Susan Jones | Morning Editor | Thursday, August 19, 2004
In a press release, the Kerry campaign said its new ad come in response to the "false and dishonest attack ad from Republican supporters of President Bush."
The reference is to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a 527 group that recently released an ad saying Kerry lied about his military record.
"They're a front for the Bush campaign," Sen. John Kerry said in Boston on Thursday, referring to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. "And the fact that the president won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you that you need to know - he wants them to do his dirty work."
Here's a transcript of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad that has so inflamed the Kerry campaign. Some conservatives are furious, too, that major media outlets are dismissing the ad's allegations without looking into them.
John Edwards: "If you have any question about what John Kerry is made of, just spend 3 minutes with the men who served with him."
Al French: "I served with John Kerry."
Bob Elder: "I served with John Kerry."
George Elliott: "John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam."
Al French: "He is lying about his record."
Louis Letson: "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury."
Van O'Dell: "John Kerry lied to get his bronze star ... I know, I was there, I saw what happened."
Jack Chenoweth: "His account of what happened and what actually happened are the difference between night and day."
Admiral Hoffman: "John Kerry has not been honest."
Adrian Lonsdale: "And he lacks the capacity to lead."
Larry Thurlow: "When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry."
Bob Elder: "John Kerry is no war hero."
Grant Hibbard: "He betrayed all his shipmates ... he lied before the Senate."
Shelton White: "John Kerry betrayed the men and women he served with in Vietnam."
Joe Ponder: "He dishonored his country ... he most certainly did."
Bob Hildreth: "I served with John Kerry ...
Bob Hildreth (off-camera): John Kerry cannot be trusted."
Announcer: "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is responsible for the content of this advertisement."
The Kerry campaign's new ad features former Green Beret Lt. Jim Rassmann - described as a "long-time registered Republican "-- who talks about John Kerry's "heroic and honorable service in Vietnam."
In the ad, former Lt. Jim Rassmann relives his experience on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam the day that Lt. John Kerry saved his life. Rassmann says the bullets were flying the day he was knocked into the water - refuting a claim by an anti-Kerry veteran who says there was no firefight that day.
"The fire was strong enough to knock out Tommy Belodeau's machine gun...There was one person in the water that day and that was me, anyone who is telling you otherwise is giving you a lie," the Kerry campaign quotes Rassmann as saying.
The 30-second spot, called "Rassmann," is airing in the states where the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth first aired their ad -- including Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The Kerry campaign notes that "John Kerry served two tours of duty during Vietnam, during which he was awarded three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with Combat V and a Silver Star."
As for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group "isn't interested in truth," the Kerry campaign says. "The truth is that official United States Navy reports document John Kerry's service in Vietnam, and these Republicans, with help from the Bush attack machine's biggest patrons, have attacked the integrity of the United States Navy itself and all who served on the Swift Boats."
The Kerry campaign has enlisted other men who served alongside Kerry to verify his account of a battle that happened long ago -- and that has erupted anew in recent weeks.
The Kerry campaign says "Republican lies about John Kerry's record" won't stop the Senator from "fighting for jobs, health care, and America's security. These are the issues that really matter to the American people, and that's why John Kerry's going to keep fighting for them."
In his speech in Boston on Thursday, Kerry said he learned an important lesson during his Vietnam years: "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."
A recent study indicated that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad has struck a nerve among some independent voters who had been leaning toward Kerry.