Revenge is sweet as Kerry roasts Romney

2012-09-07 10:08

Charlotte - John Kerry on Thursday lampooned Mitt Romney as a blooper reel Republican too weak to be US commander-in-chief, taking sweet revenge for his own sunken White House dreams.

Senator Kerry used the same arguments that Republicans used against him when he was Democrat nominee in 2004, namely that he was vacillating and clueless, and not fit for the Oval Office.

"Ask Osama bin Laden if he's better off than he was four years ago," Kerry said as he rocked the Democratic National Convention, twisting a phrase used by Romney in an economic attack to laud President Barack Obama as a steely leader.

Kerry pitilessly mocked Romney's error-strewn trip to Europe and Israel earlier this year which had been designed to show the Republican nominee was ready to strut the global stage.

"President Mitt Romney - three hypothetical words that mystified and alienated our allies this summer," Kerry said.

"For Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over yourself overseas. It wasn't a goodwill mission - it was a blooper reel."


Firing off another zinger, Kerry ripped Romney for his "preposterous notion that Russia is our 'number one geopolitical foe'."

"Folks: Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska; Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV."

The fact that Kerry, who may have been auditioning for a role as Obama's next secretary of state, was chosen to fete Obama as a war leader was not without irony given the pasting he took from George W Bush eight years ago.

Bush ran a ruthless campaign based on his own national security credentials, exploiting America's still palpable feelings of fear after the homeland was attacked on 11 September 2001.

An outside group also savaged Kerry's war record as the commander of a naval Swift Boat in Vietnam but he also contributed to his own political demise.

He so muddled his position on a war spending bill, saying "I actually did vote for the $87bn before I voted against it," that Bush was able to paint him as a vacillator unsuitable to be president in a time of war.

'Expedient candidate'

Kerry clearly still nurses the hurt and accused Romney, a fellow resident of Massachusetts, of repeatedly reversing himself on Afghanistan and Iraq, and on the US role in the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.

"Talk about being for it before you were against it!" he roared.

"Mr Romney - here's a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!"

Kerry praised Obama as a president who ended the Iraq war, restored US moral authority, banned torture, cutting nuclear arms and promised to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly, and compared him to Romney and running mate Paul Ryan.

"So on one side of this campaign, we have a president who has made America lead like America again.

"What is there on the other side? An extreme and expedient candidate, who lacks the judgment and vision so vital in the Oval Office.

Electrifying speech

"The most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades."

In a different political universe, Kerry might have been capping a second White House term and anointing a successor but fate had other plans for him and the man he endorsed on Thursday.

In 2004, Kerry chose the then unknown Illinois state lawmaker Obama to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic Party convention in Boston.

Obama obliged by firing off one of the most electrifying convention speeches in history, rocketing into the political stratosphere, and positioning himself for his eventual presidential election coup in 2008.

But for 120 000 or so votes in Ohio, the margin which re-elected Bush, Kerry would have been president, denying his protégé the chance to run in 2008 as the Democratic ticket would never been open.

In fact, Obama may have been showing up in Charlotte as a senator with seven years under his belt, and accepting his party's nomination for a tilt at the White House rather than a grizzled commander-in-chief seeking a second term.

Kerry is said to covet the post of secretary of state in a second term after the planned retirement of Hillary Clinton, and such buzz will hardly be stilled by his vigorous defence of Obama on Thursday.

Another possible pick for the post should Obama win re-election in November is US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, a member of his inner circle for years.