In the crush as he was leaving, I asked him what he would do about Iraq.
“We need to get the UN in there,” he said.
“But they were in there. They pulled out because it was too dangerous.”
“We need to get NATO in there,” he said.
“But 21 out of the 34 countries with troops on the ground are, in fact, NATO members.”
“Hey, that’s what I love about these town hall meetings,” he said, shaking my hand. “You get to hear from the people.” If Edwards were in a presidential debate with Bush, there wouldn’t be a lot of questions on Visa card rates but there would be one or two on Iraq, and his platitudes wouldn’t pass muster.
Ouch! Reminds you a little of Edwards’s well-known fumble on the Defense of Marriage Act:
[PETER] JENNINGS: Senator Edwards, President Bush, as you know, is worried. He said it again in the State of the Union address the other night that the Defense of Marriage Act is not strong enough, as he says, to protect the institution of marriage.
You were not in the Senate in 1996 when it passed overwhelmingly. Senator Kerry was one of only 14 senators who voted against it. I’d like to know from you whether or not you think he was right or wrong, and why?
EDWARDS: I think he was right. I think he was right because what happened with the Defense of Marriage Act is it took away the power of states, like Vermont, to be able to do what they chose to do about civil unions, about these kinds of marriage issues.
These are issues that should be left — Massachusetts, for example, has just made a decision, the supreme court at least has made a decision, that embraces the notion of gay marriage.
I think these are decisions that the states should have the power to make. And the Defense of Marriage Act, as I understand it — you’re right, I wasn’t there when it was passed — but as I understand it, it would have taken away that power. And I think that’s wrong. That power should not be taken away from the states.
JENNINGS: Do you believe that other states, for example, should be obliged to honor and recognize the civil union which Governor Dean signed? Should other states be obliged to recognize what happens in another state?
EDWARDS: I think it’s a decision that should be made on a state-by-state basis. I think each state should be able to make its own decision about what they embrace.
. . . .
[BRIT] HUME: I just want to follow up with on the Defense of Marriage Act, which of course is the law of the land.
HUME: Does not the Defense of Marriage Act specifically say that the court rulings in one state, which might, for example, recognize a gay marriage, may not be imposed on another state? In other words, doesn’t the Defense of Marriage go to the very position which you yourself take? [Patterico notes: the correct answer to this question is "Yes." Now let's hear Edwards's answer.]
EDWARDS: No, the Defense of Marriage — first of all, I wasn’t in the Congress, I don’t claim to be an expert on this. [No kidding! -- Patterico.] But as I understand the Defense of Marriage Act, it would take away the power of some states to choose whether they would recognize or not recognize gay marriages. That’s my understanding of it.
What a maroon.
This guy may look good — and that counts for a lot to our shallow electorate, especially for the women — but he ain’t really ready for prime time, is he?