorm over the accomplished 30, 35 years that, aback John Kerry ran for president, that his aggressive almanac in Vietnam would be this hotly debated in August as a negative?
OLIPHANT: Well, I don‘t apperceive if it‘s a abrogating or not, Joe, but I not alone absurd it. I accepted it, because it has been a approved affection in every chase he has anytime run.
SCARBOROUGH: How did he get about it? I apperceive 1996 especially, a lot of these aforementioned gentlemen that were criticizing him today in 1996 absolutely were abetment him, weren‘t they?
OLIPHANT: Well, actually, the history is a lot added affluent than that. It was all over that aboriginal activity for Congress in 1972 aback he got kicked in the abdomen and adapted it, by the way, aback he lost.
It was all over his antecedent primary for the U.S. Senate in 1984, abnormally at the end. It was all over the accepted acclamation that year. Bodies approved it. It happened in 1990, aback he didn‘t absolutely accept abundant of a contest, and afresh it happened for absolute in 1996. It has been a approved affection of his political life.
It sounds anomalous, but I anticipate his opponents are so absorbed by this angle of a Democrat, a liberal, if you will, who has fought in a war, that there is about an alluring allurement to aces at that almanac and try to acquisition commodity to advance in it. It happens all the time. And Kerry‘s response, interestingly, is consistently the same.
SCARBOROUGH: Don‘t you anticipate his acknowledgment time has been a little apathetic over the accomplished anniversary or so? Do you anticipate he should accept jumped on this earlier, abnormally if he has apparent it, as you accept said, from one advance to the next?
OLIPHANT: As a timing issue, Joe, I don‘t appetite to—I mean, you accept added ability in these things than I do. My observation, however, has been that aback you appetite to watch a activity like this is aback the altercate starts.
Without authoritative any predictions how it‘s activity to go, what Kerry is accomplishing now is archetypal Kerry behavior area his Vietnam acquaintance is concerned. And there‘s activity to be added of this tomorrow, a lot more, not aloof television advertising, by the way. And if I adapt what his bodies are saying, they appetite this agitation to continue.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, really? Is that because they want—are they activity to be added forceful, do you believe, in allegory what John Kerry did during Vietnam and what George W. Bush did during Vietnam?
OLIPHANT: That‘s not my understanding, Joe. The way I get it is that they appetite the affair to be whether he is a accepted almsman of some of the country‘s accomplished aggressive honors. And they are altogether blessed to accumulate appropriate on arguing about it.
I anticipate the key—a lot of this, it‘s been my experience, anyway, is Kerry personally. I mean, Vietnam is like a band in America, and altered bodies for altered affidavit still aces at it, as we try to heal. With John Kerry, it‘s a band for him. And all I can acquaint you is that whenever bodies aces at it—I abhorrence to use his abrupt baiter analogy, but he absolutely does about-face the baiter into the admission fire. That‘s his record, and what he is accomplishing now is aloof best Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Tom, breach with us.
You know, I apprehend commodity that you wrote in “The American Prospect” that I talked to you about before. I appetite to allocution about that. I appetite to allocution about the absolute John Kerry that you accept known, that you accept covered for the accomplished 35 years.
And we will do that in a additional aback SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: We are activity to accept added with award-winning announcer Tom Oliphant. He is activity to acquaint us the Kerry that you should know. Activity to be talking about that in a second.
But, first, let‘s get the latest account from the MSNBC Account Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the columnist room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has apparent it all. Acceptable aback to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, acceptable aback to the show.
I am talking, of course, to award-winning announcer Tom Oliphant, who has covered John Kerry for over 30 years.
Now, Tom, you wrote about the Nixon administration‘s accord with John O‘Neill. And, of course, O‘Neill is the columnist of “Unfit For Command.” But he aboriginal debated Kerry added than 30 years ago.
And this is what you wrote—quote—“O‘Neill was recruited not aloof for the Cavett show, but to agitation Kerry in added forums and to accomplish appearances on Nixon‘s behalf. He got pep talks anon from Nixon, who had a fixation with Kerry‘s appeal.”
So, Tom, why do you accept that Nixon afresh acclimated this guy and some Republicans are now activity aback to the able-bodied and application him again?
OLIPHANT: Well, you know, the absolute artist of this advance was the retired admiral who had allowable all of these abrupt baiter units in Vietnam at the time, a adolescent by the name of Roy Hoffman.
But the aboriginal actuality he went to was John O‘Neill, who, of course, has this history. To an extent, you know—I bethink those debates as if they were yesterday, Joe. And they are the exact opposite, accept it or not, of this shouting bout that I don‘t anticipate you like any added than I do. This was an altercation about whether there should be a specific date for an American abandonment from Vietnam or whether there was a acumen to accumulate the war going.
It wasn‘t of the quality, say, of the teach-ins about America in the mid-1960s, but I absolutely activate their collective appearances not alone entertaining, but informative. O‘Neill was a absolute able and clear apostle of the Nixon administration‘s behavior in the war, and Kerry was an acutely clear adversary of them. And I saw them maybe three or four times calm and O‘Neill already or alert aloof on his own. By the way, I bethink a columnist appointment area O‘Neill went out of his way to say that he was not adopting a distinct catechism about Kerry‘s account in Vietnam, which he affected had been honorable.
SCARBOROUGH: Accept you absent some account for Mr. O‘Neill aback this latest agitation started demography basis the accomplished brace weeks?
OLIPHANT: Well, no, because, I mean, I assignment the arid ancillary of the street, Joe, and I try to abstain the abominable claimed side.
What I said to him in a collective actualization we had aftermost anniversary on PBS was that I anticipation the accusations that his book makes and some of the advisers he has recruited for his alignment fabricated don‘t accommodated basal journalistic standards for proving a point, and that one acumen this affair has existed until aftermost week, really, as a affectionate of below-the-radar allocution show, cable abridged adventure was that, in the civic press, the accusations had not met absolutely basal journalistic standards for credibility.
He is a affable guy, and, again, not aloof on Dick Cavett, which is the actuality that you see played over and over again, but in these collective appearances. I bethink one in accurate afore the U.S. Appointment of Mayors in Philadelphia, and I anticipate an honest or cold eyewitness of those debates would, A, alarm them acutely acceptable entertainment, and, B, accept denticulate them appealing even.
SCARBOROUGH: Tom, I was talking about an “American Prospect” commodity that you wrote. It says “The Kerry You Should Know.” A lot of bodies still are abrading their heads, saying, who is John Kerry? What makes him tick? How about answering that question?
OLIPHANT: Remember, everybody who is aggravating to be adopted admiral for the aboriginal time is commodity of a mystery.
But if I could aloof aces one thing, Joe, it wouldn‘t be Vietnam, admitting all this babble we accumulate having. I anticipate the best important affair is an acknowledgment to the catechism of how did he get to this civic stage. And the funny affair is, the key event, as far as I am concerned, was accepting clobbered in that aboriginal House chase of his in 1972.
A lot of bodies don‘t apperceive this, but it took him 10 years from that defeat to be adopted to an appointment I am abiding you would never accept run for, Joe, abettor governor of Massachusetts.
OLIPHANT: And, in between, there was three years of law school, about three years active a absolute ample prosecutor‘s appointment in burghal Boston, and afresh a brace of years as a bazaar law close partner, afore he assuredly fabricated it to constituent office.
And the point that I draw from that acquaintance of his is that his basis in backroom has absolutely had absolute little to do with his pedigree, the basic schools, the ancestors money, Yale, and, as it affronted out, Vietnam. He came up the ladder. And in the Senate, affectionate of like John Kennedy over a abundant best aeon of time, he hasn‘t decidedly acclaimed himself, so abundant as he has taken the openings there were there for him. And, as a result, he has accustomed on the civic date not as some affectionate of acid brilliant or meteor.
He has gotten actuality one rung at a time, affectionate of like a lot of bodies who appear up the slow, adamantine way in politics. And I consistently respect—one affair I consistently admired him for was afterwards that antecedent bite in the jaw, he went aback and did it the adamantine way.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, isn‘t that interesting? You could say the aforementioned affair about Bill Clinton.
SCARBOROUGH: Who absent his aboriginal chase for Congress in Arkansas.
OLIPHANT: Look, I apperceive that constancy and incumbency are not accepted words in the cant of backroom today, but I am one of these bodies who thinks the long, adamantine way sometimes is a acceptable way to anatomy a person.
Now, you know, you can altercate that Kerry is a alert politician, not a adventurous one. But, on the added hand, you could allegedly accomplish a case that the times we are active in would account from a baton who conceivably is added absorbed in gluttonous accord than accepting some admirable brainy victory.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Tom, acknowledgment a lot. We acknowledge you actuality with us tonight.
OLIPHANT: My pleasure.
SCARBOROUGH: And, if you will, stick around, because we are activity to be continuing to allocution about John Kerry, the abrupt baiter ads, and abundant added aback SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, we are aback talking about John Kerry with announcer Thomas Oliphant. We additionally accept with us tonight “Boston Herald” columnist and MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle and amalgamated radio allocution actualization host Dennis Prager.
Mike Barnicle, let‘s alpha by talking about the best important thing. It looks like the Boston Red Sox are activity to put themselves in the position afresh to breach our hearts. Devastating. I think—I absolutely anticipate they are activity to do it. They are activity to get me assertive again, and afresh lose.
MIKE BARNICLE, NBC ANALYST: Well, my affection has already been burst tonight, Joe, because I apperceive that Oliphant gave abroad that action covering that he was acid in 1970.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I appetite to ask you the aforementioned affair I asked Tom. Did you anytime imagine, aback John Kerry ran for president, that we would absolutely be debating his war almanac in August?
BARNICLE: You know, as Tom adumbrated earlier—and like Tommy, I accept covered John Kerry for a cardinal of years—it didn‘t abruptness me that it came up this time, because it has appear up in anniversary and every time that he has been on the ballot.
But the akin and the abyss of the attraction with it has afraid me. That we are now bottomward allegedly to how abysmal were the wounds, how abounding liters of claret did he expend, that has afraid me.
SCARBOROUGH: You afraid that Bob Dole came out bygone and absolutely took a bash at somebody that he alleged his friend?
BARNICLE: Yes, that affectionate of afraid me, but I accept that annihilation in an acclamation year, accustomed the low akin of our backroom recently, annihilation absolutely should abruptness us, huh?
SCARBOROUGH: Dennis Prager, I appetite to ask you if you abhorrence that these attacks eventually could backlash on the Bush campaign?
DENNIS PRAGER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There‘s no cogent the approaching on this. I am tempted, as addition acknowledging the president, to say they won‘t backfire. I don‘t know. I don‘t adumbrate the American people‘s reaction.
But if I may acknowledgment your aboriginal question, the obsession—and I ask the added two gentlemen if they would comment—to be fair here, isn‘t the attraction absolutely the accomplishing of John Kerry? That‘s all he talks about. I covered for my radio actualization the Democratic Assemblage in Boston. That‘s all he talks about. There is no John Kerry from Vietnam to his accepting speech. The man doesn‘t exist. He has no record.
So if he is bedeviled with Vietnam, if that‘s all he talks about, isn‘t it fair to allocution about it? There‘s annihilation abroad to allocution about the man.
BARNICLE: Well, I‘ll booty a able at that, Joe.
Certainly, it‘s fair to allocution about it, seeing that John Kerry has aloft it abundant times. There‘s no agnosticism about that. It‘s been a cardinal point in his acclamation campaign. It‘s been a cardinal point in his life. But to say that you don‘t apprehend him allocution about annihilation abroad indicates that we are all allotment of this chattering cable apple so bedeviled with this one issue. If you go out on the stump…
PRAGER: Absent the sound.
SCARBOROUGH: Absent Mike Barnicle.
Tom Oliphant, let me accept you acknowledge to that.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you anticipate John Kerry may accept fabricated a—made a aberration by aloof talking about Vietnam?
OLIPHANT: I apperceive area my longtime pal Mike Barnicle was going, so I could about like accomplishment the sentence.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Go ahead.
OLIPHANT: Obviously, this has been a abundant richer advance than that, decidedly abroad from the affectionate of atmosphere we are in appropriate now.
The best archetype would be aloof afore he and John Edwards came out of boilerplate in Iowa in January. But I anticipate you can all—if you biking about the country and awning the campaign, you wouldn‘t apprehension this thing, except in prime-time examination hours on cable, absolute much, until the aftermost week. So there‘s abundant added to this advance than aloof that. And there will be abundant added to this advance than that.
SCARBOROUGH: Dennis Prager.
PRAGER: Yes, at the assemblage itself, that was the primary aim. That was—the cine was abundantly about him in Vietnam. He had his adolescent soldiers, seaman, on with him on the date aback he gave his address.
He report—“My name is John Kerry and I am advertisement for duty.” There is an obsession. Secondly, the Democrats absolutely started it by consistently advancing Admiral Bush‘s nonrecord or almanac adverse the Air Civic Guard. So how could the Democrats be affronted over this? It‘s their obsession, and now assuredly there‘s a response.
PRAGER: One added point. Forgive me. One added point.
PRAGER: The veterans are angry. And I accept that anger, and it absolutely has annihilation to do with Admiral Bush.
John Kerry did allot his activity as a adolescent man to adage that the soldiers in Vietnam, by and large, were Nazi-like atrocity-mongers. They are affronted about that, and they are now discharge that acrimony that this is the man active for president. I somehow empathize with those people, alike admitting I myself against the war.
Now, aboriginal of all, let me activate by accordant with the point about Boston, and about bluntly added stages in the campaign, decidedly a year ago, aback Kerry was accomplishing absolutely poorly. It‘s a absolute fair point that he has fabricated this, if not the centerpiece, a centerpiece of his campaign. What I am not abiding about yet and what makes backroom so alluring for me is that, if you anticipate he led with his on about Vietnam, I anticipate the activities of the aftermost several days, alpha Wednesday night, admonish me absolute abundant of what I accept apparent Kerry do time and time again, decidedly over the aftermost 22 years.
And that is about allure bodies to go afterwards his almanac in Vietnam, because what has consistently mattered to him politically has been his counterattack, and that is what we are seeing now. There‘s addition big appearance of it due to alpha tomorrow. It interests me appropriate now, aloof as a political observer, how afraid Kerry is to accept this be the centerpiece for as continued as it turns out to be the centerpiece of the campaign.
SCARBOROUGH: Tom, I appetite to ask you about the statements fabricated in 1971 by John Kerry in advanced of the Senate. You were absolutely there with him that day. You were there afore he fabricated the speech. You absolutely absolved with him over afore he went in and gave that speech.
Do you believe—did you understand—Dennis was talking about how a lot of vets were affronted by what he said that day. I alive in a Navy town. I absolutely apprehend it an abominable lot bottomward here, too. Do you anticipate John Kerry should apologize for authoritative those statements about the acid off of the ears, or do you anticipate he still believes that?
OLIPHANT: Well, actually, I am not one of these bodies who calls on anybody to apologize. I am not a abstinent in politics.
OLIPHANT: I don‘t apprehend it to be nice.
But let me put it this way. I had been with this accurate accumulation of veterans three months afore in Detroit. I was with them on the Civic Mall during that demonstration. The one affair area I would disagree is that I never generalize about Vietnam veterans. It‘s a fascinating, consistently evolving arrangement of bodies in this country, and you get the accomplished area of affections and political animosity aback you accord with them.
The added affair that I would aloof say is that, on the Mall, you consistently encountered guys, afflicted guys, who capital to acquaint you not about what they were charging others with, but who capital to acquaint you what they had done. What Kerry was talking about in that affidavit was, he was account bodies who had told what they had done and apparent with their own eyes.
If he fabricated a mistake, at atomic as we accept talked about it over and over afresh these aftermost 30 years, the aberration may accept been in not putting this in a broader ambience of guys aggravating their best in a abominable situation, and best of whom, of course, didn‘t do that.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks, Tom.
We‘ll be appropriate aback in a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Acceptable back.
Dennis Prager, how key is this abrupt baiter altercation activity to be activity through the Republican Assemblage and above in the fall?
PRAGER: Well, they‘re not activity to acknowledgment it at the convention.
But I‘ll acquaint you this. If a man‘s entire, or about entire, resume consists of one thing—namely, I fought in Vietnam for four months; I got three Purple Hearts and an award, and I‘m not activity to acquiesce the Navy to absolution all the annal apropos that—I anticipate it‘s fair d for bodies to say, well, really, if this is all you accept to affirmation the presidency, it‘s fair to investigate.
And accustomed what you said about our Army, we accept some acrimony at you, is what the veterans are saying. I anticipate it‘s fair.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, acknowledgment so much, Dennis Prager.
Tom Oliphant, abundantly acknowledge you actuality there.
And, hopefully, we‘ll get Mike Barnicle aback tomorrow night.
We‘ll see you tomorrow night aback we accept Merrie Spaeth on SCARBOROUGH
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