Will Media Report Kerry’s History of Revising What is ‘Misinterpreted’?

November 3rd, 2006 10:21 AM

In an effort to resolve the recent brouhaha surrounding statements John Kerry made at a campaign stop in Pasadena, California, Monday, the junior senator from Massachusetts released a statement on Wednesday declaring, “I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted.” This is not the first time in Kerry’s career that he has used this excuse. Will the media report it?

As reported by the Boston Globe on June 19, 2003, during Kerry’s first run for the Senate in 1984, he revised answers to a questionnaire that he had filled out for a nuclear disarmament group called Freeze Voter ’84. Kerry had been outscored in this questionnaire by his opponent, Rep. James M. Shannon, seriously threatening his primary run. As a result, Kerry’s campaign manager at the time sent him a memo asking him to “explain how [his] position was misinterpreted.” As the Globe reported, this alteration and explanation likely saved his campaign (emphasis mine throughout):

Then a strange thing happened. Paul F. Walker, Shannon's most prominent backer on the group's executive committee, graded the answers and laid out for Kerry campaign manager Paul L. Rosenberg both the flaws in Kerry's responses and what the "correct" answers should be.

"Walker was confused about your answer" on funding the Trident submarine, Rosenberg wrote in an internal memo to Kerry, who had originally hedged in his opposition to funding new subs.

"It is critically important that we get a 100 percent rating," Rosenberg wrote, in a memo that has not previously been made public. "You should explain how your position was misinterpreted so that he will correct the rating before it is distributed to the board tomorrow evening."

Here is the actual May 23, 1984, memo from Rosenberg to Kerry explaining how he needed to alter his answers to win the primary. As the Globe reported, this was the key to Kerry beating Shannon:

Kerry revised his answers, tied Shannon with a perfect score, and at the activists' meeting in late June denied Shannon the 60 percent majority he needed to secure the endorsement for himself. Instead, Shannon and Kerry shared the group's stamp of approval in the primary field that also included then-secretary of state Michael J. Connolly and former House speaker David M. Bartley.

Of course, the rest is history, as Kerry ended up winning the primary, and won the Senate seat that November. Will the media report this now that Sen. Kerry is contending that he “botched” the joke written for his speech in Pasadena, California, while his aides disseminate the text of what he was supposed to say on Monday?