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Friday, August 27, 2004

New York Times > Bush Dismisses Idea That Kerry Lied on Vietnam

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/27/politics/campaign/27bush.html?ei=5090&en=53b4ce99cbcb268e&ex=1251345600&partner=rssuserland&pagewanted=print&position=
August 27, 2004
By DAVID E. SANGER and ELISABETH BUMILLER
FARMINGTON, N.M., Aug. 26 - President Bush said on Thursday that he did not believe Senator John Kerry lied about his war record, but he declined to condemn the television commercial paid for by a veterans group alleging that Mr. Kerry came by his war medals dishonestly.
Mr. Bush's comments, in a half-hour interview with The New York Times, undercut a central accusation leveled by the veterans group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose unproven attacks on Mr. Kerry have dominated the political debate for more than two weeks.
In the interview, which included topics like preparations for the Republican National Convention, the reconstruction of Iraq and the twin nuclear threats of North Korea and Iran, Mr. Bush portrayed himself as a victim of the same type of political interest groups - called 527 committees for the section of the tax code that created them - that are attacking Mr. Kerry.
"I understand how Senator Kerry feels - I've been attacked by 527's too,'' he said, adding that he had spoken earlier in the day to Senator John McCain and had agreed to join him in a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission to bar the groups.
Mr. Bush also acknowledged for the first time that he made a "miscalculation of what the conditions would be'' in postwar Iraq. But he insisted that the 17-month-long insurgency that has upended the administration's plans for the country was the unintended by-product of a "swift victory'' against Saddam Hussein's military, which fled and then disappeared into the cities, enabling them to mount a rebellion against the American forces far faster than Mr. Bush and his aides had anticipated.
He insisted that his strategy had been "flexible enough'' to respond, and said that even now "we're adjusting to our conditions'' in places like Najaf, where American forces have been battling one of the most militant of the Shiite groups opposing the American-installed government.


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