WASHINGTON (CNN) — U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg on Wednesday called Vice President Dick Cheney “the lead chickenhawk” against Sen. John Kerry and criticized other Republicans for questioning the Democratic presidential contender’s military credentials.
In a scathing speech on the Senate floor, Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, said that he did not think politicians should be judged by whether they had military service but added that “when those who didn’t serve attack the heroism of those who did, I find it particularly offensive.”
“We know who the chicken hawks are. They talk tough on national defense and military issues and cast aspersions on others,” he said. “When it was their turn to serve where were they? AWOL, that’s where they were.”
Lautenberg pointed to a poster with a drawing of a chicken in a military uniform defining a chickenhawk as “a person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it.”
“They shriek like a hawk, but they have the backbone of the chicken,” he said.
“The lead chickenhawk against Sen. Kerry [is] the vice president of the United States, Vice President Cheney,” Lautenberg said. “He was in Missouri this week claiming that Sen. Kerry was not up to the job of protecting this nation. What nerve. Where was Dick Cheney when that war was going on?”
Lautenberg chastised members of the Bush administration for being overly eager to go to war when they had not been willing to fight themselves. He quoted a Cheney interview from the 1980s that he had “other priorities” in the ’60s than military service.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday that Cheney criticized Kerry on policy issues and said that “no one is questioning his military service.”
But Lautenberg compared Cheney’s remarks with the GOP campaign against former Sen. Max Cleland, a Georgia Democrat whose defeat in 2002 has been a sore spot to many in his party.
“Max Cleland lost three limbs in Vietnam and they shamed him so, that he was pushed out of office because he was portrayed as weak on defense. Where do they come off with that kind of stuff?” he said.
Okay, now that the Senate is waking up to this shit, what about the rest of the country?