Washingtonpost.com's Cillizza mischaracterized Kerry's statement about McCain's Swift Boat connection

››› ››› MEREDITH ADAMS

Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza falsely suggested that Sen. John Kerry's call for Sen. John McCain to "cut ties" with retired Col. George "Bud" Day stemmed from Day's defense of McCain's military service in Vietnam. In fact, Kerry's statement called for McCain to sever ties with Day after Day described the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on Kerry in 2004 -- attacks Cillizza noted McCain denounced at the time -- as "revelation of the truth."

In a July 9 Washington Post article, washingtonpost.com staff writer Chris Cillizza falsely suggested that Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) call for Sen. John McCain to "cut ties" with retired Air Force Col. George "Bud" Day stemmed from Day's defense of McCain's military service in Vietnam. In fact, in a June 30 statement, Kerry wrote that his call for McCain to sever ties with Day was due to Day's role in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a conservative organization that helped undermine Kerry's 2004 presidential bid through a discredited campaign of false and baseless smears about Kerry's service in the Vietnam War, and Day's recent statements approving the Swift Boat Vets campaign. Acting as a McCain surrogate on a conference call with reporters on June 30, Day justified the Swift Boat Vets attacks on Kerry as "revelation of the truth."

According to Cillizza:

Kerry described McCain as "unbelievably out of touch" and "confused" after the Republican said, "That's not too important," in response to a question about when U.S. troops might return from Iraq. In late June, when retired Army [sic] Col. George "Bud" Day, who was involved in the Swift boat group's effort, was part of a conference call defending McCain's military record, Kerry called on McCain to condemn the remarks and cut ties with Day.

In fact, the "remarks" that Kerry's June 30 statement criticized had nothing to do with McCain's military service or Day's defense of it. Rather, Kerry took issue with Day's assertion that "the Swift Boat 'attacks' were simply revelation of the truth." From Kerry's statement:

Sen. John Kerry today released the follow[ing] statement in response to John McCain surrogate Colonel Bud Day's comment that "the Swift Boat 'attacks' were simply revelation of the truth" today on a conference call with reporters:

"Colonel Day's comments today [June 30] only further highlight the McCain campaign's disregard for a new kind of politics. John McCain condemned these kinds of attacks in 2004 when he called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth 'dishonest and dishonorable.' Senator McCain should condemn these remarks and cut ties with the Colonel and anyone else connected to SBVT. Day's comments only serve to disparage all those who served on swift boats in Vietnam."

Cillizza noted McCain's 2004 denunciation of the Swift Boat Veterans in the same article:

McCain quickly spoke out against the [2004 Swift Boat attack] ad, calling it "dishonest" and "dishonorable" and comparing it to the criticism of his military service during the 2000 presidential primaries. But he did not allow Kerry to use his image in rebuttal ads -- a decision that many Kerry supporters viewed as insufficient payback for Kerry's support of McCain in 2000.

Person
Chris Cillizza
Show/Publication
Washingtonpost.com
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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