Swiftboat Veterans for "Truth"

By Stephen W. Stromerg
Published August 5, 2004 3:28PM (EDT)

A new ad out from the Bush-backing Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, a 527 group out to attack John Kerry's Vietnam war record, looks to be particularly vicious. Kerry, by all reliable accounts a war hero, takes heat from other swiftboat vets in the 60-second spot. "When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry," one says. Others continue with "John Kerry is no war hero" and "John Kerry cannot be trusted."

Maybe it's just Silver Star envy. Or more likely, it's just another arrow dispatched from the Right's anti-Kerry quiver. The Kerry campaign was quick to point out that none of the men denouncing Kerry's service in Vietnam actually served with the former Lieutenant. Of the six men who did serve on the swiftboat Kerry commanded, five support his candidacy and one is deceased. And Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, it turns out, is flush with money from Republican activists.

John McCain, for one, thinks the new ad is despicable. The Associated Press reports today:

"Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service 'dishonest and dishonorable' and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well.

"'It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me,' McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, referring to his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush.

"The ad, scheduled to air in a few markets in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, was produced by Stevens, Reed, Curcio and Potham, the same team that produced McCain's ads in 2000.

"'I wish they hadn't done it,' McCain said of his former advisers. 'I don't know if they knew all the facts.'

"Asked if the White House knew about the ad or helped find financing for it, McCain said, 'I hope not, but I don't know. But I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad.'"

The ball is in your court, Mr. President.

Stephen W. Stromerg

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