Alex Constantine - October 21, 2008
By Mike Underwood
October 21, 2008
Sen. John F. Kerry was accused by his Republican Senate challenger Jeff Beatty of having “blood on his hands” over his vote to send U.S. troops into Iraq during a fiery televised debate last night.
A combative Beatty, 56, launched a vicious verbal assault after Kerry snorted at Beatty’s claim that he failed to read vital intelligence reports before voting for the war.
“Don’t laugh. It’s not a joke,” fumed Beatty, a counterterrorism consultant and former CIA agent, during the hourlong debate on NECN. “You knew. You knew when you voted for that war that we didn’t have what we needed for the war . . . and you didn’t care because it was always about getting elected president. You have got blood on your hands.”
Kerry, 64, who has held a Senate seat since 1984, branded Beatty’s attack “insulting and frankly disgusting.”
He said his vote was based on intelligence reports presented to him by former CIA director George Tenet and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The candidates agreed the United States should withdraw from Iraq and concentrate on Afghanistan, while working to ensure Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons.
Kerry slammed Beatty’s support of Question 1 on the state ballot, the proposal to abolish the state income tax. “My prayer is that Jeff Beatty’s position will be soundly rejected by this state. To do what Jeff Beatty says we should do would be calamitous,” he said.
But Beatty said the abolition of the state income tax would act as an economic stimulus for families and businesses and would bring more jobs and opportunities to the state.
The candidates also clashed over the economy, energy and health care.