In a report on hunting and politics, CNN's Bruce Morton commented that President Bush "likes to hunt quail with family and friends" and Vice President Dick Cheney "loves to hunt," but -- using language that echoed that of Cheney during the 2004 campaign -- said Sen. John Kerry "spent time posing with guns" during the 2004 presidential campaign, and that "voters probably saw more of him pursuing exotic sports, windsurfing and so on."
During a report on hunting and politics on the February 13 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN national correspondent Bruce Morton commented that President Bush "likes to hunt quail with family and friends" and Vice President Dick Cheney -- who accidentally shot a member of his quail-hunting party on February 11 -- "loves to hunt," but Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) "spent time posing with guns" during the 2004 presidential campaign, and that "voters probably saw more of him pursuing exotic sports, windsurfing and so on." Morton's jab echoed language Cheney used during the 2004 campaign to attack Kerry as effete and elitist.
Kerry reportedly has been a hunter since the age of 12.
From the February 13 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
MORTON: Do politicians love to hunt? Well, some. Theodore Roosevelt went after big game, went exploring -- a genuine enthusiast. Dick Cheney loves to hunt. There's been story after story about his hunting trips, though none, fair is fair, quite as dramatic as this last one. Harry Truman? He'd rather have played poker. Dwight Eisenhower organized a partridge hunt in North Africa during World War II and hunted as president. But when he had his druthers, you'd find him on a golf course. John Kennedy? A biographer recalls that Lyndon Johnson bullied him into shooting a deer once on the LBJ Ranch. But he didn't like it, and didn't fish much either. Though, of course, he loved to sail.
MORTON: This president likes to hunt quail with family and friends, especially on New Year's Day. John Kerry, the man he beat, spent time posing with guns. But voters probably saw more of him pursuing exotic sports, windsurfing and so on.
As Morton spoke, CNN aired a photograph of Kerry's October 21, 2004, goose-hunting trip in Ohio, and then switched to video footage of Kerry windsurfing. CNN, however, had reported on October 21, 2004, that Kerry is a longtime hunting enthusiast:
FRANK BUCKLEY (CNN national correspondent): Well, there are sportsmen in many of the battleground states -- in Ohio, in Pennsylvania, in Missouri, in Florida, in West Virginia -- a number of the battleground states, people hunt. It's a common pastime among the people in all these states, and the point here is to say, look, John Kerry is like you in many ways that you may not know that he was the -- that you may not know that he is like this. You may not know that he hunts, that he's been hunting since he was 12 and 13 years old. That was the point of today's exercise. You're right, Wolf. It wasn't just that he happened to decide to go goose-hunting today. He went goose-hunting today for a political purpose, but that purpose was to say you may not know some things about John Kerry, and one of them is that he likes to hunt.
Moreover, Morton's comments were reminiscent of Cheney's attacks on Kerry during the 2004 election, such as this comment the vice president made at an October 28, 2004, "Q&A" in Schofield, Wisconsin:
CHENEY: I think there's no question but what in my mind he is not a firm believer in the Second Amendment, that the Second Amendment is a lot more than just a photo-op and that you'll find the President and I have records that go back for many, many years that are consistent with a strong, principled belief in the Second Amendment and the right of Americans to bear arms, and that we, two, aggressively support those measures that will enhance and encourage the capacity that so many of us enjoy in terms of hunting and fishing and taking advantage of the gifts that we're provided as Americans. We want to protect and preserve that. And frankly, I don't think John Kerry -- I think he's spent too much time windsurfing, instead of hunting and fishing.
Also, Cheney's "hunting" practices seem to differ from traditional hunting ethics and practices. University professor and hunter Scott Denham wrote in a February 14 Charlotte Observer column that Cheney's February 11 quail hunt "broke several basic rules" of hunting -- too many hunters, no dog, and hunting from a vehicle. Denham noted that Cheney himself "broke some of the most basic rules: shooting at a low bird and not being aware of the placement of his hunting party members." Also, as was widely reported in 2003, Cheney and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) took part in a controlled bird hunt on a Pennsylvania game reserve, in which farm-raised birds were released from nets right in front of the hunters. According to a December 28, 2003, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch article, Cheney alone shot at least 70 birds, and the entire 10-person hunting party shot 417 birds.