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John Kerry defends Americans’ ‘right to be stupid’ a day after inventing country named Kyrzakhstan


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to a reporter’s question during a joint news conference with Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague, not seen, following their meeting in central London, Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. This is the first overseas trip for the U.S. Secretary of State in his new role. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, pool)

Secretary of State John Kerry — who recently made international headlines for inventing a country — has again drawn attention for questionable remarks, this time to a group of German students.

Mr. Kerry, while speaking in Berlin on Tuesday, asserted that in the United States “you have a right to be stupid if you want to be.”

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He didn’t stop there.

“People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another,” he said, according to Reuters. “The reason is, that’s freedom. In America … you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.

America just sloughs through it all, he said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gives a statement after meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on Feb, 26, 2013. (Associated Press/dpa, Maurizio Gambarini)

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gives a statement after meeting with ... more >

“And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that,” he said.

This is Mr. Kerry’s first official overseas jaunt since becoming secretary of state. On the eve of his trip, he mangled the names of countries Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, creating the flub “Kyrzakhstan.”

He has several stops left on his diplomatic trip. Next up: Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha, Reuters reports.

About the Author

Cheryl K. Chumley

Cheryl Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She’s also a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation. She can be reached at

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