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Kerry defends himself

From NBC's Mark Murray and Mike Viqueira
At a hastily arranged news conference, John Kerry didn't back down from his earlier remarks that those who don't study hard or do well in school could "get stuck in Iraq" (although, as we mention below, a Kerry source explains that the senator was referring to Bush, not to US armed forces). Replying to Sen. John McCain's demand that Kerry issue an apology, Kerry asked why McCain hasn't demanded apologies from the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney, or Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the US struggles in Iraq. "What we need to do is debate the real issues," he said. "America is sick and tired of this kind of politics." 

But that hasn't stopped Republicans from piling on. Speaker Dennis Hastert -- who's experienced his fair share of controversy from the Foley scandal -- condemned Kerry's comments. "Our soldiers make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect America, and they deserve nothing less than our utmost respect. I urge Senator Kerry to apologize immediately for these insulting remarks." In addition, GOP Senate candidates Mike Bouchard of Michigan and John Spencer of New York have issued statements criticizing Kerry. Interestingly, however, we haven't Republican candidates in more competitive -- or even the GOP campaign committees -- also jump on Kerry.

What do you think?  Should Kerry apologize or is this purely an election ruse?  Join in the discussion on the MSNBC.com discussion board.