Monday, January 05, 2004

Dan Kennedy on the Edwards vs. Gephardt exchange in Iowa

I heard this on the radio yesterday and was impressed with John Edwards.
Gephardt was having a pretty good day, appearing more animated than usual and seeming to get more face time than most of the other candidates.

But then he mistakenly said that all of his opponents had voted for NAFTA and for free trade with China except Dennis Kucinich.

"Can I respond first to what was just said?" interjected Edwards. "Because it was very skillfully done; he lumped everybody together."

Note the little trick Edwards pulls here: Gephardt not only wronged me, but did it in a way that shows he's a skilled politician.

According to the transcript , Edwards continued:
First of all, I didn't vote for NAFTA. I campaigned against NAFTA. NAFTA passed before I got to the Congress, to the United States Senate.

And I might add, you could pick out any one vote of anybody on this stage - you [Gephardt], for example, voted for fast-track authority for Bush I that led to the passage of NAFTA.

So the point is - and I don't believe you're not for American workers; I do. I absolutely believe that. But I think you could take any one vote from any candidate and distort it. And we ought to tell the truth about this.
This is first-rate political gamesmanship on Edwards's part.
Nice reporting.

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