Page 3: If Kerry's Strong on Defense, McCain's Weak

When President Bush’s campaign targeted Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s weak record on defense issues earlier this month, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) inexplicably came to Kerry’s defense.

Appearing on NBC’s “Today Show” March 18, McCain said: “I do not believe that he is, quote, weak on defense.”

The same day, McCain told CBS’s Hannah Storm that Vice President Dick Cheney was wrong to characterize Kerry as, in Storm’s words, “a threat to national security.”

“I don’t think that,” said McCain. “I think that John Kerry is a good and decent man. . . . I think he has different points of view on different issues, and he will have to explain his voting record.”

That is putting it mildly. If Kerry is strong on defense, McCain must be weak. Their voting records are polar opposites on key national security issues.

This chart documents just a handful of times Kerry and McCain have opposed each other on defense issues since McCain was first elected to the Senate in 1986.

Senate Votes John Kerry John McCain
Subject U.S. Troops to International Criminal Court (12-7-01) Yes No
Decrease Navy funding and use the money for AIDS (7-10-01) Yes No
McCain amendment to reduce pork projects and use money saved for Defense (7-10-01) No Yes
Support and fund National Missile Defense (18 votes, 1991 to 2000) No, 18 Times Yes, 18 Times
Cut Defense budget by $400 million (7-10-97) Yes No
Cut Defense budget by $5 million (7-9-97) Yes No
Cut Defense budget by $13 billion (6-26-96) Yes No
Freeze Defense spending for seven years and use the $34.8 billion saved for social programs (5-24-95) Yes No
Publicize U.S. Covert Intelligence Budget (10-19-93) Yes No
Gays in the Military (9-9-93) Yes No
Block military pay raise (3-24-93) Yes No
Help new enlistees register to vote (3-17-93) No Yes
Eliminate authorizations for the B-2 bomber program (9-18-92) Yes No
Take $3 billion from Defense and give it to the Department of Education (9-16-92) Yes No
Cut $3 billion from Defense and use the money for social programs (9/10/91) Yes No
Cut $6 billion from Defense spending (4-9-92) Yes No
First Iraq War (1-12-91) No Yes
Cut funding for MX Missile (8-1-89) Yes No
Aid anti-Communist fighters in Nicaragua and Cambodia during the 1980s No, No Yes, Yes

HUMAN EVENTS Intern Ingrid Langsather, who is in Washington with the National Journalism Center, helped compile this report.