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Showing posts from August, 2004
Franks backs Bush

Former General Tommy Franks endorsed George Bush's reelection. "George W. Bush has been loyal to me and to our military and to veterans." Franks said he was also bothered by Kerry's '71 testimony.
Band-aids wound Kerry

Some Republicans attending the convention in New York are wearing band-aids with small Purple Hearts on them. Obviously those wearing them agree with the Swiftvet's accusations that at least one of his "injuries" was treated with neosporin and a band-aid.

The Dem's "rapid response" team swung into action saying the band-aids were an affront to every veteran wounded in action. This is nonsense on stilts. I was wounded and medivaced out of Vietnam and wound up spending several months at Bethesda Navel Hospital. Kerry's cheap Purlple Heart is much more of an affront to me than the band-aids. I just think they are a funny way of saying what a fraud Kerry is. Democrats make a huge mistake by trying to tie this minor piece of political theater to my ancient injuries. It is clear to me that the people wearing the band-aids are talking only about Kerry. Perhaps he should release his medical records to show who is correct about his first &qu…
Al Qaeda behind downing of russian planes?

Reuters:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday investigators were probing a possible link between al Qaeda and Chechen rebels widely believed to have downed two Russian passenger planes a week ago.

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An al Qaeda-linked group had claimed responsibility for the near-simultaneous attacks that killed 90 people, Putin told a news conference after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac. "This (claim) must still be proved by our security forces. But it is a fact that explosions occurred aboard two Russian airliners and if a terrorist organization linked to al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for this it confirms the link between specific forces in Chechnya and international terrorism." But in a Turkish television interview due to be aired on Wednesday, Putin appeared to confirm the al Qaeda link. "Two civilian aircraft were brought down by terrorist organizations with links …
Bush's ability to connect

Andrew Sullivan on Guiliani speech:

...You just cannot imagine a story in which a huge, ham-handed construction worker would ever give John Kerry a big, warm bear-hug. Or that John Kerry would answer a long disquisition from a man in a hard-hat and feel satisfied to respond with two simple words: "I agree." Again, Giuliani reminded us of why we tend to like George W. Bush. (Personally, I'd rather have pins stuck in my eyes than endure a conversation with John Kerry, but I'd love to hang with Bush.) All of this matters. A president in wartime needs to be able to connect with people. Bush can. Kerry can't....
Fighting fire with gasoline

Joel Mowbrey:

In a move that has puzzled many observers, John Kerry saw the claims by former Swift Boat veterans gaining traction, and he decided to fight fire with… gasoline. While true that the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth were sapping Kerry’s numbers among veterans—a little bit because of the ads, but mostly because of media attention surrounding them and the book, Unfit for Command—the issue really was operating around the fringes, on blogs, talk radio, and cable TV news.Yet Kerry taking direct aim at the ads made the story legitimate headline news.So for more than a week now, Kerry has been talking about what happened 35 years ago, instead of what he’d like to see happen for the next four years.And he doesn’t seem to know how to get the discussion back on track.Actually, Democrats have convinced themselves taht Dukakis loss because he did not fight back hard against charges made against him, so they have to head their boat toward the guns. But, the…
Legacy media meltdown

Glenn Reynolds:

Though it's looking less likely than it was a few weeks ago, John Kerry could still pull off a win in this presidential election. But there's already one clear loser: the so-called "mainstream media" of network television and major newspapers. Whoever winds up in the White House next year, the position of these traditional media outlets (or "legacy media" as some call them) continues to decline.That decline is partly technological in origin. Monopolistic or oligopolistic newspapers and broadcast outlets were the result of technology: economies of scale and scope that rewarded consolidation and led to virtually no competition among newspapers and very little among broadcasters. Now that's changing, as alternative outlets like talk radio, cable television, and, especially, the Internet, have almost completely removed the traditional barriers to entry and allowed competition.But the loss of those barriers isn't the b…
Guiliani, McCain speak for President

Rudy Guiliani gave a great speech. His best line--John Edwards needs two Americas so Kerry can be for something in one America and against it in another.

McCain gave a clear rationale for the war in Iraq rebuting Democrat charges.

More in a.m.
The Dems patriotism problem

James Tarranto:

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To say that the Democrats have a problem with patriotism is not to say that they are unpatriotic. But they are awfully defensive about their patriotism. "Of course the vice president is questioning my patriotism," Michael Dukakis fumed during a 1988 presidential debate. "And I resent it." After Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia lost his 2002 re-election bid, it became part of Democratic (and journalistic) folklore that he owed his ouster to GOP attacks on his patriotism. And last month in Boston, Mr. Kerry declared: "We have an important message for those who question the patriotism of Americans who offer a better direction for our country. . . . We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism."In fact, these men had been criticized by their GOP opponents not over patriotism but over …
What did Kerry do wrong?

Dick Morris:

AFTER one of the weakest convention performances in memory, John Kerry has had the worst post-convention period since Walter Mondale found himself defending Geraldine Ferraro's husband's business accounting in 1984.

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* He stressed war in his convention speech, erasing the domestic-policy focus imparted by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. He became one of the only presidential candidates since Barry Goldwater to lose points during his acceptance speech. * He made so much fuss over Vietnam that he legitimized the attacks on his war record. What would have been dismissed as right-wing hysteria became mainstream politics because Kerry made his Swift-boat record admissible and relevant to his credibility. * He did not have any bold new programs to unveil after his convention was over. He had no post-convention game plan. * He forgot that he had served in the Senate and spent all of 22 seconds elucidating his accomplishme…
Antiwar pukes for Kerry march in Manhatten

NY Times:

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The demonstrations were New York City's biggest in decades, and the most emphatic at any national political convention since Democrats and demonstrators turned against each other in fury over Vietnam in Chicago in 1968. But the first day was overwhelmingly peaceful, and the demonstrators doused a good bit of Mr. Bush's intended message with television images of dissent.
The marchers reflect the ugly underbelly of the Democrat party that they tried to hide in Boston where the cross dressed as nuanced hawks. The truly unpatriotic left was on parade in New York, or as some Kerry supporters would say the "new Patriots."
Kerry bet big on a losing hand

Mark Steyn:

At the beginning of the year, Thomas Lifson, who was at Harvard Business School with George W Bush, made an interesting observation about the President. He notes that young George "was a very avid and skillful poker player" when he was a Business Administration student and that "one of the secrets of a successful poker player is to encourage your opponent to bet a lot of chips on a losing hand. This is a pattern of behavior one sees repeatedly in George W Bush's political career".

Indeed one does. In the months following Mr Lifson's observation, the President sat back, as John Kerry's consultants, the Iowa caucus voters, the Democratic Party at large, and the media convinced themselves that the one card that trumps Bush's leadership in the war on terror was Kerry's four months in Vietnam, and bet everything on it. They have just lost that hand.Kerry is in seclusion, unable to expose himself to any but the…
Two arrested in subway bomb plot in NY City

BBC:

Police in New York have arrested a US citizen and a Pakistani national on suspicion of plotting to blow up a subway station. The New York police chief said the two men had surveyed one of the alleged targets close to the venue of next week's Republican Party convention.
A misdirection play

Bruce Thorton:

The Swift Boat Veterans have raised several issues regarding Kerry's service, the circumstances leading to his medals, and his claims to have been illegally in Cambodia in December of 1968. You would think that the media would be all over these claims, digging around for the evidence that either refutes or supports them. For example, on its web site the Swift Boat Vets claim that Kerry has not released all his Naval records: "These gaps include missing and incomplete fitness reports, missing medical records and missing records related to his medal awards." Is this true or not? If it is true, has anybody in the media asked the Kerry campaign to release the records and so put to rest these presumably false charges?But in the nation's paper of record, the New York Times, this hasn't happened yet. By far the bulk of its coverage has focused instead on the alleged connections between the Swift Boat Vets and the Bush campaign. When the …
Medal mess

Supporters of Senator Kerry have lately been defending the ambiguities surrounding his Purple Hearts and Silver and Bronze Star awards, by saying "at least he was over there and he deserves the medals for putting himself in the war zone." The problem with that is that he did get medals for being there. They are called the Vietnam Service Medals. One was awarded by the South Vietnamese government and the other by the US government. They were awarded to every US military person who served in Vietnam. The Silver and Bronze Star awards are for service beyond just getting shot at. Both of his are very suspect.
The first self confessed war criminal running for president

Mark Steyn:

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In his testimony to Congress in 1971, Kerry asserted a scale of routine war crimes unparalleled in American history -- his ''band of brothers'' (as he now calls them) ''personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads . . . razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.'' Almost all these claims were unsupported. Indeed, the only specific example of a U.S. war criminal that Kerry gave was himself. As he said on ''Meet The Press'' in April 1971, ''Yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I used 50-caliber machineguns, which we were granted and ordered to use.''Really? And when was that? On your top-secret Christmas Eve mission in Cambodia? If they'd taken him at his word, when the senator said ''I'm John Kerry reporting for du…
Lehman says he never saw Kerry's silver Star citation with his "signature"

Chicago Sun-Times:

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman has no idea where a Silver Star citation displayed on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign Web site came from, he said Friday. The citation appears over Lehman's signature. "It is a total mystery to me. I never saw it. I never signed it. I never approved it. And the additional language it contains was not written by me," he said.
The vast paranoia of the Dem mind

Noemie Emery:

THE MINUTE the ads of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had begun to draw blood, the Democrats attacked them as a giant, malevolent plot. The same plot, drawn up by a diabolical genius of unsurpassed malice and cunning, that has been causing Democrats trouble for so many years now, always unwarranted, always malicious, and always unfair. In today's Democratic imagination, there are no political accidents, no spontaneous movements, no genuine issues, and never a genuine weakness in a candidate. There are only diversions, cooked up and cleverly sold to a gullible public, "dirty tricks" supervised by conniving Republican masterminds, and schemes to undermine democracy. The first instinct of Democrats during the recall election that claimed the political life of California governor Gray Davis last year was to call it the latest phase in a Republican plot to subvert the government--the previous ones being a redistricting effort by Tex…
Dem paranoia on parade

Eleanor (over the) Clift:

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The Kerry campaign thinks it has succeeded in discrediting the scurrilous attack on Kerry’s military service, but Rove got what he wanted. Instead of talking about a failed war in Iraq and a new report that shows 1.3 million more Americans living in poverty, we’re debating what happened in the Mekong Delta in 1968. The strategy “came straight from the West Wing,” says the GOP staffer. “Nobody should be confused.” Asked to explain, this Republican says Rove is smart enough to keep technical distance. But all it takes is a well-placed wink to activate a web of Bush family hit men, confidantes and deep-pocket donors. “They know what to do—it’s like sleeper cells that get activated,” he says, likening the players to “political terrorists.”
Clift, of course, omits mention of the Christmas in Cambodia fantasy, or the inconsistancy between Kerry's war journal and his first Purple Heart claim. In fact you will find more significant contr…
Al Qaeda's latest weird strategy

CNN:

Al-Qaeda terrorists looking for a U.S. military target might try to attack a Veterans Affairs hospital rather than a base or other high-security installation, the FBI and Homeland Security Department warn in a new nationwide terrorism bulletin.How lame is it to attack the lame and ill? The first objective of most military operations is to destroy the military of your enemy. All this strategy does is show the utter stupidity of what passes as stategic thinking in al Qaeda circles. Of course, attack the World Trade Center and Pentagonwas pretty dumb too, but they still did it and manage to bring the world down on their sanctuaries. They just could be that crazy.
Latest Swiftvet ads takes Kerry out of Cambodia

Fox News:

The group responsible for turning John Kerry's Vietnam War service into a major campaign issue released a new ad Friday, accusing the Democratic presidential nominee of being "deceitful" for suggesting he spent Christmas Eve, 1968, in Cambodia.The new spot from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (search) is just the latest twist in a story that has dominated campaign news coverage almost since Kerry accepted the nomination last month.
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Called "Never in Cambodia," the ad features Stephen Gardner, who served under Kerry."I spent more time on John Kerry's boat than any other crew member," Gardner says in the ad. "John Kerry hasn't been honest, he's been deceitful. John Kerry claims that he spent Christmas in 1968 in Cambodia and that is categorically a lie. Not in December, not in January. We were never in Cambodia on a secret mission, ever."
Afghan's hostile to al Qaeda

Strategy Page:

Al Qaeda has been active in Afghanistan, but not very successful. The main reason for the lack of success is the hostility of most Afghans to al Qaeda, and the counter-terrorism forces the United States and NATO forces have established. A major target for al Qaeda is the Bagram air base, north of the capital, Kabul. The sprawling base is surrounded by hills, brush land, farms and villages. Plenty of places from which to fire rockets at the base. But in the last three months, 13 weapons caches have been found in the area. The caches contained over 12,000 weapons, including heavy machine guns, anti-personnel mines and 107 mm rockets. The mines and rockets are favorite terrorist weapons. But good relations with the local Afghans has led to the discovery of the weapons caches, as well as firing positions set up for 107mm rockets, and some of the terrorists themselves. A few Afghans, mostly followers of hard line Taliban leaders, support the te…
Farenheit 1971

Mackubin Thomas Owens:

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During his presidential campaign, John Kerry has sought to portray himself as a member of the first group--a veteran proud of his service in Vietnam. In his remarks on July 25 at the Democratic National Convention, Kerry said, "We [veterans] fought for this nation because we loved it. . . . I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president." But this sentiment is completely at odds with his infamous testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971, wherein he said he and those he spoke for were "ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia. .
. . And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom . . . is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy."The fact is that most Americans have no idea how radical Kerry's views on Vietnam were. His April 1971 Senate testimony (re…
Traditional media irked that Swiftvets have been able to tell their story

Dave Kopel:

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LBJ was the darling of the establishment media when he won a landslide election in 1964, and a World War II vet who tried to expose Johnson's lies would have stood little chance of being heard. But the subplot of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth vs. John Kerry saga is the mounting fury of the traditional media at its inability to suppress the Swift Vets. The candidate who boasted that he was "Reporting for duty" and will lead the United States just like he led in Vietnam no longer can shield his war record from scrutiny just because the traditional media loathe his opponent at least as much as they loathed Barry Goldwater in 1964. Typical of the traditional media attitudes was the Aug. 23 column from Denver Post media critic Joanne Ostrow telling readers that "the Kerry camp knocked down the claims intended to discredit the candidate's war record." Not hardly. In fa…
Navy record raise questions about Kerry claims

Chicago Sun-Times:

In the midst of the controversy between the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Kerry campaign representatives about Kerry's service in Vietnam, new questions have arisen. The Kerry campaign has repeatedly stated that the official naval records prove the truth of Kerry's assertions about his service. But the official records on Kerry's Web site only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Defense Department document summarizing Kerry's military career posted on johnkerry.com, includes a "Silver Star with combat V." But according to a U.S. Navy spokesman, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a 'combat V' to anyone for a Silver Star." Naval regulations do not allow for the use of a "combat V" for the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration the Navy awards. None of the other services has ever granted a Silver Star "combat V," eit…
The desperation in the Kerry camp

Boston Herald Editorial:

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Of course Cleland knew he wasn't going to be able to wheel right up to the ranch and hand-deliver his letter to the president, but that wasn't the point. The point was the TV cameras which swarmed the scene and gave Cleland and Kerry their 60 seconds on the nightly news.
The schlocky stunt looked as desperate as it surely was, and actually underscored Kerry's Purple Heart dilemma. Cleland himself didn't even earn a Purple Heart in Vietnam because his wounds weren't sustained by enemy fire.
The longer Vietnam dominates the campaign, the harder it will be for Kerry to get traction on issues that could sway voters to his side. This is a different dynamic for Kerry, whose service and anti-war record have always been a political plus. But this is the big leagues, and Kerry had better come up with something to change the subject. A phony photo op ain't going to do it.

Admiral debunks Kerry's first Purple Heart

Robert Novak:

Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the-record interview about the Swift boat veterans dispute that "I was absolutely in the skimmer" in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident which led to his first Purple Heart. "Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 (grenade launcher)," Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, "Kerry requested a Purple Heart." Schachte, who also was then a lieutenant junior grade, said he was in command of the small Boston whaler or skimmer, with Kerry aboard in his first combat mission in the Vietnam War. The third crew member was an enlisted man whose name Schachte did not remember. Two enlisted men who appeared at the podium with Sen. Kerry at the Democratic National Convention in Boston have asserted that they were alone in the small boat with Kerry, wi…
Swiftvets not shills for Bush

John O'Neill:

We formed Swift Boat Veterans For Truth for one purpose: to present to the American public our conclusion that John Kerry is not fit to be commander in chief. We are organized as a "527 group" with Adm. Roy Hoffmann at the helm, our leader today as he was some 35 years ago when we served under him in Coastal Squadron One in Vietnam. Our membership is transparent and shown on our Web site, www.swiftvets.com, currently including more than 250 Swiftees. We have 17 of the 23 officers who served with Mr. Kerry, most of his chain of command, and most sailors. We have more than 60 winners of real Purple Hearts. No one has a better right than we do to speak to the matters involving our unit. Are we controlled by the Bush-Cheney campaign? Absolutely not. The Swift boat veterans who joined our group come in all political flavors: independents, Republicans, Democrats and other more subtle variations. Had another person been the presidential…
Dems for hypocracy

Arnold Ahlert:

I'M sure John Kerry must have demanded that the Democratic Party condemn Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 911" for attacking President Bush. He must have said he would disassociate himself from both the movie and the director because of the numerous deceptions and outright lies contained in that "documentary." He must have characterized Moore's attempt to denigrate the president as a "fear and smear" campaign. Right? After all, with the release of "Unfit For Command," which casts doubt on the veracity of Kerry's Vietnam War recollections, we see a candidate, a party and a left-leaning media demanding that president Bush condemn author John O'Neill. Since fair is fair, I suppose that O'Neill should get a seat of honor at next week's Republican convention — like Moore sitting next to former president Jimmy Carter when the Democrats convened in Boston. Right?
Liberals are arrogant enough to believe that if Bush were really smart he would be a liberal

Charles Krauthammer:

Upon losing a game at the 1925 Baden-Baden tournament, Aaron Nimzowitsch, the great chess theoretician and a superb player, knocked the pieces off the board, jumped on the table and screamed, "How can I lose to this idiot?" Nimzowitsch may have lived decades ago in Denmark, but he had the soul of a modern American Democrat. After all, Democrats have been saying much the same -- with similar body language -- ever since the erudite Adlai Stevenson lost to the syntactically challenged Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. They said it again when they lost to that supposed simpleton Ronald Reagan. Twice, would you believe? With George W. Bush, they are at it again, and equally apoplectic.
Actually, this time around, even more apoplectic. The Democrats' current disdain for George Bush reminds me of another chess master, Efim Bogoljubov, who once said, "When I am White, …
Dems cross dressing for Kerry

Peter Parisi:

"Just shut up, gays, women, environmentalists. You'll get everything you want after the election. But just for the meantime, shut up so that we can win." — Rep. Peter H. Kostmayer, Pennsylvania Democrat, at the 1988 Democratic National Convention.
"I call it the Stepford convention. Everybody is going by the script because they are so afraid that Bush will get in. But behind the scenes, it's like don't worry, wink, wink; we'll take care of you." — Robin Tyler of DontAmend.com, quoted in the July 30 Detroit Free Press.
Call it deja vu all over again, but just as in 1988 when Mr. Kostmayer committed jaw-dropping political candor, the Democratic Party is again seeking desperately to muzzle its dominant extreme left wing, at least through Nov. 2.

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It is because of his indefensible, ultraliberal voting record during nearly two decades in the Senate that Mr. Kerry has so desperately sought to make h…
More onn LA Times poll

Ronald Brownstein:

President Bush heads into next week's Republican National Convention with voters moving slightly in his direction since July amid signs that Sen. John F. Kerry has been nicked by attacks on his service in Vietnam, a Times poll has found.

For the first time this year in a Times survey, Bush led Kerry in the presidential race, drawing 49% among registered voters, compared with 46% for the Democrat. In a Times poll just before the Democratic convention last month, Kerry held a 2-percentage-point advantage over Bush.This poll probably understates the bad news for Kerry. It is a "registered voters" poll which generally overstates Democrat support to begin with. LA Times polls have recently been found to also over sample Democrat voters.

What is most interesting is that the Dem talking point that the Swiftvet ads would backfire on President Bush has been shown to be so much whistling while walking through the grave yard. Also the atte…
O'Neill answers questions from WaPo readers

Washington Post:

In his book, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," co-author John E. O'Neill questions numerous aspects of Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry's Vietnam service. O'Neill was online Thursday, Aug. 26, Noon ET to take your questions and comments on the book as well as the accusations. The transcript is worth the read because he directly rebuts all of the Democrat talking points that are raised in the form of questions.
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Debate challenge

ABC:

KERRY CHALLENGES BUSH TO WEEKLY DEBATES: In Anoka, MN, John Kerry challenged President Bush to weekly debates on the issues. MOREBUSH CAMP REAX: "There will be a time for debates after the convention, and during the next few weeks, John Kerry should take the time to finish the debates with himself. This election presents a clear choice to the American people between a President who is moving America forward and a Senator who has taken every side of almost every issue and has the most out of the mainstream record in the U.S. Senate," said BC'04 spokesman Steve Schmidt. I get the feeling the Bush camp was waiting for that challenge.
Why Kerry Vietnam reports should not be regarded as reliable

From John O'Neill's interview with David Limbaugh:

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... In January of 1969, Kerry’s boat shot up a sampan that had a mother, father and baby and child on it. They killed the father and the child. The mother and baby were saved. Kerry has had various and differing accounts of this. On one occasion, he says that heordered the gunner to fire warning shots and the gunner, instead, opened up. I believe that account is false because you would never fire warning shots with heavy caliber weapons. The gunner has the most sensible account and indicates generally that because Kerry was not manning the radar and gave no warning, the sampan came very close to the boat and they were left with a quick life and death decision that they had to make in Kerry’s absence. There would have clearly been an inquiry if people found out about this particular event, but most important is the report that Kerry himself authored and sent to sup…
The one man race

Scrappleface parody:

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"It's hard to mount an entire campaign against an opponent who has no record, no bedrock values, no consistent positions, no new ideas and only wants to talk about something he hasn't done for 35 years," said Mr. Bush. "So far, the fight has been between me and anti-me...Bush against hate-Bush. From now on, we're looking at a one-man race for the presidency."

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"I can't change people whose hearts overflow with hatred," said the president. "So I'll just focus on rallying those whose minds are still open. We're going to target what you call your sentient beings."

Kerry is like the bully who picked a fight he cannot win

Jeff Jacoby:

IT WAS John Kerry, not the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who picked this fight.

He was the one who made his long-ago stint in Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign for president. He's the one whose running mate urges voters to take Kerry's measure by spending "three minutes with the men who served with him 30 years ago." He's the one whose campaign ads dwell on his combat heroics. He's the one who has repeatedly played the Vietnam card against critics and opponents. And he's the one who challenged anyone "who wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam to bring it on." So the Swifties brought it on. Their scorching attack on his wartime record is so effective precisely because they, like Kerry, were there. They too went to Vietnam when so many other young men didn't. They too fought and bled for their country. If his wartime experience lends him a certain moral …
Kerry's swift quagmire

Deborah Orin:

AS THE Swift vets furor rages, even some fellow Democrats are lamenting that Sen. John Kerry's campaign war room looks pretty inept for escalating and prolonging it. "If they think this is a winner right now, they're smoking something. It's time to take your lumps and move on. They've got to get back on their game and talk about jobs and health care," says a longtime Democratic strategist.
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But like a senator scoring points in a debate, Kerry seems determined to try to have the last word, and right now, his team is crowing that it has successfully spun the story to blame the anti-Kerry ads as a sneaky Bush tactic. Republicans say they couldn't care less — the media may be focused on that, but what real people see is that a shockingly large number of men who served with Kerry in Vietnam think he's unfit to be president. After all, 264 oppose him and just a few dozen back him. The flap may be taking a toll …
Kerry's swift quagmire

Deborah Orin:

AS THE Swift vets furor rages, even some fellow Democrats are lamenting that Sen. John Kerry's campaign war room looks pretty inept for escalating and prolonging it. "If they think this is a winner right now, they're smoking something. It's time to take your lumps and move on. They've got to get back on their game and talk about jobs and health care," says a longtime Democratic strategist.
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But like a senator scoring points in a debate, Kerry seems determined to try to have the last word, and right now, his team is crowing that it has successfully spun the story to blame the anti-Kerry ads as a sneaky Bush tactic. Republicans say they couldn't care less — the media may be focused on that, but what real people see is that a shockingly large number of men who served with Kerry in Vietnam think he's unfit to be president. After all, 264 oppose him and just a few dozen back him. The flap may be taking a toll …
The Purple Heart hunt

Martin Fackler:

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I served as a combat surgeon in DaNang, (U.S. Naval Support Hospital) from Dec. 10, 1967, through Dec. 11, 1968. While there, I evaluated and treated hundreds of severely wounded combatants.
During my year in DaNang, a few combatants urged me to verify small abrasions as "wounds" so they could get a Purple Heart. Each freely admitted trying to acquire Purple Hearts as rapidly as possible to take advantage of the policy allowing those with three Purple Hearts to apply to leave Vietnam early. I refused them. But some went shopping for another opinion. Unfortunately, we had some antiwar physicians in Vietnam who were happy to become accomplices in these frauds. Most with valid Purple Hearts didn't need to apply to leave Vietnam: The seriousness of their wounds demanded it.
Lt. John Kerry's collecting three Purple Hearts within 100 days — all for wounds too minor to require hospitalization — recalls the distasteful memo…
Kerry's defense(less) posture

Washington Times Editorial:

While Sen. John Kerry continues his attempt to demonstrate his presidential bona fides by concentrating virtually exclusively on his four-month tour of duty in Vietnam in the late 1960s, it is instructive to examine the potentially destructive role he has played on the national-security front during his two decades in the Senate. Perhaps no issue offers more evidence of Mr. Kerry's foreign-policy follies than the matter of defending the American homeland against ballistic missiles carrying weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

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In an era of worldwide proliferation of ballistic-missile and nuclear-weapons technology, now is not the time to slash missile-defense's $10 billion annual budget. That modest amount represents less than one-half of 1 percent of total federal spending and less than 2.5 percent of defense spending, which will be less than 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) next y…
Kerry weak on defense

Donald Lambro:

There is no weaker position in presidential campaign politics than playing defense, and John Kerry has been on the defensive now for more than two weeks.
Many Democrats fear he waited too long to respond to the barrage of attacks from the Swift boat Vietnam veterans who charge he made up or exaggerated many of the combat exploits he has touted over his political career and has used to define his presidential candidacy.
There is no doubt the attack ads and the senator's inexplicable delay in answering them have had a political impact among independents and veterans, raising new doubts about his truthfulness and character.

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With Mr. Kerry defensively backing away from one of his major Vietnam War stories and switching positions on national security issues from week to week, it is no surprise Democrats are getting jittery about his campaign. "There's a lot of nervousness about how close it is, a lot of nervousness," Io…
LA Times poll shows Bush lead

Reuters via NY Times:

President Bush has pulled ahead of Democratic challenger John Kerry for the first time this year in a Los Angeles Times poll, the newspaper reported on Wednesday in its online edition. The survey taken Saturday through Tuesday showed that 49 percent of registered voters favored Bush, while 46 percent preferred Kerry. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.Survey responses indicated that Kerry had been hurt by attacks on his Vietnam service record by Bush backers, the Times said.Elsewhere in the Times the paper tries to say Veterans have had a negative reaction to the Swiftvets ad. However, if that were true Kerry would not be trying so hard to get the ads stopped. His current strategy is to avoid discussing the substance of the Swiftvets charges and instead act like he is a victem. That is not a good strategy for someone trying to affect strength and courage.
Disgusted with blatant bias

Instapundit:

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But the press -- and this, to me, is the most interesting and disturbing part of the story -- has been shamelessly covering for Kerry, first by ignoring the story, then by spinning it, and now by confusing it.A few years ago -- maybe even a few months ago -- I would have looked at a story like this and, if it never got much major play, would have assumed that there was nothing to it. Now I know better. (Question: Was the press more professional decades ago, or was it just harder to tell when they cheated?)This seems like a big deal to me.
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Just as who controlled the Senate in 2002 wasn't the most important thing in the world, who wins the White House in 2004 isn't either, except perhaps to those involved. But if the institutional press is, as Evan Thomas suggested, capable of delivering a 15% margin to its preferred candidate, enough to decide almost any election, and if they're willing to go to almost any lengths in delivering…