Kerry apologises for Iraq joke

John Kerry, the US Democratic senator and former presidential candidate, has apologised for a "botched joke" about George Bush's Iraq policies.

    Kerry says the White House has twisted his words

    "Of course I'm sorry about a botched joke. You think I love botched jokes?" Kerry said during an appearance on a US radio programme.

     

    "I mean, you know, it's pretty stupid."

     

    Kerry, who lost the 2004 presidential election to Bush, on Tuesday also cancelled several appearances he was to make with other Democrats this week ahead of the country's mid-term elections on November 7.

     

    The political furore erupted following Kerry's speech to a group of California students on Monday in which he said people who do not study hard and do their homework would likely "get stuck in Iraq".

     

    Kerry's aides later said he fumbled the delivery of a line aimed at Bush which was originally written to say "you end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq".

     

    'Smear and fear'

     

    Kerry has since said he meant no offense to troops, countering that the White House had twisted his words and that Bush owed the troops an apology for a misguided war in Iraq.

     

    "He's insisting on pointing fingers at the president - just say you're sorry, it's not hard"

    Tony Snow,
    White House spokesman

    "I'm sorry that that's happened," he said of his comment, "but I'm not going to stand back from the reality here, which is, they're trying to change the subject.

     

    "It's their campaign of smear and fear."

     

    However, Republicans seized on the remark, saying Kerry had insulted US troops, with George Bush, the president, calling it "insulting and shameful".

     

    Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, said that Kerry should say sorry.

     

    "He's insisting on pointing fingers at the president. Just say you're sorry. It's not hard," he said.

     

    Democrat unease

     

    Several Democrats have since distanced themselves from Kerry's remarks.

     

    "Whatever the intent, Senator Kerry was wrong to say what he said," said Democratic congressman Harold Ford Jr, running for the Senate in Tennessee.

     

    But others accused the Republicans of electioneering ahead of the mid-terms.

     

    "Instead of going on television attacking John Kerry and everyone else under the sun, the president ought to be sitting at his desk coming up with a plan for Iraq," said Senator Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic campaign effort.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months