Kerry Goes After Bush, And Looks Towards 2008

Today’s Washington Post reports With Eye On 2008, Kerry Goes After Bush. I’ve previously posted the specifics of Kerry’s latest criticism of Bush, but this article is of interest for its discussion of Kerry running for the 2008 nomination. They note the obstacles, such as Hillary Clinton’s lead, but are somewhat misleading when quoting one poll placing Kerry forth and ignoring others that place him as high as second.

Those of us who recall the fall of 2003, when everyone said Dean was unbeatable between his lead in the polls, his netroots support, and growing list of endorsements, and recall how Kerry even trailed Al Sharpton in some polls, are not going to be concerned about today’s conventional wisdom. Nor will Kerry allow this to dissuade him:

None of this seems to discourage the Massachusetts senator. He said he has been getting a far different sense from conversations with Democrats during his travels this fall. “I’m very encouraged,” he said in an interview a few hours before his speech. “I know what the conventional wisdom is, and it’s had a good record of being wrong.”

Kerry believes he was defeated in 2004 in large part because of what he calls two lies from his opponents: one about the way America went to war in 2003, the other far more personal — the Swift Boat veterans’ attacks that challenged his Vietnam War record, crippling his campaign in August 2004.

Democrats still fault Kerry for failing to fight back against those charges, and he says he regrets that he was not more aggressive. “We thought the truth was understood,” he said. “We should have done more.” But, Kerry added: “I don’t think that should disqualify you from being president of the United States, necessarily.”

What is disqualifying, he believes, is the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy. “This war is utterly disastrous,” he said. “It’s without parallel in modern American foreign policy history in the incompetence and in the lack of effort to bring elders of both parties together and create an atmosphere of solving it. And I am incensed that young Americans are losing their lives because these guys are arrogant and incompetent.”

Those kinds of comments have drawn instant rebukes from critics in the Republican Party, and even Democrats have been reluctant to follow Kerry’s recommendations for changing policy by setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces. He predicts that more of his colleagues in the Senate will move his way after the midterm elections.

Kerry said those who have encouraged him to run again believe he can be a viable candidate. “Are there enough people who believe that?” he asked. “Can we put that together? Have I learned the lessons of getting kicked on my butt and dusted up, and can I bring a better experience to the table? I think I’ve learned a lot of lessons. The question is, can you convey that to people? I don’t know. Those are the imponderables.”

The Washington Post also has an interview with John Kerry previously conducted by Bob Woodward.

Update: Transcript of John Kerry’s appearance on Fox News Sunday.

Related Story: The Case for Kerry 2008

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