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ANOTHER KERRYISM

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 25, 2004 06:55 AM

This weekend the story was Kerry’s lies about what he did as an anti-war activist following the Vietnam war.

Last night it was Kerry’s lie about meeting all the members of the U.N. Security Council.

This morning I mentioned Kerry’s alarmist claim that 95 percent of cargo coming into the U.S. is uninspected.

Now Robert Novak brings us another Kerryism to add to the list: Kerry’s tendency to quote Richard Lugar, the conservative Republican Senator from Indiana, in support of his position(s) on the Iraq war (“Kerry’s Republican friend“).

It is true that Lugar criticized the Bush Administration’s management of reconstruction efforts in Iraq. So this Kerryism isn’t a complete fabrication. On the other hand, Lugar remains a strong Bush supporter and continues to support Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. Novak explains:

Kerry’s campaign attempts to avoid the liberal stigma and assume a bipartisan image. In doing so, he implies support from such Republicans as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Chuck Hagel — and Dick Lugar. That puts Lugar in an uncomfortable position of being used by the Democratic nominee for president.

Lugar, age 72 and ending his 28th year in the Senate, is no Republican heretic. Congressional Quarterly rates him as Bush’s most faithful Senate supporter at 99.2 percent (with 251 out of 253 votes). The National Journal rates him tied, along with 12 other senators, as the chamber’s most conservative member. He is Indiana co-chairman of the Bush re-election campaign and supports the Iraq war….

Lugar’s problem is one word: “incompetence.” He used that word in the Foreign Relations Committee when informed that only $1 billion of $18 billion appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction had been spent. Asked why on ABC’s “This Week” broadcast Sept. 19, Lugar repeated his verdict: “This is incompetence in the administration.” Lugar’s conclusion was correct but his wording injudicious.

Since then, quoting Lugar as critical of his own administration has become a staple of Kerry’s campaign oratory. On Oct. 9, the day after the second debate, Kerry cited Lugar twice in the same speech at Elyria, Ohio (“Dick Lugar stood up and said that the delivery of the way that it’s been administered by this administration has been incompetent.”)

Lugar is a gentleman of the old school, not inclined to call up Kerry and tell him to knock it off. Speaking Oct. 15 in Carmel, Ind., Lugar said it is “very, very unfortunate” that Kerry is “trying to stir up waters when we, in a very bipartisan way, on the Foreign Relations Committee support our troops.” In Culver, Ind., Oct. 17, he said: “It does infuriate all my friends, and they wish that somehow or other I could seize Sen. Kerry and tell him, ‘Don’t do it.'”

Lugar was more blunt with me last week. “The use of my remarks is an attempt to shore up a weak position on his [Kerry’s] part,” he told me, adding that Kerry “has tried to extend the failing of reconstruction to a more general criticism of the war.”

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