But there are problems with Mr. Kerry's latest attempt to open a new campaign front over Iraq, an issue many Democrats say should not be the focus of his presidential agenda.
First, Mr. Kerry voted for the Senate resolution that clearly approved of going to war in Iraq. Second, nowhere does Mr. Kerry say how he would have reduced the war's costs. Even with support from France, Germany and other countries, our share of the costs would not have changed significantly, Pentagon officials say.
The only way Mr. Kerry could have saved that $200 billion would be if he "chose not to go to war," Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post's ad watch reporter, wrote last week.
Mr. Kerry's ad offensive on Iraq is the product of his new team of Clinton advisers brought in to sharpen his message and stop his freefall in the polls. But the early reviews suggest their strategy is only pushing Mr. Kerry deeper into a quagmire of contradictions and confusion of his own making.
How does Mr. Kerry square his latest statement with an earlier position he would have spent more money for the war? As early as August 2003, Mr. Kerry said on "Meet The Press" that President Bush should "increase" funds for the war "by whatever number of billions of dollars it takes to win."
But later, when the $87 billion military funding bill came up, Mr. Kerry voted against it, after having said earlier no one in good conscience could vote against funding for troops sent to fight for our country. Last month, he said if he had it all to do over, he still would vote to go to war. More recently, though, he declared this "the wrong war at the wrong time," a campaign line lifted whole from Howard Dean's 2003 antiwar speeches.
It is difficult to recall a presidential candidate who changed course on a major national security issue as many times as Mr. Kerry has done over the past two years.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Donald Lambro looks at the problems with Kerry's new position and ads that say that the money spent in Iraq would be better off spent at home.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 6:42 AM