A seasick Sen. John Kerry - eager to sail past the storm over taxes on his yacht - actually kept the story afloat by attempting damage control through a mea culpa interview with a favored newspaper, spin doctors and analysts said.Listening to local talk radio while on vacation in New England the Kerry story has dominated discussion and he's been mercilessly ridiculed. Of course people did the same to Ted Kennedy for years and still kept re-electing him.
“He said himself he’s handled this badly and that he’s stretching out the pain. I guess that’s just continuing,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“The worst part for Kerry,” said Suffolk University political professor John C. Berg, “is that people continue to discuss the $7 million yacht. If I were him I wouldn’t want my $7 million yacht in the paper all the time.”
Kerry told the Boston Globe he always intended to pay the state and local taxes - more than a week after the Herald first put the question to him about the New Zealand-built craft that the Massachusetts senator keeps in Rhode Island, where boat taxes are not collected.
“I said to people, on day one, ‘We will pay all taxes, all taxes,’ there’s no issue here,’ ” Kerry told the Globe.
Robert Bliss, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, told the Herald yesterday that “a tax return has been filed” for Kerry’s yacht. He said the law forbids him from saying if the bill was paid by check, bank transfer or gold doubloons.
Hub public relations guru George Regan said Kerry made the fatal error of waiting too long to address the issue. The Globe interview appeared after a week of Herald reports, and after Kerry fled a gaggle of reporters seeking comment.
“PR wise, this was not one of his finest hours,” Regan said.
‘’But,” he added, “he had to put it to rest he just should have done it earlier in the week.”
This is not Kerry’s first awkward moment. In fact, the wind-surfing, joke-dropping Democrat trips up on a regular basis.
In 2006, Kerry scrambled to recover from a self-admitted “botched joke” after he told California college students to “study hard and do your homework . . . if you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
Former President Bush demanded that Kerry apologize for the “insulting” and “shameful” remark.
A few years earlier Kerry quipped that the Iraqi army was so weak “even the Italians could kick their butts.” That blunder didn’t sit well with Italian-Americans - especially Republicans.
Once again, the rival party is accusing Kerry of being out of touch and late to recover.
“It’s too little, too late,” said Tarah Breed, communications director for the Massachusetts GOP, of the payment for his yacht Isabel. “He’s apologizing for getting caught.”
Funny how Kerry weakly claims he was going to pay taxes from day one, yet if you look at the timeline, that just doesn't add up.
Instapundit links. Thanks!