Friday, April 16, 2004

Kerry blasts Republican anti-patriotic smears

Speaking of going on the offensive...

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry, lashing out at the White House's "twisted sense of ethics and morality," accused Republicans on Friday of distorting his record and attacking his patriotism.

Kerry, at an outdoor rally on the University of Pittsburgh campus, used an American flag and the national anthem to fire back at Republicans who charge he is weak on defense for voting against some weapons systems and an $87 billion bill to pay for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, pointed out Vice President Dick Cheney and political adviser Karl Rove did not serve in the military.

"I'm tired of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and a bunch of people who went out of their way to avoid their chance to serve when they had the chance," Kerry said. "I'm not going to listen to them talk to me about patriotism."

"I've seen how these people in the White House today, in their twisted sense of ethics and morality, don't think twice about challenging John McCain and what happened to him as a prisoner of war," he said in reference to attacks by President Bush in 2000 on his Republican primary rival McCain, an Arizona senator. ...

... The latest ad launched on Thursday calls the Massachusetts senator "wrong on defense."

"They don't think twice about trying to pretend to America that I somehow don't care about the defense of our nation," he said, paraphrasing wording in the Star Spangled Banner including reference to "political bombs" bursting in the air.

"When I look up, that flag is still there and it belongs to all Americans," he said, pointing to a flag near the stage. "Not to them, not to a party. It belongs to us."

Kerry told the crowd of more than 5,000 that "asking questions about the direction of our country is patriotism."

The Bush campaign said on Thursday that it is cutting back its advertising by two-thirds, which Kerry said was designed to "distort" his record. Kerry told reporters he believed he had withstood the early Republican charge.

"They're out 50 million bucks and they got nothing for it," Kerry told reporters on his campaign plane on Thursday night. ...

One of the few times I cheered for Kerry during the nomination season was when he made similar comments about Tom DeLay questioning his patriotism. I have my problems with Kerry but at least he appears to be just the right person to respond to the kind of anti-patriotic bullshit that Republicans spread about Democrats. Kudos for Sen. Kerry! I'm going to hit the donation button just for this.


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