Kerry's Intelligence Deficiency - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Kerry’s Intelligence Deficiency

While reporters have made much of Sen. John Kerry‘s decision to pass up a security and intelligence briefing and instead prep for a political fundraiser in New York, it hasn’t been the first time, according to sources at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Senate Intelligence Committee. In fact, Kerry hasn’t been taking regular intelligence briefings for weeks.

“He’s just not taking them. They have been offered by the Administration, we’ve offered, given everything that is going on,” says an Intelligence Committee staffer. “But his campaign hasn’t expressed any interest. I don’t know how many he has had, but I bet it’s fewer than one a week. And it’s not like he is ever here.” President Bush is known to take at least one formal intelligence briefing in the morning, with additional meetings during the day as needed.

Last week Kerry declined an intelligence briefing on the day that Homeland Security officials briefed both the House and the Senate on possible terrorist threats. Kerry, in New York for a fundraiser, passed up a full briefing, and instead had a shave and trim of his silver mane of hair he was so proud of when he boasted on Tuesday that he and his new prospective running mate, Sen. John Edwards, had better hair than their Republican opponents.

“If we’re talking about the same intelligence that got us into this war in Iraq, why would we listen to them?” asks a Kerry campaign source. “The Senator has his own intelligence and security advisers who brief him regularly. This is just more political gamesmanship, and we aren’t going to play.”

The Bush presidential campaign, feeling secure in polling numbers that show that the president holds a strong 91 percent hold on his Republican base, is looking for ways to reach out to the moderates and undecideds the campaign will need in order to make a serious run in some of the swing states.

To that end, campaign advisers are looking for ways they can persuade California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger to travel beyond the Golden State’s borders for some campaign stops in the Midwest. “Michigan, Wisconsin would be target states for him,” says a campaign source. “Maybe even Pennsylvania. If Arlen Specter can be a star in that state, then you can imagine what Governor Schwarzenegger would be.”

Trouble is, Schwarzenegger has indicated he won’t spend time tubthumping for the president, beyond his headlining role in New York at the convention. “It’s one thing for him to be pictured in some other state standing next to the President. It’s another for him to be there on his own, touting Republican values. We think he can do that. When it come time in September, he’s going to want to be out there helping the party,” says the adviser.

The same theory holds for the Southwest, where Sen. John McCain is expected to help Bush hold Arizona and Nevada. McCain is increasingly taking on a higher profile role in the campaign, to the point that Washington is again abuzz with “dump Cheney for McCain” talk.

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