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How Kerry Would’ve Reacted on 9/11

Someone commenting on another thread raised this issue, but it’s worth paying greater attention to. On August 5 John Kerry hammered the president for the way he reacted to 9/11. "Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whispered in my ear, ’America is under attack,’" he told reporters, "I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had something that he needed to attend to -- and I would have attended to it." This is something that filmmaker/gasbag Michael Moore attacked Bush for in "Fahrenheit 9/11," and it’s the subject of a screed by Bill Maher which is on Moore’s web site.

Fair enough, but if this is to be a campaign issue, it’s worth considering how Kerry reacted to the news that morning. Here’s what he told Larry King on July 8:

"I was in the Capitol. We’d just had a meeting -- we’d just come into a leadership meeting in Tom Daschle’s office, looking out at the Capitol. And as I came in, Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid were standing there, and we watched the second plane come in to the building. And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table and then we just realized nobody could think, and then boom, right behind us, we saw the cloud of explosion at the Pentagon."

Once again, we must ask which John Kerry we are to believe.

Discussions - 17 Comments

First off there’s a big difference in the way these two men watched 9/11 unfold, John Kerry was at the capitol watching this live, He was at work! George bush was in a classroom with 6 year olds, different pressures; also don’t you think a Senator with very little power over national security during a crises would feel a bit helpless? I’m not even a Senator and I did! The question asked of John Kerry by the reporter on the campaign trail was “IF YOU WERE IN THAT CLASSROOM WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?” not what were you doing on 9/11. (Twisting words to meet your agenda again neo cons?) And believe me, I would rather have a guy in the white house who can be honest and say, Yah, I was in shock about it, than a guy whom I know was and won’t admit it.

We can believe them both. First we have the John Kerry who can look back and come up with the perfect response. Of course if we could do that, Bill Clinton would have settled out of court with Paula Jones, GHW Bush would have gone to a supermarket and seen a scanner, and Jimmy Carter would have proped up the Shah of Iran.

Then we have the flesh and blood Kerry who in a weak moment admitted to having been paralzed for much longer than 7 minutes.

HA- Why must you be so shrill? Besides, the president acted appropriately, and Senator Kerry knows it. I too would rather have a guy be honest, rather than have him criticize someone else after the fact, taking his ques from somebody like Michael Moore.

Again, Kerry did not criticize bush for 9/11, he was responding to a direct but hypothetical question about what he would have done if he had been in THAT classroom THAT day.
What did you expect him to say?????????? What would you say if someone asked you the question like that?

Jim, help me out, where do you get the "much longer then seven minuets" statement from? I missed that. Is that the time between the second tower and the pentagon? I do agree that hindsight is 20/20 but you cannot use that argument unless John Kerry put the criticism out there himself, he did not, he responded to a direct and specific question asked of him about what he “thinks” he might have done.

Wasn’t Kerry on the Senate Intelligence Committee? Thats hardly being powerless. Unless you mean that he missed around 3/4 of those hearings. I guess that would be a self-induced powerlessness.

Rob, I said “little power over national security during a crises”, Also, no politician should spend so much time away from there duties, missing ¾ of the votes (please give us a link to confirm that fact) in the Intelligence committee is wrong.
That said where was George Bush on the Morning of 9/11? And who is the president that has taken the most vacations and the most time away in American history? Need I answer that question for you?

Kevin, I didn’t mean to be shrill; I was trying to point out that this debate is based on a misleading argument; I really do apologize if my tone offended you. But in my opinion the president did not act appropriately, or at least I can say, I would not have done it that way, that much I know.

Send the links of proof,HA. could you define Vacation? M. Moores website does not qualify.

HA, in response to your question in Comment 6, the time span here is between the second tower and the Pentagon, which was 9:03 AM to 9:43 AM. Kerry sat at the table and "couldn’t think" for at least 40 minutes. I do not think it is "twisting words" to say that this is no better than Bush’s response in the classroom, and is in fact quite a bit worse. Kerry was a senior member of the Intelligence Committee, and should have been able to react with something more than watching t.v.

Kevin; Charles Krauthammer, “A Vacation Bush Deserves,” The Washington Post, August 10, 2001. Also, It is not most but the longest, I stand corrected, George Bush has missed 42% of his presidency a lot admittedly, but possibly not the most, I cannot find that information. Moe; 40 minuets is a long time yes, but worse, no, they did not have the same responsibilities, so why would they think in the same manner, they were not in the same situation, so how dose it compare, apples and oranges?


Meet the Press on Sunday played the Bush campaign ad which argues that Kerry missed 76% of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearings. Neither Sen. Pat Roberts, the chairman of that committe, or Rep. Jane Harman (D) disputes that fact. All the hostess, Andrea Mitchell, says is that the Kerry campaign claims he attended private sessions off the record. Roberts declined to talk about that without the committee’s approval to release those private meetings. Meet the Press, Sunday August 15, 2004

Regarding Bush’s vacation time, please give us a link to that. Second, when Bush is at Camp David is he totally out of the loop? Is it impossible for him to do his job? Is he completely without communications equipment with which to get information and give orders? Or is still making decisions, still issuing orders, still being briefed by his aides? I think the latter is the more likely. Consider that Ronald Reagan, while visiting a family during his presidency, was able to use the vast resources available to him to raise on the telephone this family’s son who was onboard an aircraft carrier halfway around the world. Given the rapid advance in telecommunications even since then it is highly likely that it would be even easier for Bush to do his job while campaigning, or while at his ranch etc. When raising this issue, remember too that Kerry is a Senator and is missing MANY votes, if not a majority of them, to campaign for president.

One other point: Democrats like to "question the timing" of certain things the Republicans, or conservatives, or the Bush Administration does. Why aren’t they questioning the timing of Farenheit 9/11 upcoming relsease on DVD? It is due out in mid-October of this year, just in time for the election! Surely this timing is "suspicious," right?

The 42% vacation bit counts weekends. Even so, is he out of touch. He is at "work" wherever he goes.

I guess Kerry must think that the presidency would have imbued him with personal strengths to deal with the situation that he does not have as a senator. Horse hockey. We all ought to remember that the situation was not merely unexpected but by and large unimagined, or unbelieved if imagined. When I think of how people reacted, whether a president or a senator or an ordinary Jane or Joe, I am reminded of a dictum of the great psychologist/author Viktor Frankl: "An abnormal reaction in an abnormal situation is normal behavior." I think it makes a lot of sense for everybody to leave it at that.

With all due respect, this is about as stupid a debate as I’ve seen.

Kerry had two options when he was asked that question.

Knowing it was "Moore-inspired" (please, don’t try to debate this), he could:

A. Say (1) The seven minutes President Bush remained with the school children is hardly a proper subject for debate or criticism; (2) Point out that the issues which separate the two of them are far more substantive and serious than that; and (3) Assert that those issues, not "who did what for seven minutes" are what he’s going to campaign on.


B. Accept the invitation to take a cheap shot at the President and say something like "I sure wouldn’t have sat there for 7 minutes", either directly or by inference.

Kerry chose the latter course of action, which speaks volumes about his character.

The whole argument is inconsequential and superfluous.

I called the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Office and here’s what they told me. The closed sessions are classified and the records of the meetings are not available to the public. The meetings that are open, the staffer I spoke to said that there was no formal roll call or record of attendance. She said that the only way you’d know if someone attended was if you saw they made a comment in the records. The website lists the committee meeting for 2001-2004. From the beginning of 2001 until Sep 10, the Committee held 21 meetings. 20 we closed. So if someone is providing info on who attended the closed meetings, they are making public classified information.

Call yourself if you like:


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