Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Monday, August 23, 2004

Bush doesn't say anything new about Swift Boat Vets for Bush ad 

During press availability at his 700 acre Crawford hobby ranch today, President Bush repeated the same position his administration and campaign have always voiced on the Swift Boat Vets for Truth attack ads, that all 527 groups should be banned and that he does not criticize Kerry's service but rather thinks it was honorable. I guarantee that an army of right-wing media pundits will treat it as if he said something new:

Q Some of your supporters are refighting the Vietnam War with their comments about Kerry's war record. Do you think that these attacks of this nature are unpatriotic, un-American, seeing as we're sending young people to war at this time?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think we ought to be debating who best to be leading this country in the war against terror. And that's what I'll continue to try to convince the American people of, is that I'm the right person to continue to lead the country in the war on terror. I think we ought to be looking forward, not backward. And that's the kind of campaign I'll continue to run.

Q But why won't you denounce the charges that your supporters are making against Kerry?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm denouncing all the stuff being on TV of the 527s. That's what I've said. I said this kind of unregulated soft money is wrong for the process. And I asked Senator Kerry to join me in getting rid of all that kind of soft money, not only on TV, but used for other purposes, as well. I, frankly, thought we'd gotten rid of that when I signed the McCain-Feingold bill. I thought we were going to, once and for all, get rid of a system where people could just pour tons of money in and not be held to account for the advertising. And so I'm disappointed with all those kinds of ads.

Yes, Adam.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. This doesn't have anything to do with other 527 ads. You've been accused of mounting a smear campaign. Do you think Senator Kerry lied about his war record?

THE PRESIDENT: I think Senator Kerry served admirably, and he ought to be -- he ought to be proud of his record. But the question is, who 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.


Q Mr. President, some Republicans, such as Bob Dole and some Republican donors such as --

THE PRESIDENT: What paper are you with?

Q I'm with Bloomberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. First time I've seen you ought here. Welcome.

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: No problem. Did you write the story about the Vice President? (Laughter.) Yes, go ahead.

Q That's okay. Some Republicans such as Bob Dole and some Republican donors such as Bob Perry have contributed and endorsed the message of these 527 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads --


Q Do you -- when you say that you want to stop all --

THE PRESIDENT: All of them.

Q Does that mean --

THE PRESIDENT: That means that ad, every other ad.

Q Would you encourage Republicans not to give to --

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely. I don't think we ought to have 527s. I can't be more plain about it. And I wish -- I hope my opponent joins me in saying, condemning these activities of the 527s. It's the -- I think they're bad for the system. That's why I signed the bill, McCain-Feingold. I've been disappointed that for the first six months of this year, 527s were just pouring tons of money, billionaires writing checks. And I spoke out against them early. I tried to get others to speak out against them, as well. And I just don't -- I think they're bad for the system.

The issues are that a) Swift Boat Vets for Truth are as closely associated to the White House you can get without being on the White House or Bush campaign payroll and b) that their factual claims are fictional. Kerry has not condemned 527s, but he has specifically condemned the MoveOn ad criticizing Bush's service in the Air National Guard (or more accurately, lack of service) saying "I agree with Senator McCain that the ad is inappropriate."

Kerry Denounces New Ad on Bush's Service in Guard

Senator John Kerry denounced an advertisement by the liberal group MoveOn.org questioning President Bush's Vietnam-era service in the Air National Guard yesterday, a move likely to raise pressure on President Bush to condemn a recent commercial accusing Mr. Kerry of lying about his war record.

Bush has not said the Swift Boat Vet's ad is inappropriate, he is saying he's disappointed the ad is funded by a 527 group.

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