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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Kerry’s remarks a ‘non-issue’ for some on campus

    A UA professor and members of campus political clubs said they think Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s recent remarks to California college students about getting “”stuck in Iraq”” will not change the pre-election political climate, though one club president disagrees.

    The former presidential candidate told students Monday that people who make the most of their education succeed, but those who don’t “”get stuck in Iraq.”” He apologized Wednesday, calling the comments “”a botched joke”” targeting President Bush.

    “”I think it could very well turn some close races next Tuesday,”” said Blake Rebling, president of the UA College Republicans. Although Rebling said Kerry’s remarks would have more impact on national races, it could sway the Giffords-Graf race in favor of Randy Graf.

    “”The Democrats claim to support the troops,”” said Rebling, a political science junior, but then Kerry made a “”crude joke about the men and women of the military.””

    I don’t think (Kerry) meant to imply that the military or its members are uneducated or don’t warrant our full support. I think it was a poorly articulated cheap shot at the president.
    – Byron Farley,
    president of the non-partisan Undergraduate Political Science Association

    “”I think it exposes the hypocrisy on the issue,”” he said.

    Some members of the UA Young Democrats said the comment won’t have a serious impact.

    “”It’s a non-issue,”” said Geoff Esposito, a political science sophomore and member of UAYD. “”Nobody’s going to change their minds because of what he said.””

    “”If anything, it helps (the Democrats) because it shifts the focus to Iraq,”” Esposito said. “”It makes people think about Iraq and the war and they remember, ‘Oh yeah, (the Republicans) got us into that.'””

    Kyle Gale, an economics junior and a member of UAYD, said the Republicans “”seem to really need something to talk about.””

    “”It would have been better if Kerry hadn’t said what he said, but it doesn’t change the fact of what’s going on in Iraq,”” Gale said.

    The effects of Kerry’s comments are “”virtually impossible to predict,”” said Hank Kenski, an associate professor of communication and political science. But the effects will be minimal if there are any at all, he said.

    The issues of Iraq, health care and immigration will drive the average voter, Kenski said.

    “”It was kind of short-lived,”” he said.

    Kerry has made two apologies and has stopped campaigning for Democratic candidates .

    Kerry immediately returned to Washington because “”Bush was making it an issue,”” Kenski said.

    Since the remark, Kerry has canceled his scheduled appearances.

    “”In many cases, he was dis-invited,”” Kenski said.

    If Kerry had proceeded with his schedule, there could have been some impact on current political races, Kenski said.

    Byron Farley, president of the nonpartisan Undergraduate Political Science Association, said the comments were misconstrued.

    “”I don’t think (Kerry) meant to imply that the military or its members are uneducated or don’t warrant our full support,”” Farley said. “”I think it was a poorly articulated cheap shot at the president.””

    When asked about Kerry’s explanation of his remarks as a botched joke, Rebling said, “”I think that’s complete, euphemistically speaking, baloney. It would be impossible to screw something like that up.””

    Kenski said an important point to consider is whether the remarks will have an impact on Kerry’s potential presidential bid.

    “”Some pundits say this could do him in. It was a big enough faux pas,”” Kenski said.

    Jonathon Gable, a Democrat and pre-business sophomore, said voters should pick candidates based on who best represents the issues they believe are important.

    “”He put his foot in his mouth,”” Gable said. “”But a shift from the issues isn’t what’s needed right now.””

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