Monday, August 23, 2004

No Way to Run a Campaign

If it seems to you like every day something new and damaging to the Kerry Campaign pops up - it's because literally almost every day something damaging to the campaign has popped up.

Let's take a look at the month of August to illustrate how the Kerry Campaign has truly been the gang that couldn't shoot straight. (How come nobody has been fired for this epic bumbling?)

EDIT: Note that I have continued the September Timeline in a seperate post.

Aug. 1 - Normally a candidate gets a "bounce" in the polls immediately after his convention - not so for Kerry.

Aug. 2 - Kerry advisor says Kerry will make world safer by giving Iran nuclear fuel and hope that they use it for good. Sane people everywhere say, "Are you friggin' kidding me?" Meanwhile the Kerry campaign suffers some guilt from association after Howard Dean questions the timing of terror alerts in New York - claiming they could be politically motivated. Again, sane people everywhere ask, "Are you friggin' kidding me?"

Aug. 3 - Swift Boat Veterans for Truth explain their version of the real story of John Kerry's military history - this picture was interesting

Aug. 4 - The Kerry campaign and DNC lawyers threaten legal action against any stations that air the Swift Boat ads. Instead of addressing the allegations made by the vets - Kerry decides that threat of legal action would be better. The campaign slogan is officially amended to "Bring it on.....and we'll sue!" Meanwhile Senator Kerry announces:
I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history.

Aug. 5 - Kerry tells reporters that he would not have waited around like Bush did for 7 minutes on 9/11. He states:
"Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whispered in my ear, 'America is under attack,' I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had something that he needed to attend to -- and I would have attended to it."

This claim comes back to bite him in the ass when his actual reaction to the morning of 9/11 is revealed - over 40 minutes of not being able to think or act.

Aug. 6 - Former New York Mayor - Rudy Giuliani notes that it is sad that a man running for the president seems to be getting his clues from Michael Moore and Rudy adds for good measure:
John Kerry is an indecisive candidate [with] an inconsistent position on the War on Terror, who voted against funding for our troops and who cannot give a clear answer on his position concerning the decision to remove Saddam Hussein

On the Swift Boat front - the now controversial Michael Kranish pens a piece for the Boston Globe that claims that George Elliot has recanted his criticism of John Kerry. George Elliot responds under oath saying "I said no such things."

Aug. 7 - Kerry's wife Theresa contradicts Kerry's claim that the President did not act properly on the morning of 9/11 by saying:
"I think the president behaved correctly in terms of being quiet amidst stunning news like that in a classroom of kids," she told the host of MSNBC's "Hardball With Chris Matthews" during an interview before the Democratic National Convention last month. "You know, what can you do? It takes you a couple of minutes to digest what you have just heard. And then he was . . . not in his White House and in his office with all of his people. He was in the school in Florida."

Aug. 8 - At the DNC Theresa Heinz-Kerry claimed to be active in anti-Apartheid protests but evidence suggests that she attended just a single protest.

Aug. 9 - A Rueters article notes that; "Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found." This goes over well with the Deaniac base.

Aug. 10 - The Mary Ann Knowles story about having to work through chemotherapy that Kerry used at the DNC turns out to be untrue.

Aug. 11 - The Kerry Campaign changes its story on Christmas in Cambodia. I don't think "seared into my memory" means what I think he thinks it means.

Aug. 12 - Quiet day for the Kerry Campaign. Whoever was in charge today should get a promotion.

Aug. 13 - Grumbling from the Kerry Press Corps. Oh and an article by Kathleen Antrim in the ultra liberal San Francisco Examiner leads with, "John F. Kerry's campaign for president is imploding. And he knows it."

Aug. 14 - Dave Kopel examines media bias on the Swift Boat Veterans issue. The Kerry Campaign takes another guilt by association hit when Senator Tom Harkin calls VP Dick Cheney a "coward" for not serving in Vietnam. It is quickly pointed out that Harkin has lied about his service (actually lack of service) in Vietnam in the past. Harkin is supposed to be an integral part of the campaign but is now nowhere to be found.

Aug. 15 - The Christmas in Cambodia claims are examined in of all places - The Seattle Times

Aug. 16 - It is noted that the Kerry / Edwards Campaign site touts that "Kerry is an Experienced Leader in the Intelligence Field - John Kerry served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is the former Vice Chairman of the Committee" - the problem is that was actually Bob Kerrey. John Kerry was never Vice Chairman (maybe there was an attendance requirement?). The claim was later removed from the site but it is strange that Kerry doesn't even seem to know his own resume.

Reports that David Alston never served with Kerry on a Swift Boat turn out to be false but the truth is that it is likely that Alston only served a week with Kerry. Alston is quietly dropped by the Kerry campaign. Bonus - Christmas in Cambodia gets coverage in the Wall Street Journal.

Aug. 17 - researches a Bush ad claim that Kerry missed 76% of the meetings for the Senate Intelligence Committee (a committee on which Kerry sat and something on his resume that he touts as reason to vote for him). After checking the available data - says that the amount of meetings missed or skipped by Kerry was probably higher than 76%. Kerry refuses to release records on his attendance at "closed" meetings

Aug. 18 - Swift Boat vets respond to a counter ad by MoveOn PAC
"We find it odd that MoveOn PAC would question the right of a group of veterans to voice an opinion on a legitimate issue-an issue first raised by John Kerry-and now the centerpiece of his campaign," said Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann, U.S. Navy (Ret.), founder and chairman of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ( "The 300-plus veterans who make up the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have every right to participate in a public debate concerning the controversy surrounding John Kerry's military service record. We were there. We served alongside John Kerry and we know the history of his service. We will not be silenced."

Kerry recieves a less than overwhelming reception from the VFW National Convention in Cincinnati. At the same event Kerry criticised the President's announcement of troop redeployment out of Europe and Korea. The fact is that just two weeks earlier Kerry was quoted as wanting to reduce the number of troops in Korea himself. After the flip-flop is pointed out - troop redeployment is dropped as a campaign talking point.

Aug. 19 - Veterans from the USS Gridley (who served with Kerry on his first tour of Vietnam) come forward as not real enamored of the Senator and the words "just another goofy Ensign" enter the national consciousness.

Aug. 20 - A second ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is released. This ad deals with Kerry's testimony in front of Congress in which he alleges war crimes were rampant in Vietnam. The Veterans in the ad are none too happy with Kerry. The NY Post also has a Christmas in Cambodia piece.

Aug. 21 - The Washington Post profiles William Ferris (who was severely wounded in action and who watched John Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony about war crimes from his hospital bed) and other Swift Boat veterans. The article reminds the reader that Kerry has not released his medical or military records.

Aug. 22 - Bob Dole says something that probably many were thinking:
"One day he's saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons," Dole said. "The next day he's standing there, 'I want to be president because I'm a Vietnam veteran.

"Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million veterans who served. He wasn't the only one in Vietnam," said Dole, whose World War II wounds left him without the use of his right arm.

Dole added: "And here's, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean, they're all superficial wounds. Three Purple Hearts and you're out."

The Main Stream Media handling of Kerry's Vietnam record starts to turn from kid glove coverage to real journalism with articles by Michael Barone and John Leo in US New & World Report, a column asking for answers from Kerry by Ken Tower in Investor's Business Daily

Aug. 23 - Kerry Campaign "alleges" illegal connection between Bush Campaign and Swift Boat Vets for Truth but ignores the fact that proof of illegal contact between Kerry Campaign and 527 is literally hosted on their Campaign Website.

Aug. 24 - The Kerry Campaign backpedals on Kerry's first Purple Heart - quote from Fox News' Major Garrett:
GARRETT: And questions keep coming. For example, Kerry received a Purple Heart for wounds suffered on December 2nd, 1968. But an entry in Kerry's own journal written nine days later, he writes that, quote, he and his crew hadn't been shot at yet, unquote. Kerry's campaign has said it is possible his first Purple Heart was awarded for an unintentionally self-inflicted wound.
John Kerry comes out of his media semi-seclusion to appear on Comedy Channel's Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Kerry manages a "Daily" double of both alienating the main stream media by appearing on the Comedy Channel instead of say - NBC, ABC or CBS while at the same time appearing less Presidential than host Jon Stewart. Even the normally "Kerry friendly" Slate rips into the appearance:
Kerry's charisma was less than zero: It was negative. He was a charm vacuum, forced to actually borrow mojo from audience members. He was a dessicated husk, a tin man who really didn't have a heart. His lack of vibrancy, his utter dearth of sex appeal made Al Gore look like Charo. . . .
Aug. 25th - Kerry sends triple amputee Max Cleland to Bush's Texas ranch to demand the President denounce the swift Boat Veteran ads. The event seems staged (and is even reportedly filmed by Michael Moore) and reminds people of a quote from Kerry from back in 1971.
"I called the media. . . . I said, 'If I take some crippled veterans down to the White House and we chain ourselves to the gates, will we get coverage?' 'Oh, yes, we will cover that.' "--John Kerry, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, April 22, 1971

The "stunt" may have double back-fired when the Bush Campaign presents their own letter which reads in part:
We’re proud of our service in Vietnam. We served honorably in Vietnam and we were deeply hurt and offended by your comments when you came home.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up. There is no double standard for our right to free speech. We all earned it.
The letter is signed by by among others - two Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.

Aug. 26th - This ranks up there with Kerry's "Manny Ortiz" quote about the Red Sox:
As he [Kerry] was taking questions from the audience, he referred to the legendary Packers stadium, Lambeau Field (which has been called that for 39 years) as "Lambert Field."
Aug. 27th - The story of Kerry's first Purple Heart becomes murkier. And murkier. The Campaign strategy was to use Kerry's military experience to bolster his standing as Commander in Chief but what it has done is greatly undermine his credibility.

Aug. 28th - Earlier Kerry had told a mostly Cuban crowd in Florida that he voted for the get tough on Castro Helms-Burton Act. But when fact checked - it turns out that Kerry voted against Helms-Burton (only one of 22 nays). The Kerry campaign tried to explain the "discrepency":
Asked Friday to explain the discrepancy, Kerry aides said the senator cast one of the 22 nays that day in 1996 because he disagreed with some of the final technical aspects. But, said spokesman David Wade, Kerry supported the legislation in its purer form -- and voted for it months earlier.
I really don't think they understand that "I voted for it before I voted against it" has already become a national joke. Plus more questions on the Silver Star. Oh - and even more questions on Kerry's Silver Star. The also Kerry campaign allows itself to fall victim of a prank (my personal favorite)

Aug. 29th - The Kerry campaign is going so poorly - even the Kerry girls get booed.

Aug. 30th - It seems like even the Democratic consultants realize that Kerry's message of "things are bad and have to change" isn't selling.

Aug. 31st - It seems like the Kerry campaign finally acknowledges what has been obvious to most everyone else for a long time and changes in the campaign staffing are in the works.

EDIT: I have decided to keep this post updated maybe til Election Day (I will try to make it daily).

Now there were many more things that I could have added in but I think you get the idea. Whoever is running the Kerry Campaign has no clue, no strategy and no control over the message that the campaign should be getting out. They pinned their hopes on presenting Kerry as a decorated war veteran and pretty much nothing else. That strategy is coming back to haunt them in a big way.

With the Swift Boat ads doing damage to their candidates credibility - the Kerry Campaign now wants to focus on issues but the questions raised by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth remain unanswered and claims of wanting to run an issues oriented campaign ring hollow when one considers that the DNC was pretty much issue free.


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