Vice President Cheney throws solid punches at John Kerry:

Senator Kerry’s voting record on national security raises some important questions all by itself. Let’s begin with the matter of how Iraq and Saddam Hussein should have been dealt with. Senator Kerry was in the minority of senators who voted against the Persian Gulf War in 1991. At the time, he expressed the view that our international coalition consisted of ” shadow battlefield allies who barely carry a burden.” Last year, as we prepared to liberate Iraq, he recalled the Persian Gulf coalition a little differently. He said it was a “strong coalition,” and a model to be followed.

Six years after the Gulf War, in 1997, Saddam Hussein was still defying the terms of the cease-fire. And as President Bill Clinton considered military action against Iraq, he found a true believer in John Kerry. The Senator from Massachusetts said, quote, “Should the resolve of our allies wane, the United States must not lose its resolve to take action.” He further warned that if Saddam Hussein were not held to account for violation of U.N. resolutions, some future conflict would have ” greater consequence.” In 1998, Senator Kerry indicated his support for regime change, with ground troops if necessary. And, of course, when Congress voted in October of 2002, Senator Kerry voted to authorize military action if Saddam refused to comply with U.N. demands.

A neutral observer, looking at these elements of Senator Kerry’s record, would assume that Senator Kerry supported military action against Saddam Hussein. The Senator himself now tells us otherwise. In January he was asked on TV if he was, quote, “one of the anti-war candidates.” He replied, “I am.” He now says he was voting only to, quote, “threaten the use of force,” not actually to use force.

Even if we set aside these inconsistencies and changing rationales, at least this much is clear: Had the decision belonged to Senator Kerry, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, today, in Iraq. In fact, Saddam Hussein would almost certainly still be in control of Kuwait. (Laughter.)

Note the laughter. Imagine if they put John Kerry’s quote in an ad that he voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it.

Then let Kerry explain that he voted for the $87 billion with an amendment to repeal the President’s economic stimulus package of tax cuts.