Oh, my Gawd. The story in the New York Times about John Kerry’s Chinese assault rifle fraud is so pathetically funny that I have to quote it in full (my comments added):
No Assault Rifle for Kerry, After All
By JODI WILGOREN
Published: September 27, 2004
Senator John Kerry’s campaign said yesterday that Mr. Kerry did not own a Chinese assault rifle, as he was quoted as saying in Outdoor Life magazine, but a single-bolt-action military rifle, blaming aides who filled out the magazine’s questionnaire on his behalf for the error. [WHICH AIDES?! WHO ON KERRY’S STAFF WOULD HAVE WRITTEN SUCH A THING IN KERRY’S NAME WITHOUT KERRY’S PRIOR APPROVAL? COME ON, JODI. THIS IS NOT STENOGRAPHY CLASS.]
Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the campaign [POOR, POOR GUY], said Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, owns two guns, a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun and the rifle, which Mr. Meehan said Mr. Kerry “keeps as a relic” [IN WHICH HOME? IN WHICH STATE? IN COMPLIANCE WITH STATE REGULATIONS OR NOT?] and had never fired. Mr. Meehan said the gun had no make or model markings on it and that Mr. Kerry “got it from a friend years ago,” [WHO? WHO?] adding that such rifles were first manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago and were used by the North Koreans and the Vietcong.
The clarification [“CLARIFICATION?!” HOW GENEROUS! TRY “APPARENT FABRICATION”] came in response to an article yesterday in The New York Times quoting Mr. Kerry’s response to a question by Outdoor Life: “What is your favorite gun?”
“My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam,” said Mr. Kerry, a veteran, according to the October issue. “I don’t own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle.”
Though the comment was presented by Outdoor Life as part of an “exclusive interview with the two presidential candidates,” four pages that included many long, conversational answers using first-person pronouns, Mr. Meehan said Mr. Kerry’s portions were written by his staff [WHO? WHO?]. A public relations representative for Outdoor Life did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Saturday’s story was just as snort-worthy. Here it is in full:
In Magazine Interview, Kerry Says He Owns Assault Rifle
By JODI WILGOREN
Senator John Kerry, a hunter who supported the recently expired assault weapons ban, frequently tells audiences he has never met anyone who wanted to use an AK-47 to shoot a deer. But it is not clear what Mr. Kerry does with the Chinese assault rifle he told Outdoor Life magazine he kept in his personal collection.
In interviews appearing in the October issue of Outdoor Life, Mr. Kerry and President Bush were asked whether they were gun owners, and, if so, to identify their favorite gun.
Mr. Bush named the Weatherby 20 gauge (although he gave a slightly different answer in a separate chat with Field and Stream magazine.) Mr. Kerry’s answer was more complicated [WHEN IS IT NOT?].
“My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam,” Mr. Kerry told the magazine. “I don’t own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle.”
Mr. Kerry’s campaign would not say what model rifle Mr. Kerry was referring to, where he got it and when, or how many guns he owned. A spokesman for the senator, Michael Meehan, said Mr. Kerry was a registered gun owner in Massachusetts. On Thursday morning, Mr. Meehan said he had not been able to ask Mr. Kerry about the rifle because of Mr. Kerry’s hoarse voice [BWAH-HA-HA!]; he did not respond to further inquiries.
Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association – which has given Mr. Kerry “F” ratings throughout his career and backs Mr. Bush’s re-election – said the Outdoor Life comment made Mr. Kerry’s support of the assault weapons ban disingenuous.
“It’s O.K. for John Kerry to own these kinds of firearms, but it’s not O.K. for John Q. Public?” Mr. Arulanandam said, noting that if Mr. Kerry brought the gun home from the war as a souvenir he could be subject to court-martial. “He certainly owes people an explanation as to why there’s a double standard.”
Stephen P. Halbrook, a gun rights lawyer who has argued several cases before the Supreme Court, said the most common Chinese assault rifles, known as SKS clones, were not among the 19 models banned under the 1994 law. But some SKS’s have magazines holding more than 10 rounds, which violates a Massachusetts law against large-capacity weapons, Mr. Halbrook said. If the gun is fully automatic, Mr. Halbrook said, it is illegal in Massachusetts and would require a federal permit if Mr. Kerry kept it at one of his homes in Pennsylvania and Idaho.
Such permits are not public records. [SO WHY NOT GET HIM A THROAT LOZENGE AND A PENCIL AND ASK KERRY YOURSELF, JODI?]
[AND NOW FOR A NYT-APPROVED FAIR AND BALANCED, OBLIGATORY KERRY SUCK-UP QUOTE FROM ONE OF THE LIBERAL MEDIA’S FAVORITE ANTI-GUN TURNCOATS…]
Bob Ricker, a former N.R.A. lawyer who is now a consultant for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said he was not worried by Mr. Kerry’s answer because “he knows a lot about firearms and he’s also one of the most credible individuals when it comes to talking about gun-violence prevention and what it takes to keep weapons of war off the street.”
[AND NOW FOR A NYT-APPROVED FAIR AND BALANCED, OBLIGATORY ANTI-BUSH SWIPE TO TAKE THE HEAT OFF KERRY…]
Mr. Bush does not have such high-powered weapons but seems unable to pick a consistent favorite. To Field and Stream, he said, “My favorite gun is the first gun that my dad gave me, which is a Winchester .22 pump, Model 61.”
He also mentioned the Weatherby he chose for Outdoor Life, saying that it was a “custom-made gun presented to me by the C.E.O. of the company, Mr. Weatherby.” Mr. Bush said he had “six or seven guns” in his office safe, including two .22’s, deer rifles and a .243-caliber “varmint” rifle.
“Given to me by the former lieutenant governor of Texas, Bob Bullock, my old buddy,” Mr. Bush explained of the .243-caliber rifle, “who on his deathbed said, ‘I want to give you a gun.’ “
The Outdoor Life interview with Kerry and Bush is here.
The blogger pile-on begins…
Gary Petersen writes:
What’s odd about this story is that John Kerry doesn’t actually have a Communist Chinese assualt rifle, despite having said so. Except, it turns out, he didn’t actually say so.
Yes, I know, things just keep getting more and more odd at the Kerry campaign.
Apparantely, Outdoor Life asked this question of Senator Kerry through a written questionnaire. He apparantely delegated the response to these questions to his staff. And his staff apparantely made up an answer.
It’s hard to imagine that they’d have known the actual answer to this question. It isn’t the kind of thing you’d think would come up over a cup of coffee while on the campaign trail. So you’d think that they’d have had to ask Kerry himself for an answer.
But that would imply that Senator Kerry lied in answering the question, which noone is claiming.
Still, you have to wonder what his campaign staff was thinking in just making stuff up that would be treated as if the Senator himself had said it.
Or maybe they’re just taking the lead from Senator Kerry himself and are starting to waffle all on their own.
PoliPundit noted that the hoarse voice excuse was almost as creative as his “watery borders” Cambodia explanation.
My old friend Alan Gotlieb was on this more than a week ago:
“Senator Kerry,” Gottlieb demanded, “where’s the rifle? In which one of your mansions are you hiding that gun? Why should it be okay for you to have a Communist Chinese assault rifle when you think nobody else should have one? And if you don’t have one, why would you intimate to Outdoor Life that you do?
Kimberly Strassel’s excellent piece on Kerry’s hapless pandering on guns is here. Jodi Wilgoren, take notes.
Update: Readers weigh in…
This would almost certainly be the Mosin-Nagant Model 91/30, which was first issued by the Imperial Russian Army in 1891. It is a very reliable, powerful and accurate bolt-action rifle with a five-round magazine built in. It fires a 7.62 x 54 mm cartridge whose bullet flies out at a velocity of 1/2 mile per second. There have probably been over 1 million of these guns made (from 1891 through 1945), and they are still available at a very reasonable – even cheap ($60-$75) price. Many of the surplus guns were indeed sent to Soviet allies like China and North Vietnam. Over 100,000 were made here in the USA by Remington (under contract from the Czarist government) during the WWI era. The gun was featured in the recent movie “Enemy at the Gates…”
I find that very strange that a military weapon would NOT have a make or model number. Not being a weapons expert (I do know somethings about military weapons due to my 22 years connected to the US Military, my knowledge of China, and my knowledge of the marking of manufactured goods), I attempted to research the issue. I can not find even one example of a Chinese or other nationality military issued rifle without some marking.
It does not make sense. Due to the variety of ammunition available, it would be paramount to have a military weapon with the appropriate markings to avoid the potentially dangerous situation of using the wrong ammunition!
Update II: Nathan at Brain Fertilizer offers his two cents…
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You included a discussion by one of your readers assuming that the rifle in question was probably the Chinese version of the Moison-Nagant M91/30. That is most likely incorrect. First of all, there was a Chinese “assault” rifle in use at that time, and it was known to be exported to North Vietnam. This is the Chinese version of the SKS, the Type 56.
However, the line that the rifles were “originally manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago” does lead in the direction your reader went, but the Chinese never used the M91/30 in any quantity I can discover. The experiences of the Soviet Union led them to produce a carbine version of the M91/30, the M38. Possessing a conscript Army and often short on ammunition led them to add a permanently-attached bayonet to the carbine to make it the M44. This last version was licensed to China and produced as the Type 53 rifle. It saw extensive action in Viet Nam…
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