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Koppel to Kerry: Can the comedy

John Kerry's bungled joke on the Iraq war clearly didn't hurt the Democrats on election night. But take it from Ted Koppel, he's no George Carlin.

"Kerry should steer clear of comedy. It ain't his gig," Koppel told unclebarky.com in a telephone interview Thursday. "He just shouldn't be allowed to crack a smile anymore."

Koppel, who's readying a two-hour special on Iran for the Discovery Channel, also spent considerable time embedded with U.S. troops while still with ABC's Nightline. The volunteer Army is "one of the best I've ever seen," he said. "Well-educated, smart, tough. But they're over-burdened."

Kerry took a pasting from Republicans and Democrats alike when he recently said at a college rally, "Education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

The Massachusetts senator later apologized, saying he had blown a joke aimed at President Bush. Koppel believes him.

"It's insane for anyone to say that John Kerry would deliberately trash the U.S. military," he said. "Apart from his own military record, he's a politician. And politicians know better than that. So I truly am prepared to believe that he just made a terrible mistake. I think now it's over, as probably are his presidential ambitions."

Koppel's Iran -- The Most Dangerous Nation, his second documentary for Discovery, is scheduled to premiere on Nov. 19. More on that later, but for clips, go here.