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Swift Boat ads roiling campaign waters (bias alert)
Philadelphia Inquirer ^ | August 23, 2004 | Dick Polman

Posted on 08/23/2004 8:50:40 AM PDT by rudy45

Considering the fact that George W. Bush never got closer to Vietnam than the Air National Guard, it is a testament to the shrewdness of his allies that they have managed to turn this presidential campaign into a referendum on the guy who actually went to war.

It probably doesn't matter that John Kerry's antagonists in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are demonstrably fact-challenged; as evidenced on the TV talk shows yesterday, they lack documentary proof for their most serious assertions, and, in many cases, their current ire toward Kerry has been undercut by their past praise.

What does matter is that they are generating buzz. What matters is that even though voters routinely condemn negative attacks, they remember the attacks. What matters is that the anti-Kerry vets are using the fog of war to sow doubts about Kerry's credibility and commander-in-chief credentials, seeking to sway the relatively few voters in swing states who have yet to make up their minds.

And every day this controversy dominates the news, Bush benefits. Thanks to the war in Iraq, he is no longer automatically perceived - outside his own devoted constituency - as a credible commander-in-chief, which is why it potentially helps his cause if supporters (with money and advice from top Texas Republicans) can paint the challenger as a risky replacement who is unfit for command.

Accordingly, Swift Boat member Van O'Dell charged yesterday on Fox News Sunday that Kerry is lying when he says he rescued a crewmate while under enemy fire.

O'Dell said, "I stand by it 100 percent" that there was no enemy fire. When Odell was told on the show that the official report cited enemy fire, and that the report was signed in 1969 by George Elliot, who is now a Swift Boat member, O'Dell replied that Kerry wrote the report to make himself look good.

But when O'Dell was asked if he had any proof that Kerry had written the report, he replied, "No, I do not."

Nor could he explain why a number of Swift Boat members had lavishly praised Kerry before his presidential bid. Why, for example, did retired veteran Adrian Lonsdale praise Kerry, in a 1996 video, as "among the finest of those Swift Boat drivers"? O'Dell replied: "I can't say what was in their hearts."

Nevertheless, they have exposed a Kerry embellishment. Kerry has insisted for years that he slipped over the Cambodian border on Christmas Eve in 1968, but, on the talk shows yesterday, even his staunchest defenders failed to back him up. John Hurley, a vet who works for Kerry, said only that Kerry "was five miles in Cambodia on a different occasion" and that the details had become "confused."

Voters may ultimately question whether this rehash is warranted, particularly in the midst of a new war. But even some Democrats acknowledge that Kerry has invited these attacks - by virtually asking voters to judge him on the basis of his Vietnam record (as opposed to his Senate record, which he rarely mentions). He was invoking Vietnam as a measure of his toughness even before he ran; back in May 2002, he told The Inquirer in an interview: "I'm prepared to kill a terrorist... . I killed people in Vietnam."

And it's not exactly a secret that the seasoned Bush strategists, and their affiliates, are skilled at exploiting "the character issue." During the South Carolina GOP primary in 2000, they spread rumors that John McCain was too temperamental for the presidency, perhaps because of his stint as a Vietnam prisoner of war. And during the autumn campaign, they painted Al Gore as an untrustworthy serial exaggerator (with help from Gore, who had told a few whoppers over the years).

Now it is Kerry's turn. The Bush team says he is too temperamental for the presidency, because he looked "wild-eyed" and "completely unhinged" when he responded last week to the Swift Boat attacks. One Bush spokesman said he was "losing his cool."

And, on the trust issue, conservative analyst William Kristol said yesterday on Fox News Sunday that "once one assertion turns out to be false, others get called into question."

Kristol was referring to Kerry's Christmas-in-Cambodia claim, and you can bet that the conservative Web sites will continue to frame that as a character issue. In fact, it just came up again on conservative talk-show host Hugh Hewitt's blog: "Kerry has been many different men... . Sybil as president, we don't need."

It's difficult, however, to determine whether swing voters will be swayed by the "Swifties," particularly since they believe that most politicians dissemble anyway. On the topic of wartime duty, Ronald Reagan used to insist that he had helped liberate Nazi concentration camps in 1945; in reality, he was making war films on the studio lot.

And many voters might dismiss these Vietnam vets as politically motivated after several new disclosures: It turns out that retired Col. Ken Cordier, who appears in a new Swift Boat TV ad, was working in the Bush campaign as a volunteer adviser on veterans issues; and that a Florida flyer, advertising two weekend rallies, listed the Swift Boat vets and the local Bush campaign as cosponsors. (The Bush campaign has dumped Cordier, and says it has no working ties to the vets.)

Not all Republicans are comfortable with the Swifties, either. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas told CBS's Face the Nation yesterday that he wanted to "put the Swift Boat controversy in dry dock... . I hope we can cease and desist, and move on to other issues." Even Ken Mehlman, the Bush campaign manager, when goaded on NBC yesterday about Bush's National Guard record, said, "We shouldn't be talking about Vietnam."

And conservative commentator Andrew Ferguson writes this week - in the Weekly Standard, Kristol's magazine - that it is "transparently desperate" to argue that a combat veteran is "inferior, morally and otherwise, to a man who had his father pull strings so he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam in the first place."

Perhaps the Swifties are just a summer squall. Perhaps Iraq and the economy will dominate the dialogue after the leaves turn. But the problem for Kerry at the moment is that even flawed enemies can inflict wounds. And by running a new TV ad that resurrects Kerry's stint as an antiwar activist in 1971, they can potentially impede his attempts to talk about 2004.

At this late date, the last thing Kerry wants is to be stuck on defense; as he told The Inquirer two years ago: "You don't want to spend all your time just explaining."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Contact staff writer Dick Polman at 215-854-4430 or dpolman@phillynews.com.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: ads; kerry; sbvt; swiftboatveterans; vanodell; vietnam
Did anyone see the O'Dell interview on Fox? Is the exchange being quoted out of context? I would think such a question would be a perfect time for the responder to challenge Kerrry to release all of his records.
1 posted on 08/23/2004 8:50:41 AM PDT by rudy45
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To: rudy45
"they lack documentary proof for their most serious assertions"

They are merely eye-witnesses.

2 posted on 08/23/2004 8:52:54 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Truth : Liberal as Kryptonite : Superman)
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To: rudy45

"they lack documentary proof for their most serious assertions"

that is the nature of eye witness they do not have documentary evidence!


3 posted on 08/23/2004 8:53:46 AM PDT by bilhosty
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To: rudy45
All that John has to do to shut the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth up is sign an SF-180 to release his military personnel record to the public.

How hard is that?

4 posted on 08/23/2004 8:54:48 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: rudy45

Dick Polman should read the book.


5 posted on 08/23/2004 8:54:54 AM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: rudy45
Considering the fact that George W. Bush never got closer to Vietnam than the Air National Guard

Gee, I wasn't aware that when a country is at war EVERY SINGLE SERVICEMAN heads off to that theatre leaving the home country completely without protection?

6 posted on 08/23/2004 8:55:51 AM PDT by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: rudy45
President Bush didn't start this fight, isn't in this fight, and probably doesn't want to be in this fight.

Sen Kerry started this, and figured that because Vietnam happened a long time ago that the crap he foisted on the American Veterans long ago would be forgotten about.

Actually, what happened is that the boil that has been festering on my butt for 35 years came to life all on it's own, encouraged when this hero wanna-be made his 4 1/2 or 16 1/2 months of Vietnam service the central point of his presidential campaign, ignoring all of the years he was in Congress.

This is an open invitation to ALL FReepers, veteran or not, Vietnam era or not. Please join us on September 12th as we tell the world that John Kerry was a liar and traitor then, just as he is a liar and traitor now

KERRY LIED . . . while good men died

A gathering of Vietnam veterans from across America

John Kerry told the world we were war criminals who raped, tortured and murdered in Vietnam. Now, thirty-three years later, we will tell America the truth.

Where: Upper Senate Park, Washington, D.C. It is easy to get to, shady and pretty, with a great view of the Capitol dome in back of the speaker's platform. THIS IS A NEW LOCATION AS OF 7/17/04

When: Sunday, Sept 12, 2004 2:00-4:00 PM (EDT)

Why: To tell the truth about Vietnam veterans and to counter the lies told about Vietnam veterans by John Kerry

All Vietnam veterans and their families and supporters are asked to attend. Other veterans are invited as honored guests.

Link to Printable Flier

If you are in DC on the 11th, look for the National March Against Terror.

Link to NMAT Website

In God We Trust…..Semper Fi!

7 posted on 08/23/2004 8:57:14 AM PDT by North Coast Conservative (Never Take a Gun to a Gunfight That Is Less Than .40 Cal)
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To: Brad Cloven

Indeed. They are eyewitnesses to events that occurred in a combat zone. Unlike some people, they never thought to bring along a video recorder to the battlefield.


8 posted on 08/23/2004 8:57:18 AM PDT by Freemyland
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To: claudiustg

Polman's a Dem hack.


9 posted on 08/23/2004 8:59:01 AM PDT by dirtboy (Forget Berger's socks - has ANYONE searched his skin folds for classified documents?)
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To: rudy45
It probably doesn't matter that John Kerry's antagonists in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are demonstrably fact-challenged;

Only by documents that were authored by Kerry or were the results of other documents based on Kerry's accounts.

they lack documentary proof for their most serious assertions, and, in many cases, their current ire toward Kerry has been undercut by their past praise.

Actually their past praise just shows they are not partisan hacks. They defend Kerry when he is unfairly attacked and they attack Kerry when Kerry spews lies.

10 posted on 08/23/2004 8:59:20 AM PDT by Always Right
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To: rudy45

This is an admission that the Swiftees are killing Kerry at the moment. It galls the liberal reporter to no end. Love it.


11 posted on 08/23/2004 9:00:04 AM PDT by Elvis van Foster
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To: claudiustg

dpolman@phillynews.com


12 posted on 08/23/2004 9:00:16 AM PDT by jimbo123
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To: rudy45

BUMP FOR THE SUPPORT OF SWIFT VETS HERE... http://www.swiftvets.com/


13 posted on 08/23/2004 9:00:59 AM PDT by freddiedavis
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To: rudy45
It's difficult, however, to determine whether swing voters will be swayed by the "Swifties,"

No, it's not, Polman. Polls show Kerry getting skinned in the swing voter category, especially among veterans.

14 posted on 08/23/2004 9:01:30 AM PDT by dirtboy (Forget Berger's socks - has ANYONE searched his skin folds for classified documents?)
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To: rudy45

Is John Hurley also the spokesman for Boston's Unitarian Universalists who cannot decide whether polyamory is right or wrong? See link....

http://www.marriagedebate.com/mdblog/2004_04_18_mdblog_archive.htm


15 posted on 08/23/2004 9:02:56 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Truth : Liberal as Kryptonite : Superman)
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To: rudy45
they can potentially impede his attempts to talk about 2004.

Polman, you ass, Kerry is the one who made his four months in Vietnam a centerpiece of his qualifications for office. He even told a lie about his service in his acceptance speech - that he stayed when others fled, when the opposite was true. So Kerry is the one who put this into play, and all your lies through ommission won't change that.

16 posted on 08/23/2004 9:03:31 AM PDT by dirtboy (Forget Berger's socks - has ANYONE searched his skin folds for classified documents?)
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To: Brad Cloven

John Hurley lives out in Wellesley, where they believe in gold. Last I was there they had three goldsmiths, and it's not a large town.


17 posted on 08/23/2004 9:08:25 AM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: rudy45
PHOTO PROOF

Confirmation of Kerry Xmas Tour on Mekong River in Cambodia: "Jeeves...Bring! It On!"

Even if it was not in 1968 and not with currently known crew members, it is proof HE WAS THERE never the less.
18 posted on 08/23/2004 9:18:51 AM PDT by drpix
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To: rudy45
" guy who actually went to war"

He didn't go to war! He was trying to find a stage to build himself as a patriot. He used his cunning to find any safe place to sit for his tour. When the Gridley decided to dump him, he thought he would put in for another safe place, the SwiftBoats that were patrolling outside of the fighting zone. He got fooled when the Navy decided to put the boats in the various deltas. Being the cunning jacka$$ he is, he now contrived to set up his political agenda and in 4 and 1/2 months he "managed" to get 3 purple hearts that really didn't bled more than a drop (rose bush type wound) and two metals that he wrote up the engagement report himself. What a hero?!!!!!!!!
19 posted on 08/23/2004 9:21:02 AM PDT by Logical me (Oh, well!!!!)
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To: rudy45

O'Neil will be on Rush Limbaugh today at 1:00 ET


20 posted on 08/23/2004 9:21:55 AM PDT by Spunky ("Everyone has a freedom of choice, but not of consequences.")
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To: rudy45

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1197461/posts

HILL TO HEAD KERRY 'TRUTH SQUAD' (Kerry Cries for Hillary's Help)
Yahoo News/ New York Post Opt/ED | Aug 23, 2004 | Fredric U. Dicker


Posted on 08/23/2004 8:39:49 AM PDT by Conservative_boy_in_Bangkok


By FREDRIC U. DICKER

JOHN KERRY'S presidential campaign, which slighted Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (news - web sites) during the Democratic convention last month, now wants the former first lady to lead its "truth squad" at next week's GOP convention, The Post has learned.

Party insiders said that aides to Clinton were engaged in "intensive talks" over the weekend with Kerry's representatives about the role she is expected to play.

"It will be high profile; she will be one of the responders at the convention, probably focusing on homeland security issues," said a source familiar with the talks. "I think it's fair to say the Kerry people realize Mrs. Clinton could be very effective."

Another insider said, "It's ironic that after they snubbed her in Boston, they now want to use her in New York." ...(Snip)

To make the Lunatic Libs even more pathetic and insane, donate to the Swiftvets.com to buy more ads.

https://www.swiftvets.com/swift/ccdonation.php?op=donate&site=SwiftVets


21 posted on 08/23/2004 9:25:30 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (https://www.swiftvets.com/swift/ccdonation.php?op=donate&site=SwiftVets)
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To: rudy45
To: Dick Polman

Hey, Dick, guarding the United States was part of the Cold War. By Kerry's own post-war propaganda, Vietnam was us interfering in a civil war. So only one of the candidates actually defended us and it wasn't Waffle Man.

Dick, it wasn't Bush shrewdness that made this all about Vietnam. It was Kerry. His campaign realized they have an empty suit so they decided to make the election a referendum on Vietnam 35 years ago. Amazing that there's so little since then that Ketchup Boy can cite as accomplishments.

Dick, please don't pass off the whiney,Democrat talking points as your own column. The SBVTs accuse Kerry of doctoring Navy records to win medals. The best his campaign can come up with is "all the Navy records support Kerry". Well he wrote them. BTW, when will we see ALL the Navy records? Thanks, Dick.

22 posted on 08/23/2004 9:26:06 AM PDT by Dilbert56
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To: Brad Cloven
I sent the following e-mail to Polman:

I wanted to drop you a line and tell you conservatives do regard Pres. Bush as a great Commander in Chief. I fear you have come down with HBAAT (hate bush at all times). This condition is known to alter the sufferer's perceptions. For example, it is quite clear that Kerry lied about Cambodia. It is also clear that Kerry has something to hide-he won't sign the 180 and release all records. Why not investigate whether the Swift Boat charges are true? Now, that would be useful. If - as you claim- the Swifties are lying than you could disprove these charges once and for all. If you find, as I believe, they are telling the truth, you could follow longstanding media policy-ignore any/all truths that hurt Democrats and other assorted leftists. Of course there is no dispute about Kerry's treasonous activities after he returned from Vietnam. He lied to Congress, admitted to being a war criminal (what's the statue of limitations?), attended meetings where the assassination of Senators (some of whom he probably served with later) was discussed, went to Paris (still in the Navy reserves) and met with the Vietcong (enemy), attended anti-war rallies, threw his/someone else's medals away or was it ribbons? He has flip- flopped so often, I can remember the latest version. It doesn't really matter because treason is...well treason. No thinking person (defined as those not suffering from HBAAT) would wish to see this serial liar as President of the United States-God forbid!
23 posted on 08/23/2004 9:33:31 AM PDT by nyconse
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To: Freemyland

The only guy's who had 8mm Movie Cameras or other type of Video Recording equiptment in combat areas in Nam were TV
crews,News Reporters, and REMF's. Period.

John F'n Kerry is a total,Full Tilt PHONEY.


24 posted on 08/23/2004 9:38:44 AM PDT by Pompah (The price of greatness is responsibility)
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To: rudy45

George W. Bush has made NO assertions on the quality of service John Kerry gave to his country while in the US Navy in Viet Nam. Nothing. Not one word. Bush has, in fact, stated that Kerry's tour of Viet Nam is "Honorable", and Kerry was honorably discharged when released from active duty and reserves.

Some Navy veterans who served alongside Kerry, and were in position to observe his day-to-day behavior, have puzzled why a rather mediocre Naval officer seemed to be so inept and seemingly insubordinate. Kerry was a discipline problem, and if an enlisted man had shown such truculence, probably would have been discharged as "unfit for service". But there is a higher code for officers, and the handling of insubordination is usually done behind closed doors. There is, unofficially, a policy of treating "political" officers differently from Academy graduate officers. "Political" officers are frequently simply admonished, and removed to some rear assignment, until such time as there is a face-saving way to get them separated from service. Regular Academy Officers are expected to resign "for the good of the service" and their service jackets are retired, safe from prying eyes.

And there these records would remain. Only by the separated officer's signature on a DD Form 180, would the records be released in response to any FOIA request. There is a tacit agreement with the US Navy, that if the vet separated under uncertain conditions does not talk about it, then it is nobody's business what is in those records. The service records are sacrosanct.

But in this case, the veteran HAS chosen to talk about his record, and there seem to be serious discrepancies between what is asserted by John Kerry, and what his peers remember of the episodes that Kerry holds up as examples of his personal achievements. Any objective person cannot go to the record, because John Kerry will not permit their release.


25 posted on 08/23/2004 9:50:48 AM PDT by alloysteel
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To: rudy45
Did anyone see the O'Dell interview on Fox? Is the exchange being quoted out of context?

Yes and yes.

Odell pointed out he doesn't have a written document. He does have seven (7) eyewitnesses that back up his story. He pointed out that Kerry wrote the action report that the official documents are based on.

As to the beginning of the article where the writer asserts that it is the Bush allies that turned this into a referendum on the guy who actually went to war, uh, that would be Kerry who did that.

26 posted on 08/23/2004 9:58:35 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: rudy45
The Ferguson quote is used in a misleading manner.

Republicans have no such luck this time, and so they scramble to reassure themselves that they nevertheless are doing the right thing, voting against a war hero. The simplest way to do this is to convince themselves that the war hero isn't really a war hero. If sufficient doubt about Kerry's record can be raised, we can vote for Bush without remorse. But the calculations are transparently desperate. Reading some of the anti-Kerry attacks over the last several weeks, you might conclude that this is the new conservative position: A veteran who volunteered for combat duty, spent four months under fire in Vietnam, and then exaggerated a bit so he could go home early is the inferior, morally and otherwise, of a man who had his father pull strings so he wouldn't have to go to Vietnam in the first place.

Needless to say, the proposition will be a hard sell in those dim and tiny reaches of the electorate where voters have yet to make up their minds. Indeed, it's far more likely that moderates and fence-sitters will be disgusted by the lengths to which partisans will go to discredit a rival. But this anti-Kerry campaign is not designed to win undecided votes. It's designed to reassure uneasy minds.

27 posted on 08/23/2004 9:58:46 AM PDT by moni kerr (Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way)
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To: rudy45

I don't have documentary proof as to what I had for breakfast this morning. Guess I didn't eat.


28 posted on 08/23/2004 10:00:16 AM PDT by william clark
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To: Logical me

OK, let me try to get this straight.

Kerry comes home from Viet Nam, and in testifying about the bad stuff that went on, demeans ALL Viet Nam veterans. That point has been made many times here on this forum.

The Swift Boat Vets claim that Kerry simply wrote reports that ended up with his getting his various medals. Who knew it was so easy to get Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars? All someone has to do is write a report. How do the Swifties not demean every medal holder with their claim that it was so easy to get those medals?

I'm serious. I don't get it.


29 posted on 08/23/2004 10:01:19 AM PDT by dmz
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
No. That is not all he needs to do, unless the records would reubut the SBVT's charges against Kerry.

If these records helped him, he would have already signed teh form and released ALL of his records, rather than a carefully selected few.

But I imagine you and I agree on this, anyway.

30 posted on 08/23/2004 10:01:57 AM PDT by Montfort
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To: dmz

"All someone has to do is write a report. How do the Swifties not demean every medal holder with their claim that it was so easy to get those medals?"

because most medal awardees didn't initiate the process. there is a presupposition of honor here which they're saying the "boston strangler" didn't exhibit.
(btw, the quoted phrase was his call sign)


31 posted on 08/23/2004 1:53:43 PM PDT by kallisti (just a rest stop on the way to mount pyle)
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