Nov. 02, 2006 – 4:38 PM

Press Blows Up the Kerry Story, Honest Debate Gets Smacked Down
Gal Beckerman
He left out a two-letter word, “us.” What he meant to say, what his prepared remarks have him saying is this: “Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.”
It’s almost impossible to believe that the omission of one tiny word could create such noise. But, as we all know by now, John Kerry’s “blundered joke” on Monday afternoon has ricocheted through the media many times over in the past two days, and, incredible as it seems, becoming a factor in next week’s midterm election.
The reason Kerry’s comment has passed before our eyes so many times–rather than, say, something of substance–is that Republicans, from Bush on down, gleefully took the misspoken words at face value, implying that somehow Kerry, a decorated veteran, hates the military, and repeated them over and over again. The vice president, truly outdoing himself, even managed to rehash one of the great laugh lines of 2004: “Senator Kerry said he was just making a joke and he botched it up. I guess we didn’t get the nuance. Actually, he was for the joke before he was against it.”

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