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Kerry labels Bush "The Great Divider"


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c/o CNN

Kerry blames Bush for partisanship in Washington

Democrat faults GOP for Senate vote

Wednesday, June 23, 2004 Posted: 7:24 PM EDT (2324 GMT)

 

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Democrat John Kerry criticized Republicans on Wednesday for denying him a chance to cast a Senate vote, blaming a partisan culture created by President Bush and calling his rival "the greatest divider as a president in the modern history of this country."

 

As he returned to the campaign trail after a one-day interruption for Senate business, the four-term Massachusetts lawmaker made it clear that he would try to make the political maneuvering in the Senate an issue in his presidential bid.

 

Kerry told donors at a $2 million breakfast fund-raiser and later in a speech to union workers that he canceled all his campaign events Tuesday to return to Washington to vote for more spending on veterans' health care.

 

"But oh, no," Kerry said at the fund-raiser. "Oh, no. Not in this Senate, not with these people. Once again, it's my way or the highway, shut the door, lock the people out, don't let them take part in the democracy, don't respect the institution. Don't show the common courtesies that actually bring people together to find the common ground. So they found a way all day to twiddle their thumbs, do very little, attend a reception at the White House, but not let John Kerry vote.

 

"That's the way they play," Kerry continued. "That's what's at stake in this race. George Bush talked about being a uniter, not a divider. But he's been the greatest divider as a president in the modern history of this country. And we need to change."

 

Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt said Kerry's lashing out at Bush for being denied an opportunity to vote is "baseless" when Kerry has been absent for more than 80 percent of the votes this year, including others to improve veterans benefits and financially support the troops in Iraq.

 

Bob Stevenson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, dismissed Kerry's complaints.

 

"This isn't about courtesy. This is about commitment. We were here hoping to go to a vote on that amendment if we could get a commitment (from Democrats) for final passage" of the underlying defense bill, he said. "We were working on that when John Kerry left town."

 

Several Republicans, speaking on condition of anonymity, said GOP senators were in no mood to rearrange the Senate's schedule on Tuesday to accommodate the Democratic presidential contender. Meeting at their weekly lunch, several Republican senators said the GOP, as the majority party, should not go out of its way to assist Kerry.

 

The issue also came up on the Senate floor Tuesday, when Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota said Frist had personally told him "that he didn't want to accord Sen. Kerry the opportunity to vote today knowing, of course, Sen. Kerry was here today."

 

As he travels the country campaigning for president, Kerry rarely is in Washington to vote, but he wanted to cast a vote for veterans, a Republican-leaning group that he is targeting in his tight race against Bush.

 

Republicans were eager to deny Kerry the moment he sought and delayed the vote. But they may have given Kerry a chance to fault the GOP for playing politics with veterans and remind voters of his own service to the country.

 

Speaking earlier to the fund-raiser that brought in $1 million for Kerry's campaign and $1 million for the Democratic National Committee, the Democrat said he learned when he returned from fighting in Vietnam what happens when a war loses the people's support.

 

"I came back to a nation that was indifferent, if not divided over that, certainly indifferent about the role of the soldiers who were quickly cast aside as America confused the war with the warriors, something that I would never, ever commit again," Kerry said to applause from his supporters. "Which is why I felt so strongly about that issue of health care yesterday."

 

Kerry canceled a day of campaigning in the swing state of New Mexico to wait for the Senate vote that never happened. But he could use his move as cover for missing future votes -- then he can claim that even when he moved heaven and earth to get to the Senate, the Republicans wouldn't let him participate.

 

"These people are so petty, so sad, so political, that all they could do is spend the whole day finding a way not to let John Kerry vote," Kerry said in a speech to the Service Employees International Union.

 

Bush the greatest divider? C'mon now. I can think of two in the last decade (Gingrich and CLinton) who make Bush look like captain bipartisan. This is just a plain old dumb statement.

 

I also found humerous how Kerry compared America's attitude towards today's soldiers with the "casting aside" of Vietnam vets during Vietnam. Yeah, riiight. Seen any soldiers on CNN come home from "Stan or Iraq and get called babykillers and spat on?

 

You miss 4 out of every 5 votes John. You wanna go run for President? ZFIne. But you can't have it both ways and cherrypick on the votes you think will get you some political capital.

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Amazing that you would claim Clinton to be more divisive than this administration. Just because he didnt fit with your very conservative views, doesnt mean he was a divider.

 

Bush has incurred that wrath of numerous moderates and has created a massive divide. Remember, youre either with em or against him.

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Bosnia and Somalia also didn't do so great.

:plain, do you like to contradict yourself? To say that Clinton was wrong in Bosnia and Somalia(Somalia, yes. Bosnia, no) and support Bush in Iraq is classic. I didn't say he was wrong, I just said the way he handled it divided the country.

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Bosnia and Somalia also didn't do so great.

:plain, do you like to contradict yourself? To say that Clinton was wrong in Bosnia and Somalia(Somalia, yes. Bosnia, no) and support Bush in Iraq is classic. I didn't say he was wrong, I just said the way he handled it divided the country. It's not like The War in Iraq is going either side. Most polls show a small majority says we handled this war wrong. I belive that's dividing. The country will always be divided because their are too many people who feel that one issue important to them is more important than any other thing to have a unified country.

 

The only time we had a unified country, thousands of americans had to die and that's not something we need.

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Obviously McVeigh and friends saw him is very divisive.

You're going to use Timothy freaking McVeigh as an example of why Clinton was so divisive?

 

Hey I'm sure the shoe bomber thinks George W's policies are really divisive too, but maybe we shouldn't use terrorists as a good example of how the nation gets divided, hmm?

 

divisiveness is "your either with us or against us".

 

you want to make a case for Clinton's lying about an affair dividing the country, fine.

 

but please please PLEASE don't try to make the case that the Bush administration has not been divisive for the nation.

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Obviously McVeigh and friends saw him is very divisive.

You're going to use Timothy freaking McVeigh as an example of why Clinton was so divisive? OK, throw in all the militia hoopla that was going on at the same time too then. That seems to have vanished from the radar screen lately. Oh brother. You really think these wackos havent disappeared from the radar screen? By your logic, ecoterrorist could strike and that would mean we are a divided nation.

 

 

 

Last time I checked impeachment hearings didn't include members of both parties sitting around and singing cumbaya.

 

Clinton is the standard-bearer for divisivness. His divisiveness alone caused the backlash that was Gingrich and the CWA.

 

 

Clinton comprimised on numerous thing(gays in military, healthcare etc), something that cant be said of Bush. Clinton wasnt nearly as left wing as Bush is right wing.(something that seems so blatantly obvious) That makes it easier for moderates in the other party to get things done. Gingrich and the CWA was an example of good political manuevering.

 

 

Would you dispute this: Many more people in America hate Bush as opposed to the number who hate Clinton?

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