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McCain: Bush should condemn Kerry smear ad

Rick Munroe
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(from moveon.org)


Last week, a group of far-right Bush allies released an ugly and outrageous ad which claims that John Kerry faked his injuries, betrayed his troops, and "dishonored his country" in Vietnam. The ad features people who say "I served with John Kerry" (although they didn't) and who make numerous provably false accusations about Kerry's war record.[1] It's one of the most vile tactics we've seen yet in Bush's ferociously negative campaign.


The "Swift Boat" ad is so far beyond the pale that even Senator John McCain, a Bush supporter, spoke out about it, calling it "dishonest and dishonorable."[2] Yet despite Senator McCain's request that President Bush "specifically condemn" the ad, Bush refuses to say anything about it.


Together, let's send President Bush a clear message from hundreds of thousands of Americans that we won't stand for these smear tactics, and we expect him to repudiate and reject them. We'll deliver our petition to President Bush on the campaign trail.


Sign the petition to President Bush now at:




It's clear that the ad continues the tradition of Bush campaign dirty tricks. In a recent interview, Senator McCain noted that the ad "was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me" in 2000. McCain was referring to a vicious smear campaign -- which included race-baiting allegations that he had a black child our of wedlock -- run by close Bush allies in 2000. In fact, the same firm that ran some of the anti-McCain ads in 2000 produced the "Swift Boat" ad.[3] And although the group claims to be independent of the Republican party, the group's funding mostly comes from a longtime Bush supporter who gave over $20,000 to his campaigns for Texas governor.[4]


The "Swift Boat" campaign is a classical political hit job. But even before the ad went on the air, the Washington Post ran a piece discussing how President Bush is running the most negative presidential campaign in U.S. history. In an article titled "From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity," the Post quotes an expert who says that "there is more attack now on the Bush side against Kerry than you've historically had in the general-election period against either candidate."[5]


Discussing the "Swift Boat" ad, Senator John McCain said, "I deplore this kind of politics." Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns ® called the ad "trash" and even Pat Buchanan said "not a single charge is substantiated . . . I think the ad is wrong."[6] But George Bush won't condemn it. Let's let him know that we're sick and tired of this "slime and defend" mode of campaigning.


Sign the petition to Bush now at:




Jim Rassman, a Republican veteran who served under Kerry, recently wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. He told the story of how Kerry saved his life. And he concluded with these words on the "Swift Boat" veterans: "[W]hen the noise and fog of their distortions and lies have cleared, a man who volunteered to serve his country, a man who showed up for duty when his country called, a man to whom the United States Navy awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, will stand tall and proud. Ultimately, the American people will judge these Swift Boat Veterans for Bush and their accusations. Americans are tired of smear campaigns against those who volunteered to wear the uniform. Swift Boat Veterans for Bush should hang their heads in shame."[7]




--Eli Pariser

MoveOn PAC

August 16th, 2004


1. FACT CHECK: Swift Boat Veterans for Bush, 8/5/04


2. McCain Condemns Anti-Kerry Ad, 8/5/04


3. Republicans' Dishonorable Charge, 8/6/04


4. Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry's War Record, 8/15/04


5. From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity, 5/31/04


6. AP, 8/5/04 (McCain); Nebraska State Paper, 8/7/04 (Johanns); MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 8/6/04 (Buchanan)


7. Shame on the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush, 8/10/04


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On the other hand, going negative early is a clear sign that the candidate is desperate. The ad appeals only to the base but not swing voters. At least that is what the Kerry campaign strategy appears to be--luring the swing votes. We'll see the results in November.

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