[FoRK] Stupid Republican Windbags, or, Cthulhu's Man On The Inside

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Mon Sep 20 08:10:56 PDT 2004

Hastert -> Hastur -> elder god, wind demon from the Cthulhu mythos...


Hastert's al Qaeda comment draws fire
Idea that terrorists want Kerry to win called 'silly,' 'disgraceful'


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Top Democrats slapped back Sunday at a remark by 
House Speaker Dennis Hastert that al Qaeda leaders want Sen. John Kerry 
to beat President Bush in November.

At a campaign rally Saturday in his Illinois district with Vice 
President Dick Cheney, Hastert said al Qaeda "would like to influence 
this election" with an attack similar to the train bombings in Madrid 
days before the Spanish national election in March.

When a reporter asked Hastert if he thought al Qaeda would operate with 
more comfort if Kerry were elected, the speaker said, "That's my 
opinion, yes."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe called Hastert's 
comments "disgraceful," saying there was "no room for this in our 
political discourse."

"And I remind you that, you know, we could have done a lot better," 
McAuliffe said on CNN's "Late Edition."

"The president of the United States, on August 6th of 2001, was told in 
his briefing that America was going to be attacked by al Qaeda and they 
may use airplanes," McAuliffe said, referring to the terrorist attacks 
of September 11, 2001.

"He didn't call the FAA. He didn't leave his monthlong vacation. He sat 
down there."

Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, said Hastert 
"has joined the fear-mongering choir."

"Let me just say this in the simplest possible terms," Edwards said at 
a rally in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. "When John Kerry is president of 
the United States, we will find al Qaeda where they are and crush them 
before they can do damage to the American people."

Hastert, who as speaker heads the Republican-controlled House of 
Representatives, showed no sign of backing off his comments.

His spokesman, John Feehery, said Sunday that the speaker's comments 
"were consistent with the speaker's belief that John Kerry would be 
weak on the war."

"If John Kerry is perceived as being weak on the war, then of course, 
his election would be perceived as a good thing by the terrorists," 
Feehery said in a written response to questions about Hastert's 

"The fact that John Kerry can't make up his mind about the war only 
strengthens that perception."

Neither the Bush campaign nor the White House had any comment on 
Hastert's remarks, but Bush has accused Kerry of repeatedly changing 
his position on the war in Iraq.

The comments followed a remark by Cheney earlier this month that 
Americans might be subjected to another terrorist attack if they were 
to make "the wrong choice" in November.

Cheney later said that any president must expect more attacks and that 
his point had been that he felt Bush was better prepared to deal with 
the threat.

Some Republicans played down Hastert's comments Sunday.

"I doubt that Osama bin Laden is likely to weigh in on our presidential 
election," said Rep. Chris Cox of California, chairman of the House 
Policy Committee and fourth-ranking member of the Republican leadership 
behind Hastert.

Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska called the remarks "silly."

"I think most Americans understand that, regardless of who's president, 
the terrorists are still going to be terrorists, and they're going to 
still target Americans," said Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign 
Relations and Intelligence committees.

"And I don't think terrorists of the world sit around the campfire 
gauging who's the easier president to deal with."

It was the second time this month that Hastert's comments have provoked 
a public row.

Billionaire George Soros, a major backer of Democratic causes, asked 
the House Ethics Committee to investigate Hastert after the speaker 
suggested in a television interview that Soros got money from "drug 

Hastert later said he was referring to organizations to which Soros has 
contributed that favor drug legalization, but he ignored Soros' demand 
for an apology.

Analysts differ on just how much the Madrid bombings influenced the 
Spanish election.

Some say they prompted Spaniards to vote out Prime Minister Jose Maria 
Aznar, a key U.S. ally in the Iraq war. Others say Aznar's insistence 
on blaming Basque separatists, not Islamist terrorists, tipped the 
electorate against him.

In any case, Aznar's successor, Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, 
withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq shortly after taking office.

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