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Thursday, August 19, 2004
A Question

By Steven Taylor @ 2:37 pm

Here’s the question: is Kerry making a mistake in directly responding to the Swift Boat Vets for Truth charges? My initial reaction is that he is, as it seems like the better strategy is to work to remain above the fray and allow surrogates to fight in the trenches over the ad, book and group. Does he not bring more attention to the Swifties by directly confronting them?

If anything, by directly addressing the attacks, he is guarateeing that more people will hear about the Swfities’ charges.

Also, I would note that the new ad that Kerry’s campaign has put out that directly attacks the Swifties’ ad doesn’t present anything new-it is a restatement of the Rasmussen story. I will grant that that is a powerful incident, and helps Kerry, but if he is going to attack the Swifties directly, new information would be helpful, one would think.

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  1. My belief is that Kerry should haver never responded nor had anyone else respond. Each response, and the lack of cohesion of the responses, only keeps the matter open. STFU and the matter dies, slowly, but it dies. Who’s talking about F911 anymore?

    Comment by Chuck Simmins — Thursday, August 19, 2004 @ 3:17 pm

  2. Your thoughts echo mine almost exactly.

    It forces the Swift Boat Veterans story to a higher level and also, if you are going to bring up surrogates, it calls up questions with regards to the surrogates for Kerry as well.

    It will be mildly interesting to see how national news covers the story tonight (how much context will be given, will they show parts of the ad, etc ). The more context is given, the more the claims are repeated, the more damage/harm is done.

    It would certainly seem to get him off message, regardless of how it’s covered.

    Comment by Charles Fenwick — Thursday, August 19, 2004 @ 3:47 pm

  3. OUCH:

    Earlier, Retired Adm. Roy Hoffmann, chairman and co-founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, flip-flopped on a key element of his Kerry story. In May, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, “Hoffmann acknowledged he had no first-hand knowledge to discredit Kerry’s claims to valor and said that although Kerry was under his command, he really didn’t know Kerry much personally.” But with the pending publication of “Unfit for Command,” Hoffmann changed his story, insisting he “knew [Kerry] well.”

    Hoffmann wasn’t alone in reversing his story on the Kerry attack. In 1968, Grant Hibbard, a lieutenant commander in Vietnam during Kerry’s tour, described Kerry favorably: “One of the top few in his willingness to seek and accept responsibility.” But now he claims Kerry lied about his service. Another vocal Kerry critic, Capt. George Elliot, who served in Vietnam at the same time Kerry did, praised Kerry both in a 1968 evaluation ("In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, Lieutenant Junior Grade Kerry was unsurpassed") and as recently as 1996 when Elliot publicly praised Kerry for charging after the enemy.

    Comment by Stephen — Friday, August 20, 2004 @ 11:11 am

  4. I don’t always agree on your analysis of campaign ’strategergy.’ But I think you nailed this one on the head. I said a few days ago the poll numbers must show the ads are killing him. Polls released today back that up.

    He should shut up and complain about the economy or something- The problem really is there is very little to complain about.

    Comment by Paul — Friday, August 20, 2004 @ 10:45 pm

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