Senator John F. Kerry's recent call in a blistering speech against President Bush for a "regime change" in the United States, as well as in Iraq, was a quip that Republican leaders have used to assail his patriotism, Kerry said yesterday...."When I fought in Vietnam and fought for my country, I didn't give up my right to make quips and to participate in the debate," said Kerry. -- The Boston Globe, 4/30/03
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry today continued to make what he calls, "the first freedom: Americans' sacred right to quip," the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. In an apparent take on Ronald Reagan's "It's Morning in America," Kerry in Nashua, New Hampshire, today unveiled his new "Mocking in America" campaign slogan. Kerry then further staked his claim as the wittiest and most wisecracking of the Dem hopefuls. "I saw a lot of action during my time in Vietnam, not to mention a lot of ribbing, razzing, japes, jests, joshing and plain old-fashioned American banter, as was our right under the U.S. Constitution. And I'm not just talking about 'Your mama's so fat' jokes; there was a lot of Noel Cowardesque wordplay and I was proud to exercise my rights and engage in all of it."
While taking questions from reporters, Kerry promised more zingers as funny and exquisitely timed as his celebrated "regime change" comment. Referencing President Bush's recent military jet flight to make an address aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, Kerry insists he's working on something along the lines of "Air Force One, Air Force Pun." "Obviously, it's still a work in progress," he insists.
What about a proposed Equal Repartee Amendment to further enshrine the right to quip as the established law of the land? "Well, we have a right to bear arms so why not a right to bon mot? When I fought in Vietnam, I didn't just fight for the wittiest of Americans but for the witty and 'differently witty' alike."
In response to a question about his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the Senator unleashes another rimshot. "As you all know, after a Bush adviser said I looked 'French,' my wife defended me in a series of rambling remarks. Well, we took her to a doctor and it turns out she has Tourette's syndrome. And here's the bad news: it's a condition that was first discovered by a French guy!" In response to the silence, Kerry insists, "This is the A-material, folks."
Kerry's new found love of badinage had surfaced over the weekend during the Democratic debate in South Carolina. Attacking Howard Dean for his comment that America might someday not have the world's strongest military, Kerry added, "Governor Dean is also a physician and this shows a more unflattering side to him than one of those hospital gowns that stays open in the back." Dean gamely tried to counter Kerry, interjecting at one point that, with his haircut, Kerry "shouldn't be running for president. He should running for the title of Fifth Beatle." But Kerry was in his element, apologizing to the crowd that he and Dean had engaged in a round of "throwing elbows" and then adding, "Of course, in a replay of an event from my past, the elbows I threw away weren't mine: they actually belonged to another Vietnam vet. Thank you! You've been great!"