Wash. Post 's Neal distorted Kerry's support for Bush's Iraq war policies


On the August 31 edition of CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown, Washington Post chief political correspondent Terry Neal misrepresented Senator John Kerry's answer to President George W. Bush's public challenge to Kerry to state whether "knowing what we know now, he [Kerry] would have supported going into Iraq." Neal stated that Kerry said that he "would have done the same thing that George [W.] Bush did" regarding the Iraq war.

But that's not what Kerry said. Responding to Bush's challenge, Kerry said on August 9, "Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have." As an August 10 article in The Boston Globe noted, Kerry made a clear distinction between giving the president the authority to take action and the actual invasion of Iraq. Kerry sharply challenged the timing and manner in which Bush conducted the war:

[T]he Massachusetts senator said, "My question to President Bush is: Why did he rush to war without a plan to win the peace? Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth? Why did he mislead America about how he would go to war? Why has he not brought other countries to the table in order to support American troops in the way that we deserve it and relieve a pressure from the American people?"

From the August 31 edition of CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown:

NEAL: He [Kerry] said he would have done the same thing, even knowing what he knows now, he would have still made the decision to go to war in Iraq, or as he says to authorize the war, whatever the case.


He [Kerry] had a real opportunity to distinguish his leadership from George [W.] Bush's leadership on this issue of the war, but now he's taken what is probably the biggest issue off the table by saying that he would have done the same thing that George W. Bush did.

Neal's remarks echoed an August 11 Washington Times editorial, which also misrepresented Kerry's statement from August 9, as Media Matters for America previously documented.

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