WASHINGTON – John Kerry (search) used profane language to assess President Bush's Iraq policy, and Bush's chief of staff said Sunday the Democratic presidential candidate was out of line.
The Massachusetts senator uttered a profanity in an interview in the latest Rolling Stone magazine to express his dismay over Bush's handling of Iraq (search).
When asked in the interview about the success of rival candidate Howard Dean (search), whose anti-war message has resounded with supporters, Kerry responded: "When I voted for the war, I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, 'I'm against everything?' Sure. Did I expect George Bush to f--- it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did."
The expletive drew a rebuke from White House, which suggested an apology might be in order.
"That's beneath John Kerry," the president's chief of staff, Andrew Card, said in a televised interview.
"I'm very disappointed that he would use that kind of language," Card said. "I'm hoping that he's apologizing at least to himself, because that's not the John Kerry that I know."
The Kerry campaign said the Massachusetts senator had no regrets.
"John Kerry saw combat up close, and he doesn't mince words when it comes to politicians who put ideological recklessness ahead of American troops," said spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter. "I think the American people would rather Card and the rest of the White House staff spend more time on fixing Bush's flawed policy in Iraq than on Sen. Kerry's language."
On the 62nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Kerry laid a wreath in remembrance at the Navy base in Coronado, Calif., where he trained before shipping out to Vietnam, where he was wounded and was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star with combat V. Kerry, a swift boat commander in the war, was joined by his daughter, Vanessa, and two crew mates who served with him in Southeast Asia.
During his TV appearance, Card also opined, albeit briefly, on the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination.
"Howard Dean is a good governor in Vermont who is no longer governor," said Card. "So he would not be my choice for president of the United States."