Kerry: The Missing Years
Steven Taylor chronicles the flap over the Kerry campaigns staff’s claim that their fearless leader was vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence when, in fact, that was Bob Kerrey. While that’s certainly rather embarrassing, I’m willing to chalk that up to an overzealous staff’s sloppiness. What’s more damaging is the fact, not really in dispute, that Kerry (that’s John) has been an absentee Senator.
“It’s difficult to take John Kerry’s claims about his intelligence experience seriously when one of his credentials is completely made up,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson. “If he had shown up for Intelligence Committee hearings he would notice he wasn’t vice chairman.”
A good line! But, so far as I know, Kerry himself never made the claim. (In contrast, say, to the Cambodia story.)
Kerry’s failure to attend three-fourths of the committee’s public hearings was criticized by RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie in a memo Tuesday to members of Congress. The Kerry campaign has not denied he missed meetings but has said the criticism relies on accounts of 65 open hearings and doesn’t note that the panel held more than 329 meetings.
I’m not sure this will have much traction with voters, since they’re likely to vote prospectively and, to the extent they vote retrospectively, it’ll have more to do with Bush’s first four years than Kerry’s last twenty. But Kerry’s lackluster performance in the Senate strikes me as a legitimate issue.