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Dan Rather, Terry McAuliffe and those phony papers [Dems say their plot is working]
The Hill ^ | 9/15/04 | BYRON YORK

Posted on 09/15/2004 4:44:25 PM PDT by Brilliant

Dan Rather may have trouble finding supporters these days, but he’s always got one at 430 S. Capitol St.

That’s the address of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), where on Tuesday DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe called in the press to unveil what he called “Operation: Fortunate Son.”

A prominent part of McAuliffe’s new campaign is a video that details the ways in which George W. Bush allegedly received preferential treatment in the Texas Air National Guard.

It’s the standard anti-Bush line. “Where was he?” the narrator asks of the future president. “And why did he miss his physical? This son of privilege. This fortunate son.”

McAuliffe’s video includes a clip from the now-notorious CBS “60 Minutes” program in which Rather relied on apparently forged documents said to have been written by Bush’s superior officer. CBS quickly asked the Democrats to remove the network’s footage from the video — which seemed counterproductive, since McAuliffe’s was the biggest vote of confidence Rather has gotten lately.

The conventional wisdom is that the latest attack on Bush — the one-two punch of the CBS report and McAuliffe’s offensive — is the result of the devastatingly effective anti-Kerry ads aired by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

But it was going on before that.

Back on July 20 — before the Swift boat campaign got under way — McAuliffe held a conference call with reporters to announce that, from that day forward, Democrats would devote a great deal of time and energy to exposing Bush’s Guard record.

“It is time Bush came clean with the American people about what he was doing during the Vietnam War,” McAuliffe said.

At the time, it seemed a little odd. The Guard issue had been thoroughly aired during the Democratic primaries, when McAuliffe called the president “AWOL,” and filmmaker Michael Moore — perhaps the most popular Democrat among the party’s base — called him a “deserter.”

The issue flared again briefly in April, when Kerry himself took a few whacks at Bush’s service.

But in July, things seemed quiet on the military-records front. There were few Democratic attacks on Bush’s service, and no Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on Kerry.

That’s why McAuliffe’s announcement seemed a bit out of place. On the conference call, McAuliffe made it clear that he intended to press the issue every day of the campaign.

He even announced the creation of a new website, Fast forward to Tuesday. “Bush has stubbornly refused to come clean” about his record, McAuliffe said as he unveiled “Operation: Fortunate Son.”

Of course, this time there’s a new context for McAuliffe’s charges, and that is the ongoing scandal over the apparently phony “60 Minutes” documents.

One might think that the scandal could prove a problem for Democrats, undermining one of their main avenues of attack against Bush. But not for McAuliffe.

In “Fortunate Son,” Democrats included clips from the discredited CBS broadcast after it had been discredited. The DNC is simply pretending that didn’t happen.

It’s sometimes remarked that McAuliffe is a roaring hypocrite on the Vietnam issue because he so ardently defended his friend Bill Clinton, who actively avoided service in any branch of the military during Vietnam. But a look at the Nexis database reveals that for much of his time in the DNC chairman’s office, McAuliffe has in fact lain low on the issue.

He didn’t say much about it during the Clinton years — unlike, say Kerry, who loudly defended Clinton’s non-service. McAuliffe didn’t say much about Vietnam during the 2000 campaign of Al Gore, who went to Vietnam as an Army journalist.

And McAuliffe remained quiet during the months in which it appeared that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who spent some of the Vietnam years skiing out West, would be the party’s nominee.

Only in recent times has McAuliffe found his voice on Vietnam.

Given the CBS scandal, now might not seem the right time for McAuliffe to press the issue. But Democrats think they have a winner.

“I do think it’s working,” top DNC official Howard Wolfson said Tuesday when asked about the Democratic attack on Bush’s service. “There was a Newsweek poll that came out this week that showed that the president lost 10 points in his credibility numbers in one week since these issues about his service began.”

And that, of course, is what it’s all about. The CBS memos are forgeries? Who cares? They did the job.

Democrats might call it tit for tat after the Swift Boat episode. But those veterans were real — not anonymous — people with real stories who served with Kerry and are now offering themselves up for public scrutiny.

They’ve taken a beating, but in the process have raised real questions about some — but by no means all — of Kerry’s service record.

The author of the CBS memos should face questions, too — if only we knew who he was.

Byron York is a White House correspondent for National Review. His column appears in The Hill each week. E-mail:

TOPICS: Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: ads; bush; byronyork; cbsnews; coordination; dnc; fortunateson; kerry; kerrystrategy; killian; mcauliffe; rather; sbv; tang
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To: Brilliant
Here's something I'd like to know:

Where was Terry McAuliffe during the Vietnam War?

41 posted on 09/16/2004 5:29:46 AM PDT by wai-ming
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To: avant_garde
Copies of blank SF180 forms are available at this site:

Anybody who might be able to attend one of Kerry's appearances should download, print, bring, and try to present to the candidate the blank form. Oh, doing so within the reach of a camera and/or reporter wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Hey, Dan. You want documents? I've got your documents right here!

42 posted on 09/16/2004 5:30:56 AM PDT by katana
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To: katana

Yeah, the "plot" is working. What little illusions credibility CBS and the DNC once had, now errased!

43 posted on 09/16/2004 5:33:41 AM PDT by z3n
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To: ambrose

Don't forget John Kerry is suppose to "speak" to the National Guard today.

44 posted on 09/16/2004 5:36:25 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: z3n

Dems Take Chance With 'Fortunate Son' Slam

Democrats Taking a Chance on 'Fortunate Son' Criticism of President Bush's Guard Records

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON Sept. 9, 2004 — Seizing on 30-year-old memos and memories, Sen. John Kerry's operatives are painting an unflattering portrait of President Bush as the "fortunate son" who used family connections to dodge the Vietnam War and then lied about it.

But even some sympathetic Democrats say voters won't be easily swayed, and they fear the controversy will deflect attention from Bush's biggest vulnerabilities: the Iraq war and the economy.

The challenge for Kerry is to talk about issues that matter to voters today health care, education, jobs and the war while his allies at the Democratic National Committee do the dirty work. The DNC's goal: convince voters that Bush string-pulling in the Texas Air National Guard is part of a pattern of elitism, lies and lack of credibility that stretches to the White House.

"Two things: One, he didn't tell the truth and that's not going to go away," said Howard Wolfson, a strategist dispatched to the DNC by Kerry's campaign to go negative on Bush. "Second, it begins to paint a picture of a very fortunate son who uses connections and pulls strings for special favors. That is a theme running through the man's life."

The DNC has nicknamed its effort "Operation Fortunate Son" after a Creedence Clearwater Revival anti-war anthem from the 1960s. The song speaks of the privileged few, "born silver spoon in hand," who send others to war.

Bush is not the "senator's son" written about in the song, but he's the son of a former president who served in the House during the Vietnam War.


This time, Democrats are pressing media organizations to dig deeper while Kerry and his team make a broader argument about Bush's credibility and character. He misled the nation into war against Iraq, Kerry says. There are no weapons of mass destruction, no broad alliance as promised.

Bush promised fiscal discipline but ran up the debt. He promised education reforms but didn't pay for the changes. He promised to lower the price of prescription drugs, but the costs are higher so say Democrats trying to make 30-year-old records relevant to this year's campaign.

"This is not about George Bush's service. It is about who he is and why he lied and continues to lie today," Wolfson said. "These guys are knee-deep in the big muddy."

Kerry focused on health care Thursday, declining to address the controversy, both in an interview with The Associated Press and when a crowd member mentioned her military service number. "That's something you never forget," Kerry said, prompting another audience member to shout, "George did!"

"Well," Kerry said, "moving on."

Some Democrats wish he would do just that move on to Iraq, the economy and domestic issues that traditionally favor Democrats. Polls show Bush opening a lead over Kerry nationally and in key states, causing a rash of second-guessing.

Democratic strategist Dane Strother noted that Kerry has sharpened his message in recent days, accusing Bush of squandering money in Iraq that could improve lives at home. "That's a very salient argument," he said, "but it's getting overshadowed by Vietnam."

Other Democrats, including a top Kerry adviser and a Midwest governor, said the strategy, combined with Bush's own negative tactics, could lead undecided voters not to vote and most of them lean toward Kerry.

The senior Democrats spoke on condition of anonymity, not wanting to upset Kerry. Voters are not so shy.

"I'm not interested in Bush's military service or what he did back when," said Cara Easterly, a 37-year-old health care worker in Everett, Wash. The undecided voter said, "I only want to know how they're going to take care of us."

Sue Docekal, 49, a graphics artist in Seattle, said Bush "is clearly a hypocrite" on the Guard issues, "but what's that got to do with my vote?"

45 posted on 09/16/2004 5:42:00 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: Brilliant

Terry McAuliffe is possibly the biggest dunder head in American politics today. The only reason the DNC didn't can him after 2002 is because he is former President Clinton's crony. As for Dan Rather, he has a well known history of hating the Bushes. I still remember him being rude to former President Bush during an interview while the 1988 Presidential campaign was going on. Rather is such a gutless coward to initially brush off claims of fraudulent document claims and instead say President Bush needs to answer questions. The truth is people are tired of hearing about what happened 35 years ago. President Bush has said he was irresposible when he was younger. In truth Sen. Kerry was too, but his pride and ego obstruct him from admitting this to voters. Yet I still don't believe there is compelling evidence that Bush received preferential treatment. Bush has some enemies in Texas. I think many are still angered by the fact that he unseated former Gov. Ann Richards.

46 posted on 09/16/2004 5:45:03 AM PDT by miloklancy (The biggest problem with the Democrats is that they are in office.)
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To: Brilliant
Tue Aug 12 13:50:56 2003

Bush Biographer J.H. Hatfield Who Died 2 Years Ago of an Alleged Suicide Amidst Controversy Over his Book Fortunate Son

In the book Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President author J.H. Hatfield charges that President Bush was arrested in 1972 for cocaine possession and that Bush’s father George Sr. used his political connections to have his son’s record expunged.

Soon after publication, Hatfield’s credibility was challenged. He had been convicted in 1988 for hiring a hit-man in a failed attempt to kill his boss and had served five years in prison.(was convicted in 1988 of paying a hit man to car-bomb his boss).

J.H. Hatfield died of an alleged suicide in July 2001.

St. Martins Press promised to turn Fortunate Son into “furnace fodder.” It withdrew 70,000 copies from bookshelves and destroyed them.

In July 2001, Hatfield was found dead of an apparent suicide in a hotel room in Springdale, Arkansas. He was 43 years old. Police said he left notes for his family and friends that listed alcohol, financial problems and Fortunate Son as reasons for killing himself.

Hatfield discusses the Bush-Bin Laden connection in the interview which was conducted before Bush was elected President and well before the Sept. 11 attacks. The writer spent a year investigating Bush.

J. H. HATFIELD: Well he was also in the National Guard with George W. back in the 70’s which is interesting too because in 1972 in August, my publisher was able not too long ago to get hold of Bush’s national guard records. And in 1972, at the same time we alleged he was doing community service for cocaine arrest James Bath who was in the unit with him. Both of them were grounded for failing to show up for medical exam.

47 posted on 09/16/2004 6:06:36 AM PDT by kcvl
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IN THE wake of the controversy over J.H. Hatfield's Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President, Robert B. Wallace, editor in chief of St. Martin's Press, resigned yesterday (Wednesday, October 27, 1999).

Wallace, 48, who once worked for Rolling Stone and ABC News, has been editor in chief at St. Martin's for three years. He said the book was published under the imprint of Thomas Dunne, another editor at the company.

He is the same Thomas Dunne who in 1996 was forced to cancel the publication of a biography of Nazi propaganda overlord Joseph Goebbels, written by Holocaust denier David Irving, after early reviews denounced the book as misleading and "repellent." In that case, Dunne claimed that he didn't know that Irving, an English historian, frequently lectured on the "hoax" of the Holocaust and had been convicted of violating Germany's law against Holocaust denial.

In his resignation announcement, Robert Wallace said, "I do not in any way wish to have my name associated with 'Fortunate Son' or future books published by Thomas Dunne Books."

48 posted on 09/16/2004 6:10:53 AM PDT by kcvl
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Online Journal editor Bev Conover worked with Jim Hatfield during the last turbulent year of his life. Hatfield's detailed biography of Bush, "Fortunate Son,"


Burkett says he wasn’t pointing a finger, but trying to get Bush to release the pertinent documents in his military records

By Bev Conover

November 5, 2000—Texas National Guard Lt. Colonel (retired) Bill Burkett, in providing clarifications to published reports, says he was not pointing fingers but raising the question of whether Gov. George W. Bush, his aides, and other Guard officers were merely incompetent in their handling of Bush’s military records and trying to get Bush to order the release of the pertinent records: his payroll and retirement records, which would settle the question of whether he fulfilled his military obligation.

49 posted on 09/16/2004 6:20:47 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: austinaero

How can this be a lie? I guess the Kerry campaign needs to trot out an 86-year-old dementia patient to testify that the prisoners of war actually enjoyed having the Viet Cong play Kerry's testimony that they were war criminals.

O'Neill has challenged Kerry to sue them for libel. Kerry can't. They are telling the truth, and a lawsuit would open Kerry up to full disclosure.

50 posted on 09/16/2004 6:37:17 AM PDT by Samwise (Kerry's convoluted speaking style correlates with his convoluted thought processes.)
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To: wai-ming
Where was Terry McAuliffe during the Vietnam War?

He was too young to join to be drafted in the Vietnam War .. I think he is 46/47 years old

51 posted on 09/16/2004 8:30:15 AM PDT by Mo1 (Why is the MSM calling the Vietnam Vets and POW's a suspected group??)
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To: Mo1

bump for truth

52 posted on 09/22/2004 11:22:04 AM PDT by mabelkitty (Watch for a CBS employee in a trench coat going by DeepWord.....)
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To: mabelkitty


53 posted on 09/22/2004 11:25:39 AM PDT by mabelkitty (Watch for a CBS employee in a trench coat going by DeepWord.....)
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