Tuesday, August 31, 2004

George Bush Sr. Smears John Kerry's War record; makes snide remark about Michael Moore

NY Times
Ex-President Bush Calls Charges of Swift Boat Group Compelling

Published: August 31, 2004

Former President George Bush fanned doubts yesterday about Senator John Kerry's service in Vietnam, sustaining a decades-old debate that has dominated the presidential campaign in the last few weeks.

In an interview with CNN, Mr. Bush did not directly challenge Mr. Kerry's record but rather, with the subtlety of a seasoned pro, parried questions in a way to gently bat the controversy aloft.

Pressed about advertisements by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Mr. Bush called "rather compelling" the claims of some veterans who have attacked Mr. Kerry's service, and he noted that others had accused these veterans of lying. "I have great confidence in Bob Dole," he added. "I don't think he'd be out there just smearing."

Former President Bush said Mr. Kerry "served honorably," but added of the veterans attacking him, "I don't know enough about them to say they're all liars."

Mr. Bush said that President Bush had been "victimized" by independent political groups - like the Swift boat veterans - running attack advertisements against him. He cited the liberal group MoveOn.Org and also mentioned "this sloppy Michael Moore," the filmmaker.

"For months before the president started campaigning, he was attacked by all kinds of people," his father said.

The former president said that in his last campaign, in 1992, he was "very careful" not to attack his opponent, Bill Clinton, for avoiding service in Vietnam.

But at his own nominating convention that year, he drew a comparison between his service as a naval aviator in World War II and the record of Mr. Clinton, then governor of Arkansas. "Well, what about the leader of the Arkansas National Guard, the man who hopes to be commander in chief?" Mr. Bush asked in his speech accepting the nomination. "Well, while I bit the bullet, he bit his nails."

(It would appear that the Sr. Bush wants it both ways -- since his son was AWOL from the National Guard!)