Kerry Debate Remark Makes Cheney 'Pretty Angry Father'

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - The fallout over Sen. John Kerry's remark regarding Mary Cheney in the final presidential debate continued to mount on Thursday as Vice President Dick Cheney declared he's a "pretty angry father" over the incident.

Cheney told a rally of 2,500 people at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers that the Democratic candidate is "a man who will do and say anything to get elected, and I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father."

The vice president also charged that Kerry's referral to his homosexual daughter was "out of line" and "inappropriate."

Cheney's comments echoed those of his wife, Lynne, who earlier in the day said that Kerry's remark during Wednesday's debate was "a cheap and tawdry political trick."

The controversy began when Kerry responded to a question about whether homosexuality is a choice by mentioning Cheney's daughter, who has publicly acknowledged that she is a lesbian.

"We're all God's children ... and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice," Kerry said.

Some Republicans have said they believe Kerry referred to Mary Cheney's sexuality to discourage pro-Bush conservative Christians from voting for him in the Nov. 2 election.

In an interview on CNN, Matthew Dowd, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign, called Kerry's remarks "outrageous" and said they offered a telling insight between the candidates.

Democratic strategist Susan Estrich defended the inclusion of Mary Cheney, stating, "I don't think it's ugly. I think it's meant to show hypocrisy" because President Bush backs a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

In response to the controversy, Cheryl Jacques, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group, said: "President Bush missed one more chance to denounce discrimination last night, so it is bewildering that Lynne Cheney instead attacked Senator Kerry," who "made it clear that gay Americans should have the same basic rights, responsibilities, and protections as every other American."

Jacques also noted that Vice President Cheney first discussed the sexuality of his daughter during a campaign event two months ago. Because of this, "it is not surprising that Senator Kerry mentioned her experience as emblematic of millions of gay Americans."

Also commenting on the incident was Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a homosexual advocacy group within the GOP.

"Senator Kerry could have made his point about gay and lesbian Americans without mentioning the vice president's daughter," Guerriero said. "However, this shouldn't distract us from the fact that President Bush, Karl Rove and other Republicans have been using gay and lesbian families as a political wedge issue in this campaign.

"Log Cabin Republicans have a message for both campaigns," he added. "For Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards, you do not need to talk about the vice president's daughter in order to discuss your positions on gay and lesbian issues. For President Bush and Karl Rove, you have a moral obligation to stop using gay and lesbian families as a political wedge issue. Our country and our party deserve better."

The matter apparently came full circle when Kerry himself issued a statement after learning that the Cheneys had expressed anger over his remarks: "I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with this issue."

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