SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said he plans to use private negotiations to persuade other heads of state to assist in reconstructing Iraq, but he does not envision sending more U.S. troops there.
Kerry said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that a new president can make a “fresh start” with world leaders who opposed the war.
“If we demonstrate an America that has a foreign policy that is smarter, more engaged … and more respectful of the world, we’re going to bring people to our side,” Kerry said. “We’re not only not going to put additional troops there; that’s the way to bring our troops home.”
In a separate interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “Late Edition,” Kerry declined to specify a precise timetable for withdrawing the 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. But he did say, “I would consider it an unsuccessful policy if I hadn’t brought significant numbers of troops back within the first term.”
Kerry and running mate John Edwards did separate taped interviews with CBS, CNN, ABC and Fox, all of which were broadcast Sunday.
With Edwards sitting by his side, Kerry said on CBS that he is convinced that a Kerry administration could get NATO involved in Iraq. The interview was taped earlier in Greensburg, Pa.
“We can make sure that other countries in the region – and this is critical – Iran, Syria, are not interfering with trying to establish a democratic Iraq and bring other countries like France and Germany and Russia to the reconstruction effort so that the Iraq economy can get off the ground and we can get some debt forgiveness,” Edwards said.
Kerry said he has a plan to approach other world leaders, “and I’m not negotiating it publicly.”
Kerry also defended himself from President Bush’s charge that the Democrat would raise taxes. Kerry said most Americans would get a tax cut under his plan.
“This administration has had a problem with truth for some period of time,” Kerry said. Pressed on whether he is saying Bush lied, Kerry said he would never use that word.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Kerry added one exception to his promise not to raise taxes for Americans earning under $200,000 a year: “War. Obviously a national emergency.” He explained: “I’m talking about a national emergency beyond what we have today in Iraq, if you have something extraordinary that happened.”