Election 2004: Bush-Cheney Campaign on Kerry VP Pick
Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Spokesman
Tuesday, July 6, 2004; 2:00 PM
Sen. John F. Kerry has selected Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina as his vice presidential running mate.
Scott Stanzel, campaign spokesman for Bush-Cheney '04, discussed Kerry's choice, Sen. Edwards and the 2004 election.
The transcript follows.
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Scott Stanzel: Good afternoon everyone! I'm happy to take your questions. Be sure to check out www.georgewbush.com for all of the latest campaign updates from Bush-Cheney '04.
What is your general impression of Kerry's pick? Do you think Edwards will help, hurt or have no effect on Kerry's campaign?
Scott Stanzel: We look forward to the spirited debate with the Kerry-Edwards ticket. As the 1st and 4th most liberal members of the United States Senate, Kerry and Edwards are out of the mainstream -- not only of the country, but of their own party. They both agree on key issues -- they favor higher taxes, oppose Medicare reform and both voted against funding for our troops after initially supporting the war in Iraq.
While the south will still generally support Bush this November, doesn't the naming of Edwards force Bush to spend time and money to shore up states that might waver with Edwards on the ticket. North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia are all states where Edwards holds considerable popularity.
Scott Stanzel: That may have been a political calculation of John Kerry (he did poll-test all of his top choices), but I don't think John Edwards shares the values of mainstream voters in the South. He voted against the tax relief for families. As a personal injury trial lawyer, he opposes common sense medical liablity reform that would lower health care costs significantly. And, he opposes the ban on partial birth abortion.
Will the Bush team be choosing a different Vice Presidential nominee to re-energize the ticket?
Scott Stanzel: Senator Kerry? Is that you?
I'm sure John Kerry and John Edwards would like someone else to be our nominee, but Vice President Cheney is an incredible asset to the re-election effort. He is an articulate and credible spokesman for the Bush-Cheney record of accomplishment. His experience and sound judgement provide a great contrast to John Edwards. John Kerry himself questioned Edwards' lack of experience just months ago saying that now is "not the time for on-the-job training."
Was this just another flip-flop on Kerry's part? Didn't Edwards and Kerry attack each other all through the primaries? How can he get away with this?
Scott Stanzel: Many reporters are already pointing out how this is John Kerry's ultimate flip flop. John Kerry said he'd chose someone who could step in as President, but he picked the one guy he said was too inexperienced to do the job.
Here's what Kerry said:
Kerry: "When I Came Back From Vietnam In 1969 I Don't Know If John Edwards Was Out Of Diapers Then." "?In the Senate four years - and that is the full extent of public life - no international experience, no military experience, you can imagine what the advertising is going to be next year,' Mr. Kerry said. With a grin, he added: ?When I came back from Vietnam in 1969 I don't know if John Edwards was out of diapers then. Well, I'm sure he was out of diapers.'" (Adam Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg, "With Hopes Up And Elbows Out, Democrats Give Iowa Their All," The New York Times, 1/19/04)
Kerry Attacked Edwards' Experience. "?I think the American people want an experienced hand at the helm of state,' said Kerry, who has spent 19 years in the Senate compared with Edwards' five. ?This is not the time for on-the-job training in the White House on national security issues.'" (Mark Z. Barabak, "Diverse States May Reshape The Democratic Race Today," Los Angeles Times, 2/3/04)
Good afternoon, Mr. Stanzel. My question to you is, with Vice President Cheney's popularity dropping and voter confidence in the him all but absent, what points do you plan on using to compare and contrast Mr. Cheney with the better liked John Edwards.
Thank you for your time.
Scott Stanzel: I'd have to disagree with the premise of your question. Vice President Cheney has nearly identical approval ratings to John Kerry, based on the very latest National Annenberg Study (taken July 1-5). Vice President is a substantive leader and a man of integrity. We look forward to that debate.
Lauch Faircloth tried to make an issue of Edwards' work as a trial lawyer, but it didn't work. How will your team succeed?
Scott Stanzel: The background and experience of all of the candidates will certainly be scrutinized during the course of the campaign. Voters will make a decision based on those records and the very different views of where this country should go. President Bush and Vice President Cheney want to continue to strengthen the economy and fight the war on terror. John Kerry and John Edwards want to take the country back to a time of higher taxes and they'd take us back to a pre-9/11 stance where terrorist acts are dealt with as a law enforcement acts, not military ones.
Scott Stanzel: Thanks for all of your questions. I'm sorry I couldn't get to them all. I hope everyone will stop by our web site today to check out the new television ad featuring Senator McCain.
Only 118 days to until Election Day!
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