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Does John Kerry still believe that the terror threat is an "exaggeration"?

5:15 PM, Sep 1, 2004 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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SENATOR JOHN KERRY told veterans at the American Legion convention in Nashville today that America is engaged in a "global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we have known before." But last January he called the threat from this same enemy an "exaggeration."

During the January 29, 2004 Democratic primary debate in South Carolina, Kerry was asked by NBC's Tom Brokaw if the Bush administration had exaggerated the threat of terrorism. To which Kerry responded: "I think there has been an exaggeration."

Kerry went on to say, "The war on terror is less--it is occasionally military, and it will be, and it will continue to be for a long time. And we will need the best-trained and the most well-equipped and the most capable military, such as we have today. But it's primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation."

During the debate, Kerry's belief that the threat of terrorism had been exaggerated drew this response from Senator John Edwards, who evidently didn't want Kerry's statement to go unchallenged.

"Can I just go back a moment ago--to a question you asked just a moment ago? You asked, I believe, Senator Kerry earlier whether there's an exaggeration of the threat of the war on terrorism.

It's just hard for me to see how you can say there's an exaggeration when thousands of people lost their lives on September the 11th."

Daniel McKivergan is deputy director at the Project for the New American Century.