July 31, 2004 -- SCRANTON, Pa. — John Kerry's heavily hyped cross-country bus tour stumbled out of the blocks yesterday, as a group of Marines publicly dissed the Vietnam War hero in the middle of a crowded restaurant.
Kerry was treating running mate Sen. John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, to a Wendy's lunch in Newburgh, N.Y., for their 27th wedding anniversary — an Edwards family tradition — when the candidate approached four Marines and asked them questions.
The Marines — two in uniform and two off-duty — were polite but curt while chatting with Kerry, answering most of his questions with a "yes, sir" or "no, sir." . . .
"He imposed on us and I disagree with him coming over here shaking our hands," one Marine said, adding, "I'm 100 percent against [him]."
A sergeant with 10 years of service under his belt said, "I speak for all of us. We think that we are doing the right thing in Iraq," before saying he is to be deployed there in a few weeks and is "eager" to go and serve.
Ouch. The Kerry campaign will probably blame this on dirty tricks by, er, someone.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Patterico notes that The Los Angeles Times is presenting an airbrushed version of the story: "Let's recap. John Kerry tries to get a photo-op with some soldiers, and it backfires, badly, with the soldiers expressing resentment at having been used. But that's not news. Meanwhile, one boy was holding an anti-Bush sign along Bush's campaign trail -- and that's news. Business as usual at the objective and non-liberal L.A. Times."
The L.A. Times also omits this bit: "Edwards and his wife had hearty meals of burgers and fries and shared a chocolate Frosty. Teresa Heinz Kerry pointed at a picture of chili on the menu and asked the cashier what it was before ordering a bowl."
Somehow, I think similar ignorance on the part of a Bush would get more attention -- even if it never happened.