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Kerrey Apologizes to Obama

By Shailagh Murray
Former senator Bob Kerrey wrote a letter to clear the air with Sen. Barack Obama over his use of the Illinois senator's middle name, Hussein. Which Democratic candidate did Kerrey endorse again?

Dear Barack,

I want to sincerely apologize for the remarks I made on Sunday in Council Bluffs, Iowa, after an event at which I endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton's Presidential candidacy. I answered a question about your qualifications to be President in a way that has been interpreted as a backhanded insult of you. I assure you I meant to do just the opposite.

After you and I met during your primary campaign for the Senate, I wrote a public letter in which I said that that you were among the two or three most talented people I have ever met in politics. Nothing in your performance in the Senate or your campaign for the Presidency has altered that view.

The question I was asked in Iowa on Sunday was something like this: "Senator Kerrey, you ran for President in your first term in the Senate. If you were qualified, why isn't Senator Obama?" With the benefit of my computer's capacity to make certain that my words reflect my belief let me answer that question in this letter which you are free to use anyway you choose.

You are exceptionally qualified by experience and judgment to be President of the United States. I do not doubt that you would use the power of the Presidency to bring peace and prosperity to as many people as possible on our fragile planet. You inspire my highest hopes for that office's potential: That it be used as a force for good in America and the world.

It is your capacity to inspire hope that is your greatest God given talent. Without spending a dime of tax payer's money or changing a single law your presence in the Oval Office will send a clear and compelling message to four groups of people who will be altered for good as a consequence. That was what I was trying to say on Sunday and what I hope I said more clearly in this letter.

Again, I am sorry for the insult and wish you the best on January 3 and beyond.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Respectfully yours,
Bob Kerrey


By Web Politics Editor  |  December 20, 2007; 10:00 AM ET
 
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