August 23, 2004


Bush Urges End to Attack Ads by Outside Groups on All Sides (MARIA NEWMAN, 8/23/04, NY Times)

"All of them," the president said, when asked whether he specifically meant that the veteran's group's ad against Mr. Kerry should be stopped. "That means that ad, every other ad. Absolutely. I don't think we ought to have 527's. I can't be more plain about it, and I wish — I hope my opponent joins me in saying — condemning these activities of the 527's. It's — I think they're bad for the system."

Mr. Bush was asked whether he agreed with the charges made in the ads by the anti-Kerry group that the Democratic nominee had portrayed his war record inaccurately.

"I think Senator Kerry served admirably, and he ought to be proud of his record," Mr. Bush said. "But the question is who's best to lead the country in the war on terror, who can handle the responsibilities of the commander in chief, who's got a clear vision of the risks that the country faces."

"I think we ought to be looking forward, not backward," he said.

Could Mr. Kerry have made this any easier for him?

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 23, 2004 3:49 PM

He should have vetoed it after he said he would.

Posted by: Sandy P at August 23, 2004 3:53 PM

I agree, but only the wonkish cared about this issue. And only the wonkish still do. The more obscure campaign financing is, the more it will remain dark and slimy.

Of course, the press will fight to the death to protect their privileged status regarding commentary, but the internet seems to be trumping them on a daily basis now.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 23, 2004 4:06 PM

I don't see Bush winning this one. The press is only screaming about the Swift Boats and is turning a blind eye to MoveOn, Soros, etc. This will be spun as Bush being behind the ads and acknowledging this through his statements.

Posted by: AWW at August 23, 2004 4:23 PM

I think that was "nice" of Bush and hopefully we can now this unpleasantness and move on.

Move on to the real issues that are left hanging out there, that no one has discussed. For instance when debating on issues of potential military action in support of America's foreign policy, John Kerry, when not having facts to back up his arguments, he proceeds to make up fairy tales of personal anguish like his reference to an imaginary "Christmas in Cambodia". I think America deserves better.

Posted by: h-man at August 23, 2004 4:33 PM


He ran saying he'd sign it--he signed it.

Posted by: oj at August 23, 2004 4:42 PM

Oh and on other thing, will someone tell me if Kerry violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Posted by: h-man at August 23, 2004 5:10 PM

I thought he said he wouldn't sign it and then did.

Via Roger Simon's place:

A little further on in the ABC The Note site that someone above called our attention to, the writers say:

Is the president getting ready to change his posture? The Boston Globe 's well-wired Anne Kornblut, with an intriguing Houston dateline, says this, "Republicans are divided over how Bush should respond, with some officials fearful that his failure to condemn the ad keeps the president in a defensive stance and could reinforce allegations that Bush operatives are actively supporting the attacks on Kerry."

—If President Bush is so upset about the failure of McCain-Feingold to stop all 527 advertising (as he claims he thought the law he signed would do), why doesn't he propose some new First Amendment restrictions that he would be willing to sign into a new law?

Got that? "Why doesn't he propose some new First Amendment restrictions that he would be willing to sign into a new law?"

Posted by: Sandy P at August 23, 2004 5:10 PM

Some conservatives are alarmed over this. They shouldn't be. What GWB is doing is reinforcing the point that the Swifties are independent of him and his campaign. Mr. O'Neil said the other day that if Bush told him to stop, he would refuse, and guess what? Bush told him and everyone else to stop doing attack ads today, and Mr. O'Neil refused flatly, on Rush's program.

The new spin from the Democrats is going to be that Bush's demand is a fake, though. Count on it.

Posted by: Joe at August 23, 2004 5:53 PM

I'm with AWW. This will be spun by Old Media as President Bush condemning the Swift Boat Vets and not in any way objecting to the 527's allied with the Democratic Party (e.g., Move On).

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 23, 2004 6:16 PM

Everybody who reads blogs like this are all over-thinking themselves on all this. Bob and Betty casual news watcher are just thinking over one thing here. Did John Kerry lie? If a majority of independent voters in swing states thinks he did, he's sunk. Independent voters are not going to give a damn why all this is being brought up, only that is has.

Posted by: BJW at August 23, 2004 6:17 PM

This is great in another way because it finesses McCain by going along with the spirit of his flawed baby without specifically denouncing the ad. Even more so because the ad has done its damamge and puts Kerry in the position of either denouncing or allowing the last second blitz commercials put on by Dem 527's. Not bad for a dumb guy.

Posted by: Jeff at August 23, 2004 6:18 PM

Coffee was cold this morning. God, what a b@#$%!rd that Bush fella is. Plus I forgot to pay my cable bill. That son of a b*%&#$!

Posted by: joe shropshire at August 23, 2004 6:20 PM

This statement by Bush is a wash, I think, but it doesn't make the issue go away. I think Kerry's campaign now has a hole in the bottom that they can't fix.

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 23, 2004 6:20 PM

If Bush dropped out and it was a Kerry/Nader race, these guys would suddenly be called Nader shills. They would still be doing what they're doing; they've had it in for Kerry for years.

Forget this specific case; CFR is classic Unintended Consequences.

If 527s run a positive, pro-candidate ad, they'll be accused of coordination. CFR was supposed to stop negative ads.

If the money flowed to political parties instead, there would be more accountability. Now there is less. CFR was supposed to make politicians more accountable.

The President is wrong to say that the SwiftVets are 'shadowy'; they all signed their names. And they have every right to tell their story. Citizens should not be treated as interlopers.

Posted by: Noel at August 23, 2004 9:05 PM


Every day that the campaign is focussed on John Kerry and Vietnam is a win for Bush.

Posted by: oj at August 23, 2004 9:15 PM

The term "Pyrrhic victory" would not suffice if Kerry pulls the plug on his 527's. Since something north of $100 million been pumped into these things by Soros et al, it would be ill-advised for Kerry to agree to this. Actually, that sounds just like his modus operandi...

Posted by: Mike at August 23, 2004 9:20 PM

OJ - Kerry's Vietnam service portrayed in this light hurts him. But I'd prefer he was getting slammed on his dismal Senate career and views on foreign policy.

Posted by: AWW at August 23, 2004 10:18 PM

Give it a month and you'll get your wish.

Posted by: joe shropshire at August 23, 2004 10:43 PM


Isn't the point that once he's done defending Vietnam then he has to explain anti-Vietnam, then pro-Sandinista/pro-freeze/etc., then anti-Gulf I, etc. By the time he's done on defense it'll be January.

Posted by: oj at August 23, 2004 10:47 PM