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Kerry leaves the podium after speaking Wednesday at George Washington University.
updated 4/7/2004 5:25:43 PM ET 2004-04-07T21:25:43

The presidential election is eight months off, but Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is already in danger of permanently being nailed as an out-of-touch left-wing liberal who's flip-flopping on every issue. 

If I were George Bush, I run a campaign hammering on John Kerry for voting against the money for troops needed to win the peace.  I'd hammer John Kerry for voting against bulletproof vests, even if he claimed to support them last week.  I'd go after John Kerry as a guy who brags about whispered support from foreign leaders the same week America is stabbed in the back by Spanish socialists who rode to victory last week on the wave of terrorist attacks.  A guy who attacks our commander in chief today, the day 27 people were killed in the bombing of an Iraqi hotel, is not a good thing. 

You know, John Kerry just doesn‘t get it.  Americans expect a united front during a time of war, and our fight against al Qaeda is war, not a police action. 

Now, if I were John Kerry, I‘d ask one question when developing a winning strategy, “WWBCD?”  What would Bill Clinton do?  I will tell you one thing he would not do: He wouldn't side with Euro Socialists in Spain, or tell parents their sons were dying for no reason, or suggest our war on terror was a failure. 

Hello, Senator Kerry, you beat Howard Dean by being a grown-up on foreign policy.  You're blowing it now.  Listen to me, I can save you a lot of pain, and your wife a lot of money.  Yield the Iraq and terror issue to George Bush.  He‘s going to beat your brains in on this issue as long as you're stupid enough to fight the campaign on his home turf.  Bill Clinton wouldn't do it, and neither should you. 

Instead, thank the president for protecting America.  Thank the president for protecting America and the troops—but what you‘ve got to do instead is focus on the millions of jobs lost under his watch, the raped middle American retirement accounts, the health care costs that aren‘t crushing just the working poor, but also the middle-class swing voters you have to have to win.  Talk about the deficit, the record debt, and the foreign deficit. 

I mean, come on, there are so many economic issues you can win on.  You will lose talking foreign policy. John Kerry, fight this campaign on those issues and you‘re going to keep this campaign close.  But run the campaign on the war on terror, and you‘re going to be remembered as a tall man‘s Michael Dukakis. 

Choose quickly, because once you lose the American people, you never win them back.  Just ask Howard Dean. 

'The Real Deal' is a regular segment on 'Scarborough Country.' 'Scarborough Country' airs Sunday-Thursday, 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.


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