WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry missed most of the public hearings of the Senate Intelligence Committee during his eight years on the panel, according to his colleagues.

During his tenure on the committee, which provides oversight of national intelligence agencies, Kerry was absent for 38 of 49 public hearings, according to Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

“There’s been a total avoidance of discussion of the voting record of John Kerry,” said Chambliss last week, following Kerry’s acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination. “But that’s not surprising. There’s one area that he claims to have a lot of expertise and that’s in the area of national security and on the issue of terrorism.”

Chambliss said Kerry’s vice presidential candidate, John Edwards, is a current member of the committee, “And I’ll just tell you that in the last year and a half we haven’t seen a whole lot of his running mate. And I would hope that he would agree to release to you the record of his attendance at meetings and hearings of the Senate Intelligence Committee over the last year and a half, or his total service on that committee.”

Chambliss also questioned some of the votes Kerry did cast.

“For example, in1993 after the World Trade Center bombing Senator Kerry introduced a number of measures that were to reduce funding for the intelligence community by $7.5 billion, including a bill that he introduced in 1995 that called for the reduction in funding for the intelligence committees and intelligence communities by $300 million a year for five consecutive years,” he said.

Chambliss points out those five years led up to Sept. 11. Kerry did not get any co-sponsors on that bill.

“He’s been in the Senate for 20 years,” said Chambliss. “Nobody has come to the platform to say, ‘This is what John Kerry has done in his 20 years in the Senate.’ They’re not doing that because they can’t do that.”

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