How Kerry came up with bin Laden line: Cable news

September 10, 2012

“Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) declared at last week's Democratic convention -- a surprisingly sharp line from the 2004 nominee.

According to the Boston Globe, Kerry was inspired that day by watching Democrats on cable news fail to answer the "are you better off" question.:

“Kerry said out loud, ‘Come on, were we better off losing 700,000 jobs a month? Were we better off in Iraq, and with Osama bin Laden trying to kills us?’” the operative added.

“It triggered a thought that he wanted to encapsulate in his speech as an argument - to take it head-on. He started writing different variations in shorthand on his legal pad. Soon enough, he had the bin Laden line. 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Rachel Weiner · September 10, 2012