February 11, 2007

kevinrudd.jpg Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd came out throwing hay-makers at John Howard for his viciously insipid statements against Obama. Howard said that al-Qaeda wants Barack Obama to win the election. The Democratic Party should view this clip over and over again. Update: Full transcript here .

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The Australian:

Mr Rudd said Mr Howard should be censured over his comment yesterday that terrorist network al-Qaeda would be hoping for a Democratic candidate to win next year's US presidential election.---It also accuses Mr Howard of “gross insensitivity” for lecturing the United States on Iraq when the war has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 US servicemen and women.

Mr Rudd demanded that Mr Howard withdraw his comments unreservedly.

(h/t to Scarce for the vid) (transcript below the fold)

How can the man who is Prime Minister of this country
come into this parliament and say that he is a person
of experience on the question of national security
when within the last 24 hours he has made the statement
that, when it comes to the operation of al-Qaeda
and its dealings in the world of international affairs
today, somehow al-Qaeda is a terrorist organisation
that would prefer to see a Democrat win the next presidential
election rather than any other representative of
another political party?
The Prime Minister today has inserted that in fact he
was only making a reference to Mr Obama, one of the
US Democratic Party presidential candidates. It is important
that we place this unequivocally on the record.
Yesterday the Prime Minister gave this answer to a
question in relation to the Obama plan:
Yes, I think he is wrong. I mean, he is a long way from being
President of United States. I think he is wrong. I think that
that would just encourage those who wanted completely to
destabilise and destroy Iraq and create chaos and victory for
the terrorists to hang on and to hope for an Obama victory. If
I were running al Qaeda in Iraq I would put a circle around
March 2008 and pray as many times as possible for a victory—
not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.
That is not an addition invented by the Australian Labor
Party. That is not an addition invented by anybody
else. That was spoken, or would we dare say misspo-

ken, yesterday by the Prime Minister of Australia on a
matter of great consequence—that is, the future of this
country’s relationship with the United States, particularly
on the question of the future direction of Iraq policy.
To accuse the Democratic Party of the United States
of being al-Qaeda’s party of choice, to accuse the Democratic
Party of being the terrorists’ party of choice,
to accuse the party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and
Johnson of being the terrorists’ party of choice is a
most serious charge. I cannot understand how any responsible
leader of this country can say to the nation
that it is his serious view that the Democratic Party of
the United States is the terrorists’ party of choice. But
these are your words, Prime Minister. I did not invent
them; they are yours. In this parliament today we gave
you every opportunity to say that you got it wrong.

The SPEAKER—Order! The leader will refer his
remarks through the chair.
Mr RUDD—We gave the Prime Minister every opportunity
to say that it was wrong. It may have been
that he got caught up in the flurry of the interview. It
may have been that he did not hear it clearly. It may
have been that he did not understand it clearly. I understand
that these things can happen, but the Prime Minister
was given not once, not twice but on three separate
occasions in this place today an opportunity to say,
‘I got that wrong; I didn’t mean that.’ For him to pass
up each of those opportunities says much about the
partisan way this Prime Minister now views the relationship
with our great American ally.
Let us be absolutely clear about what is at stake
here. This is not just an attack on a single US senator
but an attack upon an entire political party. Here is
where Australia’s national interest kicks in: the Democratic
Party currently controls the majority in the United
States House, controls the majority in the United States
Senate and, within a year or so, may control the White
House itself. In this parliament today, this country’s
Prime Minister has reaffirmed that he describes this
party as the terrorists’ party of choice. This is a serious
Prime Minister, can you imagine if I stood up in this
parliament as the alternative Prime Minister and said to
the people of Australia that the terrorists would be advantaged
if the Republicans were to return to the White
House at the next presidential election? Ponder for a
moment how that would be regarded. How would it be
seized on by those opposite? Can you imagine the reaction
from those opposite if I stood at this dispatch box
or appeared on national television and said that the
Republicans, if they won, would cause an eruption of
joy on the part of al-Qaeda and on the part of terrorists?
This is a grave mistake and I fear that it reflects a
deep view on the part of the Prime Minister about

those within the US political system with whom he
may not share a view.

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