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April 19, 2004
Kerry Flip-Flops Again, Readies His Petard

John Kerry, who yesterday told Tim Russert that his military records would be open for the press to review, apparently changed his mind in the proceeding 24 hours:

The day after John Kerry said he would make all his military records available for inspection at his campaign headquarters, a spokesman said the senator would not release any new documents, leaving undisclosed many of Kerry's evaluations by his Navy commanding officers, some medical records, and possibly other material.

This is what John Kerry said during his interview with Russert on yesterday's Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: The Boston Globe reports that your commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Grant Hibberd has suggested that you perhaps didn't earn your first Purple Heart and question whether you should have left Vietnam after six months. In order to deal with those kinds of issues, when I asked President Bush about his service in the Texas Guard, he agreed to release all his military records, health records, everything. Would you agree to release all your military records?

SEN. KERRY: I have. I've shown them--they're available to you to come and look at. I think that's a very unfair characterization by that person. I mean, politics is politics. The medical records show that I had shrapnel removed from my arm. We were in combat. We were in a very, very--probably one of the most frightening--if you ask anybody who was with me, the two guys who were with me, was probably the most frightening night that they had that they were in Vietnam and we're...

MR. RUSSERT: But you'll make all your records public.

SEN. KERRY: They are. People can come and see them at headquarters and take a look at them. I'm not going to--but I'll tell you this. I'm proud of my service. I'm proud of what we did. I know what happened. And the Navy 35 years ago made a decision and it's the Navy's decision and I think it was the right decision.

But now, the Kerry campaign sings a different tune. When a reporter showed up to review the records, apparently believing that Kerry meant what he said, Kerry's campaign manager refused to allow any access to them. The campaign spokesman, Michael Meehan, later said that no records other than those released to the Boston Globe -- not the comprehensive records Kerry told Russert he'd release -- would be made available to anyone.

This flip-flop is particularly egregious, since Kerry and his cronies hounded George Bush for weeks, insisting that he release his complete military records to prove he wasn't a deserter -- a charge for which none of them ever produced a single bit of evidence. Bush has released all of his records to the press after making the same promise to Russert on the same television show. Kerry, however, reneged with as little thought as he seems to give all of his policy shifts; he says what he thinks people want to hear but has no real attachment to his words.

This flip-flop did not escape the notice of the White House:

Bush this year released 300 pages of documents after media outlets raised new questions about the extent of his National Guard service. It was on "Meet the Press" that he agreed to do so.

White House communications director Dan Bartlett said Monday: "The president made a pledge before the American people, and he made his complete file available to the media and the public. ... The president lived up to his commitment he made to the public, and we should expect the same from his opponent."

Nothing about John Kerry's track record gives us any hope that he will live up to any of his commitments. However, a reversal on such a straightforward statement gives rise to some wonder about what he's afraid of making public. His refusal will only increase the curiosity about the files, and if there's something in them he doesn't want released, then he should have thought about that when his campaign and his party hounded his opponent with innuendo and slander into releasing his.

Shakespeare had Hamlet devise a plan to hoist Rosencrantz and Guildenstern upon their own petard; Kerry may be about to to the same thing to himself.

UPDATE: The Boston Globe reports on this story today as well.

UPDATE II: Big Trunk at Power Line (and yes, it's really Big Trunk) notes that Kerry is misunderstood: he's a political comedian! I'd just say he's a joke.

Sphere It political comedian! I'd just say he's a joke.&topic=politics"> Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 19, 2004 11:32 PM

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