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Bring it On: The Swift Boat Vets’ second ad

There is no question that the Swift Boat Vets’ ads are taking their toll on the Kerry campaign. Kerry wanted to make his Vietnam service the point around which his campaign would revolve, and his opponents have made Kerry’s actions and speeches after he got back from the war the issue. Kerry has already lost this costly battle. How he thought he would get away with it is a mystery to me. Take a look at the new ad the Swift Boat vets have put out. This is the ad that has been all over TV yesterday (although it won’t be used until next week.) A very serious ad, even better than the first, and is based on Kerry 1971 Senate Foreign Relations testimony. In the meantime some Vietnam vets in Viet Nam have come out in support of Kerry. I do not understand how Vets in Vietnam are supposed to be helpful to Kerry. This sends, shall we say, mixed signals. Glenn Reynolds thinks they may be working for Karl Rove! NRO has put out Kerry’s 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Read the whole thing by clicking here. Also take a look at Fred Barnes’ very good article in the latest Weekly Standard, "The Bloody Shirt is Back." He is very presuasive in arguing that this remarkable attempt on Kerry’s part to show his wounds (compare this JFK not doing it, or Ike, or George Bush senior) might backfire. I say it will.

And take note of Bill Kristol’s piece in the same issue. Powerful. His last two paragraphs:
"John Kerry was hostile, to say the least, to the exercise of American power in 1971. He remained so for the next three decades. John Kerry was critical--to say the least--of America’s claims to moral leadership as a nation in 1971. He has remained so ever since. More than any presidential candidate since George McGovern, John Kerry is a creature of the anti-Vietnam war movement. His entire public career makes clear that he was and is--and I use this term descriptively, not pejoratively--a McGovernite. The difference is that George McGovern acknowledged this. John Kerry doesn’t.

Another difference is that McGovern had the decency not to tout his war medals. Nor did McGovern claim to be "reporting to duty" when he made his case for the presidency. By indulging in that gesture, Kerry turned a spotlight on his Vietnam-era actions and invited scrutiny he may come to regret. Kerry’s attempt now to suppress this debate will not work. In effect, and without intending it, Kerry invited his fellow veterans to ’bring it on.’ So they have."

Discussions - 6 Comments

I was pretty skeptical of the SBV stuff, but this ad is devastating. It is devastating because it uses Kerry’s Congressional testimony.

The Swift Boat group also was being challenged by a Chicago Tribune editor who was on the Feb. 28, 1969, mission for which Kerry received the Silver Star. William Rood, 61, said he decided to break his silence about the mission because recent reports of Kerry’s actions in that battle are incorrect and darken the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry.

"The critics have taken pains to say they’re not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us," Rood said in a 1,700-word first-person account published in Sunday’s edition of the Tribune. "It’s gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there."

Rood said the allegations that Kerry’s accomplishments were overblown are untrue and that Kerry came up with an attack strategy that was praised by their superiors. According to the Tribune, Rood’s recollection of what happened that day in South Vietnam was backed by military documents.

The ad is pretty effective at making Kerry look bad because it uses his testimony. It is Kerry speaking.

Hey HA, why doesn’t Kerry release his military records?

The first Swift Boat ad seems very effective. Everything about the second ad suggests that it, too, is very effective.

The screams of the Democratic would-be censors should tell us all we need to know: It’s good stuff and may even prove to be the turning point of the campaign.

One quibble with the vets: Today’s LA Times reports that the second ad is running only in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and New Mexico. Bad tactic, if true.
If other reports are accurate, the first ad did not run in Florida although it did run in Ohio. It is questionable to run an ad in Pennsylvania if it hasn’t run or won’t run in Florida. Florida and Ohio are the two most important states by far. Nevada and New Mexico are too small to matter. While they might not be able to afford a big-market ad in Florida, they should run a small-market ad. The key is not so much how many people see the ad, especially since folks around the country are getting exposure due to news coverage. The is where the actual ad runs. Influencing 1,000 votes in Florida is far better than influencing 5,000 votes in Nevada.

I was reading over John Kerry’s 1971 Senate testimony AGAIN and something caught my eye. From John Kerry’s mouth:
"I have been to Paris. I have talked with both delegations at the peace talks, that is to say the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government and of all eight of Madam Binh’s points it has been stated time and time again, and was stated by Senator Vance Hartke when he returned from Paris, and it has been stated by many other officials of this Government, if the United States were to set a date for withdrawal the prisoners of war would be returned".
Isn’t this illegal? John Kerry COULD NOT act as a representative of the US,... he was STILL in the NAVY.
What about this?

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