Take that, Wolf

By Geraldine Sealey
Published March 17, 2004 11:59PM (EST)

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke appeared on CNN yesterday but apparently didn't feel like playing the game of the day with Wolf Blitzer. The pundits and politicians who have hyped the "Will Kerry name the leaders?" story these last several days have ignored the substance. But Holbrooke stated it clearly: What John Kerry said about world opinion of the U.S. is very much, sadly, true. It's a shame most of the media, taking the GOP's lead, allowed the story to devolve into a game to see if Kerry would name names. As Holbrooke suggests: Get a passport and a flight to almost anywhere and ask around. Or check the Pew poll on world opinion released Tuesday.

Here's a partial transcript of Holbrooke on CNN:
"BLITZER: Ambassador Holbrooke, thanks very much for joining us. A little revised version of what John Kerry said. He said, "I've met more leaders who can't go out and say it all publicly, but boy, they look at you and say, you got to win. This you got to beat this guy, we need a new policy, things like that." So there is enormous energy out there. The president today said, if he makes an accusation, he has a responsibility to back it up. What do you say?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FRM. U.S. AMB. TO U.N.: John Kerry committed an unpardonable crime in Washington: he spoketh the truth. What he said is self-evidently true. There's a new poll out today by the Pew Institute, a worldwide poll, which shows massive and growing anti-Americanism around the world. Now American voters need to make up their own mind who they prefer, George W. Bush or John Kerry. But they also ought to know this administration is isolating us in the world, weakening us. Recent events in Spain, this election are another example.

John Kerry said something everybody knows is true. And, Wolf, you know it's true. And why don't I say just one other thing. Why don't you, instead of staging a silly he said/he said between the White House, which is throwing all this mud at John Kerry after he said something true. Why don't you poll your foreign correspondents on CNN. And ask them who the population and leaderships in the world would prefer to see elected? Very simple."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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