updated 4/27/2004 1:28:25 PM ET 2004-04-27T17:28:25

For two months now, I‘ve been telling the presumptive Democratic nominee to stop talking about Iraq and foreign policy, because, as a Republican who was in Congress who fought Bill Clinton‘s policies, I learned very quickly that Americans always defer to presidents when it comes to military matters. 

Today, Senator Kerry finally began a week-long tour highlighting what he thinks is wrong with George Bush‘s economy.  Now, that was a smart political move.  But his stumbling appearance on “Good Morning America” proved once again that his anti-war activities in 1971 may end up making Vietnam a negative issue for the senator. 

Whether on “Meet the Press” or “Good Morning America” or while answering questions for “The New York Times,” Senator Kerry needs to get his story straight when it comes to his military past.  And if I could be presumptuous enough, Senator Kerry, this should be your story:  I served honorably in Vietnam and I fought just as hard top end that war when I came home.  But Americans I talked to are more interested in their family‘s future than the president‘s past or my past.  Now let‘s talk about fixing America‘s economy. 

The senator‘s spring offensive will continue to go badly until he stops talking about Iraq, stops talking about Vietnam, stops talking about the war on terror, and focuses exclusively on America‘s economy.  Maybe James Carville should scratch out another sign like the one he made for Bill Clinton in 1992 that simply said, “It‘s the economy, stupid.” 

Running a presidential campaign requires discipline and communication skills.  And right now, those are two qualities that John Kerry seems to lack. 

'Scarborough Country' airs Sunday-Thursday, 10 p.m. ET


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