Friedman: Democrats "voted with their nose plugged" for Gore and Kerry
On the December 17 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman asserted that Democrats "voted with their nose plugged" in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, and he demonstrated this for host Tim Russert by holding his nose while pantomiming votes for the Democratic nominees, former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA). Friedman added that "Democrats are starved, just as [New York Times columnist] David [Brooks] said, to vote for someone they're excited about," during a discussion about the potential presidential candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
From the December 17 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press:
RUSSERT: It's an interesting time, Tom Friedman, and we have a lot of candidates out there. Barack Obama in 2002 came out against the war in Iraq. Said if he was a senator, he wouldn't vote for it. [Sen.] John McCain [R-AZ], on the other hand, saying we need more troops and has been saying that for years. How big of an issue is Iraq going to be in this 2008 campaign? And do you need national security experience to play on that presidential stage? Beyond what Mr. Obama has?
FRIEDMAN: I think you need judgment more than experience. I think, if anything, the experience of the last six years has proven that, Tim. But I want to pick up on David's point, because I think Obama is such a powerful candidate for a couple of reasons. David and I were talking about them earlier. One is that I believe Democrats voted in the last two elections like this, Tim. [Plugs nose] "Al Gore." [Plugs nose] "John Kerry." They voted with their nose plugged -- basically.
Democrats are starved, just as David said, to vote for someone they're excited about. But the second thing, and I so agree with David, is just that Barama's -- Barack Obama's great strength right now is the country is so tired of being divided -- deliberately divided, OK, by [White House senior adviser] Karl Rove. They are so tired of that. They want to be unified. They understand the need -- the problems we face now, from Social Security to Iraq, can't be solved without some kind of national unity. And I think his strongest case, basically, is that he really presents himself as a unifier and not a divider.