At a time in the political calendar when the out-of-power primary season usually is just heating up, Sen. John Kerry already seems like an old story. His nomination as the Democrats’ choice to carry the party’s banner against George W. Bush in November is now inevitable, as perhaps it always was. But while it lasted, the nine-person intraparty scrum was both enlightening and entertaining–and worthy of one nostalgic look back. Dem-ologists, sharpen your pens for the 2004 primary quiz:
1. When former Vice President Gore endorsed Howard Dean, he called on the other Democrats in the race to:
a) Refrain from attacking each other–and save their rhetorical fire for Bush.
b) Follow Dean’s “courageous” lead in eschewing federal matching funds.
c) Quit the race themselves and support the former Vermont governor.
d) Still consider appointing him, Al Gore, Secretary of State, in the event they, and not Dean, made it to the White House.
2. The media coverage of Gore’s endorsement of Dean included the following characterization of this event in a front-page New York Times story:
a) It “rocked the Democratic field.”
b) “Hastened Dr. Dean’s evolution from a long-shot maverick to a leading candidate of the Democratic establishment.”
c) “Stunned Democrats and emboldened the Dean campaign.”
d) Signaled to one top union official “the beginning of the end for the other candidates.”
e) All of the above.
3. After irking John McCain by saying of the killings of Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qussay, “In general, the ends to not justify the means,” Dean’s damage control consisted of:
a) Telling the Times he wasn’t quoted fully and that, in his original answer, Dean had added: “But in this case, I’m glad Hussein’s scumbag sons bought the farm.”
b) Lashing out at McCain for interfering in a Democratic-party primary “by implying that I go around quoting Karl Marx.”
c) Replying that this issue was “a typical, inside-the-Beltway folderol.”
d) Calling McCain’s account an “urban rumor” while flatly insisting that he’d “never said any such thing.”
4. Asked by well-known New York television journalist Gabe Pressman whether the Tawana Brawley case hurt his credibility as a presidential candidate, the Rev. Al Sharpton replied:
a) “Absolutely not!”
b) “Et tu, Gabe?”
c) “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Is Bush without sin?”
d) “Maybe a little bit with Iowa swing voters, who, because of the climate of where they live, are perhaps not as conversant with the daily fact of racism.”
5. When Michael Moore termed President Bush a Vietnam-era “deserter” while endorsing former general Wesley K. Clark, Clark later parried reporters’ questions about whether Moore reflected his own views with the following response:
a) Asserted that Michael Moore was a dear friend, but undisciplined, adding that in the Army, he’d have made Moore run “10 miles a day” until he was no longer fat.
b) Saluted the journalist who asked the question and said, “With all due respect, sir, it’s a free country, and I’m not going let you or George W. Bush or John Ashcroft question the patriotism of my supporters.”
c) Replied that the journalists who asked about it in a January 22 debate in Manchester, N.H., were “part of a Republican-party agenda.”
d) Giggled audibly before saying Moore “sometimes gets ahead of himself” but that character assassination “is not what this campaign is about…it’s about jobs, education, tax cuts for the rich, and a fictional war fought under fictional pretenses…”
6. Clark was asked by former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos of ABC to respond to 2002 New Hampshire congressional candidate Katrina Swett’s assertion that Clark advised her to say she would have voted in favor of the Iraq war resolution that the general was going around New Hampshire denouncing. Clark answered:
a) “It depends on what the ‘the’ is, George.”
b) That he himself would have voted in favor of the resolution, but only to give Bush “leverage” at the U.N.
c) Suggested that his real problem with the measure was that Congress only got to vote once–and should gotten a do-over when it was clear Bush was serious.
d) “Well, you know, all I can tell you is that I think I have been clear. I think my record speaks for itself.”
e) all of the above.
7. When Democratic National Committee chairman Terence McAuliffe pronounced George Bush “AWOL” from his Air National Guard unit during the Vietnam War, Kerry:
a) Called these remarks, “Fair comment…exactly what the lying, crooked Republicans deserve for the vile things they said about Bill Clinton’s draft record.”
b) Took issue with McAuliffe, saying, “This is precisely the kind of talk I objected to in 1992–and long before that time.”
c) Equated service in the National Guard during the Vietnam era with “going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector…”
d) Laughed ruefully and told reporters, “Here’s a perfect illustration of why I’m dumping Terry as DNC chair before we even get to the convention in Boston.”
8. In November the twice-divorced Dennis Kucinich announced lightheartedly that he intended to use his campaign to find a future first lady. Which glitch developed?
a) Liberalhearts.com announced a nationwide search, but no women responded, only a couple of men.
b) Eighty women (and no men) did respond, but the lady selected in an online poll offended the candidate, who is a vegan, by ordering steak and eggs for breakfast.
c) Actually, the woman chosen was a vegan, who ordered oatmeal and orange juice at their breakfast, but, alas she turned out to be a Republican.
d) She was a Democrat but had a live-in boyfriend in New Jersey.
9. When Teresa Heinz Kerry told a crowd of bundled-up Iowans on the frigid Des Moines state fairgrounds that “she felt very at home in Iowa” because “it’s almost like where I grew up,” she was referring to her childhood in:
a) South Dakota.
b) South Boston.
10. In New Mexico–in the waning days of his campaign–which of the following did Wes Clark tell the crowd at the National Hispanic Culture Center in Albuquerque?
a) “If y’all ever come to Arkansas, ’Mi casa es su casa.’”
b) “Mi casa será la casa blanca!”
c) “It’s gonna take one tough hombre (to defeat Bush) and I am one tough hombre…”
d) “Esto es un robo.”
11. One day before Clark endorsed Kerry, blogger Matt Drudge claimed that Clark had been peddling rumors about Kerry’s sex life. (Earlier General Clark had dismissed Kerry as being only “a lieutenant” in the Navy.) When Clark threw his support behind Kerry, the general sidestepped his earlier slights by saying which of the following:
a) “I will do everything I can to help when the Republican Mean Machine cranks up their attacks.”
b) “John Kerry will stand up to the Republican attack dogs and send them home licking their wounds.”
c) “I will work with you to do everything I can to help you take back the White House for its rightful owners…”
d) “The Army has come on board!”
e) All of the above.
12. When Kerry, 60, sought to show the disparity between his level of experience and that of John Edwards, 50, Kerry employed what colorful imagery?
a) Told a gathering of San Francisco liberals, “When I stood up in the Senate against the Reagan administration’s illegal war in Nicaragua, I don’t know if John Edwards was out of law school chasing ambulances yet.”
b) Said to a group of Boston Democrats, “When I served as Michael Dukakis’s lieutenant governor I don’t know if John Edwards had kissed his first girl.”
c) Intoned at a New Hampshire Jackson-Jefferson Dinner, “When I was testifying against the Vietnam War in 1972, I don’t know if John Edwards was even playing Little League baseball.”
d) Quipped to Iowa Democrats, “When I came back from Vietnam in 1969, I don’t know if John Edwards was out of diapers.”
e) Told the editorial board of the Boston Globe, “When I left Yale and volunteered to serve this country’s military I don’t know if John Edwards was even born.”
13. In a debate before the New York primary, Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times cited a new survey identifying Kerry as having the most liberal voting record in the Senate. The survey was done by National Journal, which Bumiller (quite correctly) characterized as “a respected, non-ideological” publication. Kerry’s defense consisted of which of the following:
a) Dismissing the survey’s conclusion as “a laughable characterization… absolutely the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in my life.”
b) Saying the voting guide was skewed because he’d been absent (without leave?) from Capitol Hill for 25 of the 67 votes tabulated by the magazine.
c) Insisting that various votes against deficit spending and for Bill Clinton’s COPS program suggested he, not Bush, was the true conservative.
d) Replied, “Since when is liberal a dirty word? I’m proud of my record.”
14. When George W. Bush called Kerry to congratulate him for clinching the Democratic nomination, the Massachusetts senator responded by telling his supporters moments later:
a) “You know, politics ain’t beanbag, but I just got off the phone with President Bush, and on a personal basis, he ain’t such a bad guy.”
b) “It’s important to remember that our nation is at war and George W. Bush is the commander-in-chief–no matter what our disagreements with him.”
c) “I know all of you want to defeat George Bush in November–no one wants it more than I do–but at times like these we need to appreciate that in a democracy we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable.”
d) “The Bush administration has run the most inept, reckless, arrogant and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country, and we will reverse that course.”
ANSWERS: 1) c; 2) e; 3) d; 4) a; 5) c; 6) e; 7) c; 8) d; 9) d; 10) c; 11) e; 12) d; 13) a, b & c; 14) d
–Carl Cannon covers the White House for National Journal, a nonpartisan, Washington-based weekly magazine on politics and government.