This is the second part of the story. Go Here To see the beginning
Kerry came out and joked to the very well dressed crowd that while we were on Avenue of the Stars today, (the street the hotel is on), the Republican party was becoming the Avenue of the Indicted. He also said that Congress is more dysfunctional right now than it has ever been in the 22 years he has been there.
The Senator spoke on many subjects, and was clear, concise and confident as he made his points, unlike the man who supposedly beat him in the last election. I was given a copy of the prepared text of Kerry’s speech, but I took some notes of what he said. Some of the more interesting points: He said that the war on terror in Afghanistan was a necessary thing when it was first started, after 9/11, but that Bush decided that he wanted to have a war with Iraq. He called Bush’s Axis of Evil speech a "diversion of purpose" which Bush used to get his war. Bush chose to attack the only country in the region without weapons of mass destruction.
Now after three years Iraq still has no Interior Minister and no Defense Minister. Kerry said the problem in Iraq is one of Sunni vs. Shiite, and the only way to solve those problems is through diplomacy. He called for a Dayton-like summit in which all factions are brought to the table, and said that General Anthony Zinni, and Kofi Annan both agree with him that this is the best solution to the problem, and that if the factions can work out an agreement to avoid civil war that the jihadists and insurgents will not be able to survive.
Kerry went after Bush’s pledge that "as they (Iraqis) step up we will step down." The goal was to have 272,000 Iraqis trained before we let them take over; as of now 255,000 Iraqis have been trained but not one U.S. soldier has been able to step down. Another point he made was that Iran is delighted with our "predicament in Iraq" because it increases their leverage against us. He said that Bush’s chief-of-staff Josh Bolten plans to use threats from Iran in the Republican’s election strategy, and they will try to create fear that if we don’t attack them they will attack us. Kerry is adamantly against us doing any kind of bombing of Iran. He said he accepted his responsibility for voting to use force in Iraq, and that we must not make the same mistake again.
He concluded by saying that according to the experts he has heard from, Iran is 5 to 10 years away from having nuclear capabilities so we have time for diplomacy, and that we need to repair what he called the gaping hole in the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.
After the speech Kerry took some s from the audience of the Pacific Council. One criticism of the past is that Kerry gives long winded answers to s, and is not able to come to a simple point. I noticed this as he was answering the s, since during the 20 minute Q&A he got to only four s. At the end Warren Christopher got back up and said that Kerry had made the meeting of The PC one of the more memorable in the recent past. Christopher saidhe would be remiss if he didn’t ask if Kerry plans to run, to which Kerry said he is thinking seriously about it, but right now is committed to doing as much as he can to help Democrats take back Congress this November.. When it was over Kerry mingled with some members of the PC, then I and the other bloggers were brought up to a small room for our meeting with The Senator. 10 of us sat at a small conference table and introduced ourselves. A few minutes later Kerry walked in, went around the room shaking hands and meeting everyone. He was very friendly and already knew a few of the people so it was very informal.
He talked about some of the mistakes that were made on his campaign such as having the convention five weeks before the Republicans and about how, with a 13 week campaign schedule instead the eight week schedule of the Republicans, he was unable to spend money in August because they needed it for the stretch run. It was during that time that he got attacked by the swift boaters. He said that they tried to attack him twice before, and he was able to rebut them with the truth immediately and slap them down, but the third time they got a $5 million check from T. Boone Pickens, and another $3 million from someone else, and they were able to get their message across by spending the $8 million.
Kerry agreed completely with someone’s assessment that everything that Bush does is solely for the purpose of looting the country. He basically said that Bush and his cohorts are criminals and that history will judge them so. He said that he believes that the pendulum will swing back and that is why after 35 years in politics he is still involved, otherwise he wouldn’t waste his time. He also said that he never stopped fighting after the election, and that he still hasn’t, but I didn’t get to ask why he conceded the next morning, though I wish I had. At some other point he referred to Supreme Court Justices Alito, Scalia, and Roberts as Idiots
He said that if the Democrats could win just one house in the upcoming elections they will use that to stall all Republican legislation. He talked about how he has helped out 150 democrats who are running for election by raising $7 million for their campaigns, and that he believes that democrats will win one of the two houses back. I wasn’t able to get to any of my s that I had prepared for Kerry during the meeting because it was constant back and forth between every one there with some very frank s and answers but after it was over
Then, as the elevator doors were opening, he shook my hand, put his other hand on my shoulder and said that it was really nice to meet me. The doors opened and he was gone. On his way to another event tonight in Whittier.
H.L. reviews the new movie "The Road To Guantanamo"
See a Giant List of Political Comics Here