Robert Novak

 In his Philadelphia speech Sept. 24, Kerry declared: "All you have to do is ask Gen. Tommy Franks how surprised he was that those troops moved out of there (Afghanistan) when he was trying to do the job he was doing." As a former trial lawyer, Kerry should have known the answer to the question he was asking. He could have known by reading Franks' best-selling memoir ("American Solider"), in which the general denies that Bush starved Afghanistan for the sake of Iraq.

 "President Bush had stressed his concern that we maintain momentum in Afghanistan," wrote Franks (who supports the president's re-election). Indeed, when Kerry in a Sept. 21 press conference in Jacksonville, Fla., suggested that Bush had taken needed troops out of Afghanistan, Franks that very day said in an ABC radio interview with Sean Hannity: "That's absolutely incorrect."

 One day after Kerry misrepresented the former Central Command commander in chief, the Associated Press reported that the candidate at West Palm Beach, Fla., "raised the possibility" of a reinstated draft. That is an old saw on the Internet even though there are no such plans at the Pentagon. The only advocates of renewed conscription are liberal Democrats, led by Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York, who believe it would discourage U.S. military intervention around the world.

 Earlier, on Sept. 8 in Cincinnati, Kerry put the blame on Bush for higher Medicare premiums. In fact, health care experts told me, the premiums were mandated by a 1997 codification of the law on which Sen. Kerry cast a favorable vote.

 On Jan. 8, 1976, I wrote a column detailing six major untruthful statements by Jimmy Carter -- about himself, not his opponents -- during two public appearances. He went on to the presidency without ever refuting what I wrote. It will be interesting to see whether John Kerry follows the Carter model during the four weeks left for this campaign.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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