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Thursday, August 05, 2004 - Anti-Kerry veterans group releases critical ad - Aug 5, 2004 - Anti-Kerry veterans group releases critical ad - Aug 5, 2004: "Anti-Kerry veterans group releases critical ad
Bush campaign distances itself from commercial
Thursday, August 5, 2004 Posted: 7:29 PM EDT (2329 GMT)

Sen. John Kerry has made his Navy service in Vietnam a central theme of his presidential campaign.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A veterans group that has been sharply critical of Sen. John Kerry launched an ad Thursday that accuses the Democratic presidential nominee of lying about his Vietnam war record.

"John Kerry betrayed the men and women he served with in Vietnam," former Lt. Shelton White, one of the veterans, says in the ad.

Kerry's campaign quickly pointed out that not one of the men featured in the commercial served in the two patrol boats Kerry commanded in Vietnam and that some of them had previously been quoted as praising Kerry.

Kerry's campaign also released material noting that the group has gotten some financial backing from Bob Perry, a homebuilder in Houston, Texas, who is a contributor to the Republican Party. (GOP donor)

President Bush's re-election campaign distanced itself the ad. Campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said the president's re-election effort "has never and will never question John Kerry's service in Vietnam. The election will be about the future."

And, in an interview with The Associated Press, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona -- a former prisoner of war in Vietnam -- denounced the ad as "dishonest and dishonorable."(Full story)

McCain told the AP the ad was "the same kind of deal they pulled on me" during his 2000 presidential race, when the Arizona lawmaker ran against Bush in the Republican presidential primaries.

At the time, McCain's backers accused Bush allies of using telephone surveys to spread rumors about McCain. The Bush campaign said it knew nothing about the tactics and couldn't do anything about them.

In response to McCain's criticism, the veterans group released a statement saying it had "the right to be heard" and asserting the veterans knew Kerry better than McCain.


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