Today marks the end of the dishonest and disgusting smear campaign against John Kerry and his crewmates from Vietnam. This morning on the front page of the Washington Post, one of the central figures in the effort to distort John Kerry's military service was completely discredited.
The group behind this smear campaign calls itself "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." But the truth is the last thing they are interested in.
President Bush refuses to condemn this group. He wants them to do his dirty work. But this effort to distract attention from the issues that matter most has failed.
This morning, John Kerry said he learned an important lesson in Vietnam: "When you're under attack, the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attacker." Today he took these lessons to heart, knocked down these charges, and made a firm commitment to the American people that the lies about his military service will not stop him from fighting for affordable health care, good-paying jobs, and keeping America secure.
This doesn't mean that these blatantly false attacks won't continue -- the Bush-Cheney campaign is desperate and has no record to run on. But it does mean that we are not going to let them distract us from letting people know about John Kerry's plan to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.
Read the Washington Post article:
Read John Kerry's statement from his speech at the International Association of Firefighters Convention in Boston this morning:
Over the last week or so, a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn't interested in the truth -- and they're not telling the truth. They didn't even exist until I won the nomination for president.
But here's what you really need to know about them. They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you need to know -- he wants them to do his dirty work.
Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented my service in Vietnam and awarded me the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Thirty years ago, this was the plain truth. It still is. And I still carry the shrapnel in my leg from a wound in Vietnam.
As firefighters you risk your lives every day. You know what it's like to see the truth in the moment. You're proud of what you've done -- and so am I.
Of course, the president keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: 'Bring it on.'
I'm not going to let anyone question my commitment to defending America -- then, now, or ever. And I'm not going to let anyone attack the sacrifice and courage of the men who saw battle with me.
And let me make this commitment today: their lies about my record will not stop me from fighting for jobs, health care, and our security -- the issues that really matter to the American people.
Mary Beth Cahill