August 23, 2004


Kerry Fires at Vietnam 'Smear' (Howard Kurtz, 8/22/04, Washington Post: Ad Watch)

Candidate: John F. Kerry

Images: U.S. soldiers on patrol; a long-haired worker; President Bush speaking; torn pages with the words "smears" and "lies"; John McCain against an American flag; split screen of Bush with Kerry as a rifle-carrying officer in Vietnam.

Time: 30 seconds

Audio: American soldiers are fighting in Iraq. Families struggle to afford health care. Jobs heading overseas. Instead of solutions, George Bush's campaign supports a front group attacking John Kerry's military record. Attacks called smears, lies. Senator McCain calls them dishonest. Bush smeared John McCain four years ago. Now he's doing it to John Kerry. George Bush: Denounce the smear. Get back to the issues. America deserves better.

Analysis: This rare Sunday-release spot marks the first time since clinching the nomination that Kerry has attacked Bush over a negative ad. It reflects anxiety and astonishment among Kerry advisers over how much media coverage a group of Swift boat veterans has generated with a $500,000 buy accusing the candidate of lying about his Vietnam service, despite numerous inconsistencies uncovered by the media.

There is no evidence that the Bush campaign "supports a front group" that produced the attack ad.

Those who know him have long warned that the Senator is rather thin-skinned and has no regulator on himself when he loses his temper, but you'd think one of those thousands of aides would tell him this just looks petulant while keeping alive an issue that's killing him.

It's impossible to imagine the Bush campaign losing its marbles like this over Michael Moore or Howard Dean or Terry McAuliffe or Max Cleland or any of the other Kerry surrogates who've said far worse things about the President. But then again, they're disciplined adults.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 23, 2004 12:00 AM

As others have speculated, the way the Democrats' behavior is going, by the end of the campaign there's a good chance voters in swing states will be seeing ads from Kerry warning if they ever want to see Heinz ketchup on their store shelves again, they'll pull the lever or touch the screen for the senator on Nov. 2.

Posted by: John at August 23, 2004 1:04 AM

Actually I think the ad buy was a good deal less than $500K. At this point it has gotten a lot more play from the refutation than the ads themselves.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 23, 2004 2:13 AM

If you think this is bad, just wait and see what happens if somebody really makes it a point to hammer on Schanberg's Village Voice articles. Kerry may wish then for the good old days of the Swifties.

Posted by: Joe at August 23, 2004 5:31 AM

I've figured it all out. Hillary! is giving the Kerry campaign "friendly" advice. Of course, given her ambitions the advice is actually not so friendly.

Posted by: Tom at August 23, 2004 7:30 AM

Has anyone this year made a better investment than the Houston developer who gave $100 grand to this group? And has anyone made a worse one than George Soros, whose millions are going up in smoke?

Posted by: AC at August 23, 2004 9:21 AM

Speaking of "Schanberg's Village Voice articles" take a gander at this.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at August 23, 2004 9:31 AM

>But then again, they're disciplined adults.

Actually, the word is "grown-ups".

I don't hafta grow up,
I'm a Baby Boom kid...

Posted by: Ken at August 23, 2004 12:36 PM

Uncle Bill -

That was precisely the article (along with a sequel that Schanberg wrote earlier this month) that I was referring to. I linked to them the other day in another comments thread, and Orrin has them linked somewhere as well, I think.

Posted by: Joe at August 23, 2004 5:30 PM