Kerry jokes he wishes Europeans could have voted when he ran for president

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( – Secretary of State John Kerry on a visit to Britain this week largely sidestepped an invitation to comment on the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, but did joke that he knew Europeans wished they could vote in the U.S. election – and added that he shared that wish, given his own presidential campaign in 2004.

As he took questions after an address to the Oxford Union at Oxford University on Wednesday, Kerry was asked, “What do you think has happened to America to enable the possibility of someone like Donald Trump being elected, and what do you think are the real threats of a Trump presidency to America’s foreign policy?”

Kerry replied that it was important that he not get into the campaign, although he did add that “it seems to me pretty fundamental that anybody running for president ought to be able to be declarative and clear and supportive of new energy policies that deal with climate change.”

“The American people are very capable in the end of making this decision,” he concluded. “There are five months to go. There’s been enormous amount of back and forth on it.”

“And I know you wish you could vote in Europe,” Kerry added. “Going back to 2004, so do I.”

Kerry, the Democratic nominee, ran against President George W. Bush in 2004, losing by a 51 percent to 48 percent margin in the popular vote.

During that campaign, polls of international opinion found strong preference for Kerry over Bush.

In one poll during the fall of 2004, respondents in 10 countries in Europe, Asia and North America were surveyed.

In only two of the ten countries, a majority favored Bush over Kerry: Israel (by a 26-point margin) and Russia (by a four-point margin).

The other eight went the other way, mostly by large margins preferring Kerry: In France, the outcome was Kerry 72 / Bush 16; in Britain it was Kerry 50 / Bush 22: and in Spain it was Kerry 58 / Bush 13.

The other five countries polled were South Korea (Kerry 68 / Bush 18), Canada (Kerry 60 / Bush 20), Mexico (Kerry 55 / Bush 20), Australia (Kerry 54 / Bush 28) and Japan (Kerry 51 / Bush 30).

During the campaign, Kerry was criticized for saying that a president’s decision to go to war should pass a “global test” of legitimacy.

After saying during a presidential debate that he would not cede the “the right to preempt in any way necessary, to protect the United States of America,” the Democratic nominee added that when the step was taken, “you’ve got to do it in a way that passes the, the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.”

Responding to the comments later, Bush said, “When our country is in danger, it is not the job of the president to take an international poll; it’s to defend our country.”

— Written by Patrick Goodenough