. . . Friday September 3, 2004

There Must Be 41 Ways to Smear Your Enemy

During the past few years (and especially during this campaign), George Bush (41) has been sort of portraying himself as a fuddy-duddy grandpa who’s just not that engaged in the details of politics. Don’t believe it. The Bushies play to win.

Take a look at this smear job during an interview on the Newshour:

BUSH: I think the focus that seems to be coming up now as to whether John Kerry was right – speaking from his heart, I’m sure – in condemning the war in the way in which he did. Impugning the, I think, impugning the integrity and the honor of those who were still serving, and those with whom he did serve, I think that is a very legitimate thing that must be answered.

I remember Jane Fonda. And I try to be a forgiving guy, and Jane Fonda I think has apologized for the abuse that she brought upon these prisoners, and I saw her once at a White House party – a British embassy deal where the queen was giving a return party for Barbara and me, and she wanted – the queen wanted Jane Fonda there with Turner.

JIM LEHRER: Ted Turner, who was her husband at the time, right.

BUSH: Yeah. And I said I don’t want my picture taken with Jane Fonda, and I expect she wouldn’t want hers taken with me, but I don’t want to make every veteran in the United States furious.

So we had a receiving line, the press were elbowed out of the way, and in a very diplomatic way, the way the Brits would do it – and she came through the line looking great, and she said to me, Mr. President, I know this is very, very difficult for you. And I said, well, I know it’s difficult for you, Jane, and I appreciate it, and on she went and that was the last word I spoke to her.

She apologized, and I in my heart still cannot forgive her. And I’m not proud of that. So I feel very strongly about the comments of those who came back and then in brutal — and then by the strength of their words brutalized people that were still serving or who had served.

And one of the things about Desert Storm is the way the war ended that you see the Vietnam veterans marching with the Desert Storm veterans, and I just felt a great sense of joy – emotional – I was emotional when I saw it, saying, they’re getting their just due at last.

LEHRER: But that’s different than John Kerry’s service overseas, right?

GEORGE BUSH: Well, I don’t know that it’s different because he came back and said people were gouging eyes out, and I don’t want to misquote the man, but there’s some stuff flashing on the television this morning in quotes and if they’re not accurate, they ought to be – they ought to be condemned. But it looks to me like they are accurate.”

Concentration is important!