On the August 24 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity ignored Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) praise for and friendship with Senator John Kerry (D-MA) over the past decade, as well as McCain's criticism of recent attacks on Kerry's Vietnam service and anti-war activities. Instead, Hannity focused on a comment McCain made more than 30 years ago. In discussing Kerry's criticism of the Vietnam War after his return from service there, Hannity said, "Senator McCain said that that was some of the worst propaganda."
Hannity's remark was an apparent reference to an article in a 1973 issue of U.S. News & World Report. Without mentioning Kerry by name but referencing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before which Kerry testified, McCain stated that during his time as a prisoner of war, his North Vietnamese captors were "bombarding us with anti-war quotes from people in high places back in Washington. This was the most effective propaganda they had to use against us."
In citing the 31-year-old remark, Hannity ignored McCain's more recent -- and very different -- views of Kerry. When asked in an article in the February 16 edition of the Los Angeles Times whether Kerry's decision to join the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) upon returning from service provided "aid and comfort to the enemy," McCain responded, "I just find that incomprehensible. ... John Kerry, by virtue of his service in Vietnam, earned the right to oppose the war if he chose to."
In an appearance on the April 25 edition of CBS's Face the Nation, McCain indicated that the issue of Kerry's anti-war activities is no longer a focus for him: "I'd like to see us put the war that was over more than 30 years ago behind us." On October 12, 2003, the Associated Press reported that while McCain "was so incensed [by Kerry's anti-war actions], for so long, he campaigned against Kerry in later years," this is no longer the case: "They have visited that prison -- the Hanoi Hilton [where McCain was a POW] -- together and formed an oddly close friendship only old comrades in arms understand."
The Associated Press reported on January 28, 1994, that after working with Kerry on an amendment urging then-President Bill Clinton to lift a trade embargo on Vietnam, McCain said, "I strongly disagreed with Senator Kerry's anti-war activities. But over time I have come to appreciate his talents, his commitment on the [embargo] issue." On February 2, McCain was quoted in a Contra Costa Times article as follows: "John's anti-war activities hadn't exactly endeared him to me, [but] we would become allies in the search for the truth and then allies in the cause of normal relations between the United States and Vietnam. And we became good friends as well."