Notable Quotes: Safe Here, Respected There

Thursday's theme at the Democratic National Convention was "Stronger at Home, Respected Abroad." asked prominent convention-goers about whether and how John Kerry and John Edwards can make Americans feel safer than they do today.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas: "One thing we know for sure today, with the current situation, we do not have the amount of respect abroad that we have enjoyed in the past. We are the last remaining superpower, and as such I believe we have squandered a lot of the respect that normally we could count on to have allies in places like Iraq, and whatever the future holds for us.

"In terms of a safer, more secure homeland, it's incredible that it is two and a half years after 9/11 and we still do not have the necessary resources, we still don't have the necessary reorganized homeland security for border communities, like the one I represent, to feel secure.

"My recommendation to the Kerry campaign has been, no matter how long it takes, it will be vitally important to lay out a well-thought-out plan, a message about what his administration is going to do for homeland security."

Rep. Ed Markey, Mass.: "We have few allies who are willing to help us and that makes us less secure. Here at home, the president's nickel and diming security where the terrorists actually attacked us.  And that is a disaster for the security of our country as well. So, the president-to-be, John Kerry, will be talking about those issues tonight."

Tony Blankley, conservative commentator and editorial page editor, Washington Times: "Obviously, that's a useful image for them to try and project. The question is whether they will successfully project it. The fact they are repeating it so remorselessly suggests they are defensive about what they suspect the people see or will see in Kerry when his record is fully understood by the American people. So there is both an opportunity and a danger for them. If they can make this case stick, it may help him be considered presidential timber by the still doubting electorate.

"On the other hand, if the public sees this convention and these claims, and then sees his record on cutting back on defense and intelligence, the un-wisdom in his foreign policy decisions — supporting the nuclear freeze, opposing the strategic defense initiative which brought down the Soviet Union — then this will backfire and just look like a cynical ploy. I think it is a cynical ploy, I think while he's definitely a patriotic American, he has misunderstood the way the world works, and if those facts catch up with him, it will not be useful."