Flipper Thrashes in the Water
Today John Kerry “struck back” against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Except that, well, he didn’t actually deal with one single substantive point: Kerry: Bush Lets Groups Do ‘Dirty Work’.
Defending his record, the Democratic presidential candidate said, “Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented my service in Vietnam and awarded me the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.”
“Thirty years ago, this was the plain truth. It still is. And I still carry the shrapnel in my leg from a wound in Vietnam.”
Kerry received five medals for his service in Vietnam a generation ago, but his record has come under campaign challenge in television commercials aired by “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” funded by supporters of the president.
Bush and the White House have refused to condemn the ads, despite calls to do so — from Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., a former Vietnam prisoner of war, as well as from Democrats.
Senior Democrats, including some inside the presidential campaign, have urged Kerry to respond forcefully to the criticism, fearing that if left unanswered, it could hamper his quest for the White House. …
“More than 30 years ago I learned an important lesson. When you’re under attack the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attack. That’s what I intend to do today.”
Speaking of the organization airing the ads that challenge his war record, Kerry said, “Of course, this group isn’t interested in the truth and they’re not telling the truth. …
”But here’s what you really need to know about them. They’re funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They’re a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won’t denounce what they’re up to tells you everything you need to know. He wants them to do his dirty work.“
Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt said, ”That charge leveled by Senator Kerry is absolutely and completely false.“
”The Bush campaign has never and will never question John Kerry’s service in Vietnam. The president has referred to John Kerry’s service as noble service,“ the Bush spokesman said.
Kerry said, ”Of course, the president keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: ‘Bring … it … on.’”
Even by Kerry’s low standards, that is one lame rebuttal.