Nathan Burchfiel | Staff Writer | Wednesday, November 1, 2006
"I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troop," Kerry said in a statement posted on his website.
"I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member or American who was offended," he said.
At a campaign appearance for California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides Monday, Kerry told a group of young people that, "Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Conservatives felt Kerry had insulted the troops by implying that they joined the military and went to Iraq because they were stupid. Several Republicans including Sen. John McCain and President Bush called on Kerry to apologize.
Even some Democrats, including Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, called on Kerry to apologize, or at least to clarify his comments.
Kerry refused to apologize Tuesday, accusing "assorted right wing nut-jobs" of trying to smear him with a "text book Republican campaign tactic."
He said his comment was a "botched joke" intended to insult President Bush.
In his statement Wednesday, Kerry continued his criticism of the Bush administration, saying that Republicans "would rather talk about anything but their failed security policy. I don't want my verbal slip to be a diversion from the real issues."
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