U.S. News' Roger Simon likened Kerry to “French candidate” ; Limbaugh denied Bush's sensitivity

Radio host Rush Limbaugh latched onto a statement made on the August 15 edition of NBC's Meet the Press by Roger Simon, chief political correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, about Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) remark August 5 at the 2004 UNITY Conference for minority journalists that he would fight a “more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side.” Simon declared that "'[s]ensitive' is the kind of word a French candidate for president would use" and that Kerry “went one adjective too far in responding to that question.”

Limbaugh played Simon's remark several times on the August 16 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, saying at one point: “Now here comes this 'sensitive' comment, and even, you know, somebody ostensibly on the Kerry side of things compares the word 'sensitive' to the kind of word a 'French candidate' will use. That's not helpful, ladies and gentlemen. That's Kerry.”

Yet while Simon did go on to recognize that President George W. Bush has “used the same word in approximately the [same] context [as Kerry],” (while still maintaining that it was not damaging for him because only “John Kerry has been accused of being overly sensitive and overly nuanced” ), Limbaugh asserted that Bush had never used the word “sensitive” in the context of the war on terrorism.

From the August 16 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: But this business about “Bush uses the word 'sensitive' in the same context” is bogus. Bush never uses the word “sensitive.” If he had, people would be jumping all over him about it too, with -- I'm -- I'm not even familiar with Bush using the word “sensitive,” period, but if he has, he used it when he's talking about us being sensitive, as in aware of the threat that we face, not sensitive in execution of war.

You know, there's -- there's no -- it -- any -- you want to try to make the -- the point here that -- that Bush has used the word “sensitive” in the same context Kerry has is clearly misleading.

In fact, as Media Matters for America (citing the Center for American Progress in part) has previously documented, President Bush, as well as Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Attorney General John Ashcroft, have all used the word “sensitive” to describe foreign policy on numerous occasions and in a variety of contexts, including describing how America should fight the war on terrorism.

Limbaugh offered no support for his assertion that Simon is “somebody ostensibly on the Kerry side of things.”