February 6, 2005


Weighing defeat, Kerry sees lessons to guide future: The following interview was conducted by Peter S. Canellos, Nina J. Easton, Michael Kranish, and Susan Milligan of the Globe staff. The article was written by Canellos. (Boston Globe, February 6, 2005)

During the two-hour interview on Thursday, Kerry cited some impediments to his election as president, including the gay marriage referendums in 11 states (''I can certainly tell you it had an impact"), the financial disadvantage of the early convention (''We had a 13-week general election and they had an eight-week"), and surveys showing half of Bush voters believed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks (''Now, did I scratch my head over that? You better believe it.")

Kerry also said he hopes to sit down with President Bush to talk about foreign affairs before Bush's trip to Europe at the end of this month, in what would be the first meeting between the two since their final presidential debate.

Despite the contentious nature of the campaign, Kerry expressed no resentment toward the president, but revealed a simmering bitterness toward some of the president's staunch backers. Kerry demanded that the swift boat veterans who had criticized his military record agree to open up their own files because he knows ''one guy was busted" and another ''has a letter of reprimand."

The fight over the ads by veterans accusing Kerry of exaggerating his Vietnam heroism -- a period that marked a downturn in Kerry's polling numbers -- lingers as a key battle of the campaign.

Last spring, after securing the nomination, Kerry promised Democrats that he wouldn't fall victim to the character attacks that felled so many of the party's former nominees. Three months after Election Day, Kerry still appears angry with himself for allowing the swift boat ads, along with the Republican portrayal of him as a ''flip-flopper," to define his candidacy for some voters.

He also expressed frustration over surveys showing he lost to Bush among Catholic voters, a problem Kerry promised to address by pursuing an agenda that reflects ''the whole cloth" of Catholic teachings, not just abortion.

''We were all taught as young Catholics growing up to think and see our Catholicism, and in our duty to God and to ourselves in that relationship, as the whole cloth of Catholicism, the whole cloth of responsibility, the solidarity of people to their community and to each other and ultimately to the Lord," Kerry said. ''I'll tell you -- that teaching has always been inclusive of just wars, the environment, poverty, justice, social justice, and never been reduced to one point or another."

Kerry insisted that he and his running mate, former North Carolina senator John Edwards, talked about values ''every day" during the race, but he strongly endorsed efforts by Democrats to talk even more about religion.

In discussing his own dilemma of whether to run again for the presidency, he said he wasn't fully prepared to consider it. But he appeared willing to seek the guidance of a higher power.

''God will figure it out," he said quietly.

Doesn't he mean Teresa?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2005 9:58 AM

Kerry will never sign Form 180 to have his medical and service record looked at. He will never have an x-ray taken to find out if he has any shrapnel in his hip. The reason he won't is because the Swift Boat Veterans are correct. It's time for people like Peter S. Canellos, Nina J. Easton, Michael Kranish, and Susan Milligan to call him on it.

Posted by: AllenS at February 6, 2005 10:49 AM

The Boston Globe is a cheerleader for the most loopy lefties in Massachusetts, so you will have a very long wait.

Bush's narrow victory over a complete lightweight and cipher like Cabana Boy is an indication of just how much he risked in the Iraq war. If there were no Iraq war, this would have been a Reagan-Mondale or Nixon-McGovern style blowout.

Posted by: Bart at February 6, 2005 11:27 AM

Boy, is this guy dilusional. What makes him think Bush will sit down with him to discuss foreign affairs? Kerry showed during the campaign (when he wasn't lying about meeting foreign leaders and having their support) that he has no clue.

And notice how the loss is STILL everyone else's fault. Damn those dumb people who voted for Bush and think Saddam had something to do with 9/11. And the vets who claimed he exaggerated his military record. And the Republicans who portrayed him as a flip-flopper. And the Catholics who didn't think he address values enough.

Gee, John, did you ever think you might have done this to yourself and that you are a seriously flawed candidate? It's time to face reality - in an election where almost half the voters disliked the incumbent, you STILL couldn't get enough votes to win. Perhaps it is time to look within...

Posted by: Kman at February 6, 2005 11:31 AM

"God will figure it out"? There's some illustrative sloppiness either in the thinking or the choice of words.

It's interesting that a distinguishing characteric of Democrat presidents and candidates for some time is that they appear to be feckless charlatans and frauds at their core.

How long can a party like that survive?

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at February 6, 2005 6:51 PM

Kerry & Edwards "talked about values everyday". Whose values?

Posted by: Dave W. at February 6, 2005 9:33 PM