- The Washington Times - Monday, January 31, 2005

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday for his first extensive TV interview discussing his failed bid for the presidency, Sen. John Kerry repeated what has become the Democrats’ official “party line.” Mr. Kerry said he “lost to an incumbent president by a closer margin than an incumbent president has ever won re-election before in the history of the country.” But so what? Incumbent presidents, after all, have lost lots of re-election bids.

Mr. Kerry also repeated an old shibboleth: “When a country is at war, it’s very difficult to shift horses in midstream.” Difficult? Well, that is precisely what Democrats did in 1952 and 1968 with their own party’s wartime presidents, whom voters eventually replaced with Republicans.

Mr. Kerry was right to declare that the difference in the 2004 election was “60,000 people changing their vote” in Ohio, where more than 5.7 million votes were cast. That makes his campaign’s decision to sit on more than $14 million in prenomination funds all the more incomprehensible. Indeed, according to a campaign-finance attorney interviewed recently by The Washington Times, the phone lines among his Republican and Democratic associates lit up in early December after Mr. Kerry’s campaign filed a report with the Federal Election Commission showing an election-account “cash-on-hand” balance of more than $14 million three weeks after the election. Nobody understood why it was allowed to happen.

While Mr. Kerry could not have directly spent the money on his campaign, he could have transferred the funds to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or any state Democratic organization. Mr. Kerry told Mr. Russert that he “had the money held in reserve in the event that some state director said, ‘We desperately need the money.’ ” With the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth spending more than $5 million in Ohio alone, Mr. Kerry insisted that the DNC and the Ohio Democratic Party had no need for any more money to counter the onslaught.

From his $14.3 million reserve, Mr. Kerry also could have given more money to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Republicans won the Florida and Alaska Senate races with less than 50 percent of the vote. In fact, with 44 seats, Democrats now have their fewest number of senators since Herbert Hoover was president. Could Mr. Kerry’s fellow Democrats have used some of his $14 million?

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