Using a Funeral to Make Political Points

Using Corretta Scott King's funeral to make political points: that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo. When I die, I don't want my demise to be used as a political rally, and that's what happened yesterday to Coretta Scott King. Al Sharpton will join us in a moment. Jesse Jackson, Jimmy Carter, all used Mrs. King's memorial to make political points.

In President Carter's case, it was beyond anything many historians have ever seen. Protocol dictates that former presidents do not publicly attack sitting presidents. When President Clinton was impeached, no former president sniped at him. Gerald Ford told me personally he simply would not say anything negative about Clinton.

But there was Jimmy Carter yesterday with President Bush sitting behind him, saying this at Mrs. King's funeral.


JAMES EARL CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT: The efforts of Martin and Coretta have changed America and was not appreciated even at the highest level of government. It was difficult for them personally when the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance.


Now, how classless, how inappropriate. And by the way, the taping Carter mentioned was done by the Kennedy administration -- Democrats. Now if you read Carter's latest book, you know he has follow the Alice into Wonderland. Mr. Carter has drifted into the far left precincts and is virtually clueless when it comes to understand the war on terror. He is all theory all the time. One vital question, is there anyone watching me right now who would want Jimmy Carter leading the terror war? Anyone? Anyone outside of the ACLU?

It's important to note Bill and Hillary Clinton did not cheap shot anyone at the funeral. They kept the focus where it belonged, on Coretta Scott King. Even those who don't like the Clintons must admit their comments were appropriate. Not so Jimmy Carter, who should rethink his entire presentation. Political disagreement is fine. Inappropriate behavior is not.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

No "Most Ridiculous Item" on February 8.

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