President has heard enough from `junior senator'
WASHINGTON - Sen. John F. Kerry's brash offer to meet privately with former foe President Bush [related, bio] to discuss foreign policy before Bush's meetings abroad next week with key European leaders has apparently fallen on deaf ears at the White House.
``We've offered to have Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.) meet with President Bush to discuss his trip to Iraq, if the White House is interested,'' Kerry spokesman David Wade said yesterday. ``There are many areas where genuine bipartisanship would make a difference in leading our country forward, whether in national security or children's health care.''
The White House declined comment on Kerry's recent overture.
A senior Kerry aide telephoned White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. earlier this month to make the meeting offer, a source confirmed.
But as of last night, Kerry had not received any response from the White House.
One veteran Republican strategist with strong White House ties dismissed Kerry's move as ``yet more brazen political grandstanding from the junior senator.''
Bush, in what some have described as a diplomatic charm offensive, arrives in Europe Tuesday hoping to repair tattered relations over the U.S.-led Iraq war with longstanding allies such as France, Germany and Russia.
Kerry was a fierce critic of Bush's foreign policy, particularly his handling of the Iraq war, during the bruising fall presidential race.
Even as he sought a Bush meeting, the defeated Democratic nominee yesterday hammered the president, telling reporters ``we would be far better off today'' had the U.S. followed Kerry's Iraq policies instead of the Bush plan.