Politics & Policy

Kerry’s Radio Silence

When will the presidential candidate meet the press?

Senator John Kerry has gone more than a month without a press conference. His unavailability coincides with the onset of the Swift-boat ads. Before rendering himself unavailable, Kerry had often criticized the president for conducting too few press conferences. On August 3, Kerry stated, “I have a plan that I’m going to have a press conference at least once a month to talk to the nation about what I’m doing because I don’t have anything to hide.” Perhaps the press-conference plan was the wrong one at the wrong time in the wrong place, or maybe knowing what he knows now Kerry has concluded that the plan needs more nuance. But whatever the reason for his change of heart, the fact remains that Kerry’s protracted refusal to answer questions gives voters every reason to infer that he has much to hide, even beyond the myriad questions that have been raised by the Swifties.

For example, the war in Iraq is one of the central issues in the campaign. Senator Kerry told George Stephanopoulos just a short time ago that he has a plan to get American troops out of Iraq, but he refuses to divulge the particulars. In essence, Kerry is asking the American people to vote for him blindly, without any assurance that his secret plan is any more credible than his one-time support for a nuclear freeze.

Kerry has made his Vietnam service the chief reason for voting for him as commander-in-chief. Yet he refuses to release his service records or his Vietnam journal, items that could lend significant support to his claim of being a competent wartime leader.

Kerry also won’t permit release of his attendance records for classified briefings of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Someone who repeatedly criticizes the administration for intelligence failings should enthusiastically embrace an opportunity to demonstrate how seriously he takes matters of intelligence.

One of the keys to Kerry’s approach to the war on terrorism is his contention that he wouldn’t go it alone–that he has the stature and diplomatic skills to convince other world leaders to join any U.S.-led coalition. Yet Kerry refuses to name the foreign leaders who he asserts have secretly told him that they want him to win the election.

The senator has also been silent about his 1971 meetings in Paris with the Viet Cong. He won’t talk about his presence at the infamous 1971 Kansas City meeting of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. And he barely mentions his 20 years in the Senate.

The list goes on and on–secret tax returns, medical files, diplomatic missions, and hats. Senator Kerry is applying for the most powerful job in world. He needs to be interviewed by the media to prove that he’s up to the task.

Peter Kirsanow frequently writes for NRO.


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