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The Swift Boats are still afloat – at Fox News

Reported by Chrish - November 19, 2006 -

NOTE: GUEST BLOGGED by Priscilla

Chris Wallace is still “making his bones” at Fox News. One might assume that his interview with John Kerry would have been about the ramifications of the recent Democratic win and the future of the Democratically held Senate and House, but if you did you’d be wrong, as it was all about John Kerry’s botched joke. Just to make sure that the loyal Fox audience hasn’t forgotten the reviled John Kerry, now that the reviled Nancy Pelosi is the House Majority Leader Elect, Wallace dredged up all the tired old right wing talking points about the Kerry “insult” to the troops.

Wallace’s first question to Kerry, “did Democrats say you’re becoming a distraction?” set the tone. Kerry replied that he made a bad joke, he apologized, and that “we won and we need to move on.” Not wanting to move on, Wallace asked “didn’t Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer call you” to which Kerry responded that “it was a bad joke, I own it and the Republican attack machine knew exactly what I said.”

As a dutiful member of the Republican attack brigade, Wallace continued with “this raises questions about your political judgment. Do you think it’s responsible to call the president dumb and lazy?” Kerry was articulate in his response that it was an insult to the troops to “send them to a war without reason” and with poor equipment and a continuing lack of a strategy to extricate them from this “quagmire.” Wallace responded in vintage Fox style: “But Senator, people are trying to take a measure of the candidate. There are reports that a lot of Democrats, not just Republicans, are saying you learned the wrong lesson.” (Comment: what report, Chris – which Democrats and Republicans, Chris?).

Wallace, who was stammering at this point, continued to say “you’d been on the show a month ago and you said I’m not going to get swift boated and some people say that this is the wrong lesson.” On a roll, Wallace said “some people say what may have gotten you into as much trouble as the joke is the way you responded to it.”

After playing a news clip of Kerry’s response to the immediate attacks, Kerry calmly asked Wallace why he didn’t play the section where Kerry said it was a “botched joke” and that he didn’t intend to insult the troops. Kerry then tried to bring the discussion back to current events like the Baker Commission and energy independence, but Wallace would have none of that. Rather, he showed a section of a letter, written by the mother of a fallen soldier, expressing her umbrage at Kerry’s statements and commented that this woman still hadn’t received a response from Kerry who said that his staff is attempting to respond to all correspondence regarding the issue.

Once more, Kerry tried to redirect the discussion with the comment that “we’ve won the right to move forward” and attempted to discuss the Democrats’ plans for health care and ethics. Ignoring this, Wallace asked him “how much damage will this do to your seeking the presidency?” Kerry replied that the “focus should be respecting what happened this election day.” With one minute of the interview left, Wallace asked Kerry about Iraq.

Comment: The Kerry remark is old news; but Fox continues to bring it up. The election is two years away; but Fox continues to want to continue the Kerry smear. Kerry isn’t considered a front runner for the 2008 primaries; yet Fox is treating him as though he were an imminent threat, which begs the question, why bother? When Bill Clinton aggressively responded to Wallace, the right wing was all in a tizzy about how inappropriate his response was. They’ll probably say that Kerry’s response was weak – but if you’re a Democrat, despite the recent election, you just can’t win on Fox News.

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