On the September 7 edition of CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown, CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield claimed that "Democrats want the country to hear" Vice President Dick Cheney's comment that the United States would risk another terrorist attack if voters made "the wrong choice" in November as a threat. Greenfield said that Democrats are accusing Cheney of saying essentially that "[a] vote for Kerry is a vote for another terrorist attack." But that's just what Cheney said.
From a September 8 Washington Post article that reported Cheney's remarks, which he addressed to voters at a September 7 rally in Des Moines, Iowa:
It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again ... that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind-set, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we are not really at war.
According to an article published in the September 8 edition of The New York Times, Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator John Edwards (D-NC) responded as follows:
What he [Cheney] said to the American people ... was that if you go to the polls in November and elect anyone other than us, then another terrorist attack occurs, it's your fault. This is un-American.
On NewsNight, Brown asked Greenfield if "there is another way to look at" Cheney's remark -- other than the way Democrats and Brown himself heard it:
BROWN: Tell me there is another way to look at the vice president's comments then the way the Democratic Party looked at him and, honestly, the way it sounded to me, which was, if you make the wrong choice, we're gonna [sic] hit again. And then he defined wrong choice.
GREENFIELD: Look, I think there is an implied 'if' there, they're saying. The danger is, if we're hit again and it's devastating, we'll respond the way Kerry would, which is to say, it is not really a war.
On the one hand, the White House apparently said, well, we are upping the ante, but we didn't mean it to say, vote for Kerry -- because that's, if you think about that, that's a statement I think that, if that's what he meant, that there is going to be pushback on -- and real pushback. A vote for Kerry is a vote for another terrorist attack. So I think you could read it that he meant to say, the danger is, if we're to [sic] attacked, we will not respond strongly enough, which is consistent with what they've been saying all along. But you're free to hear it the way you want. And certainly that's the way Democrats want the country to hear it.
BROWN: It's not necessarily the way I want to hear it. It's the way it sounded to me.