Kerry campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter unwittingly but unmistakably endorsed the motivation, if not the message, of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, although she was explaining Kerry's decision to attack the Swiftees:
"When somebody's attacking your military record, you reach a boiling point, and he reached a boiling point last night," Ms. Cutter explained. "When you go and fight in a war, when you spill blood for your country, your instinct is to fight back and defend your record."
As the new ad from the SBVT makes clear, these veterans did not like it when John Kerry described them to the US Senate in 1971 as war criminals and rapists who operated like an army of Genghis Khan. And they still don't like it.
Real Clear Politics explains why this plot twist is not good for Kerry. Kerry air-brushed his anti-war activities out of his biography as presented at the Democratic convention - presumably, "I was a war hero before I was a war protestor" seemed too nuanced a position to appeal to swing voters.
On the other hand, Kerry really did say those things. He tried to open a bit of distance between himself and his past when Tim Russert asked him about this in April, but how can he repudiate his anti-war days without antagonizing a significant portion of his base? This is a straddle-flip-flop that would stymie Paul Hamm....
Before I resume radio silence, I have a personal plea to the Captain, Roger Simon, Hugh Hewitt, and anyone who might be in contact with the Swiftees: as this post explains, it has been widely reported that Kerry was honorably discharged prior to becoming a war protestor. Not So! When Kerry was meeting with the North Vietnamese, accusing his fellow officers of war crimes, and meeting with a group that discussed the assassination of US Senators, he was an officer in the Naval Reserve. This was only acknowledged by the Kerry campaign in May of this year, correcting a phony Harvard Crimson interview from January 1970. Readers of the NY Times, the LA Times, and the Boston Globe are in for a surprise.