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11 days until the Republican convention 75 days until election day

NEWS SUMMARY August tinder that would be October firestorms —

The Washington Post looks at one of the key members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, laying down not the first (nor the last) journalistic suggestion that the group's name is more ironic than Dickensian. LINK

A1: "Newly obtained military records of one of Sen. John F. Kerry's most vocal critics, who has accused the Democratic presidential candidate of lying about his wartime record to win medals, contradict his own version of events."

The Bush campaign's performance 3/5th of the way through "Intelligence Week" has been boffo so far.

Yesterday's missile defense cameo by the not-involved-in-this-campaign SecDef Rumsfeld was exquisitely timed coincidence, and helps with the succinct summary of the state of affairs laid out by the Washington Post 's own Okie, Lois Romano: "Kerry has in the past 10 days been put on the defensive on national security with a barrage of partisan challenges to his Vietnam service record, his war wounds, his commendations for valor, and his fitness to serve as commander in chief."

And here, buried in Paragraph 6, is our lede: Watch Sen. Kerry today at his morning firefighter event, and there's a new ad. Today, simply put, is pushback day.

The KE04 campaign is releasing a new ad responding to the Swift Boat charges today — a 30-second spot entitled "Rassmann," featuring former Green Beret Lt. Jim Rassmann talking about Kerry's service in Vietnam, which will air in the states where the SBVfT claims were first aired — including West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

The exact size of the this first campaign buy since the convention is TBD (The campaign says it will match the SBVfT buy, but its political impact will be felt no matter what.)

And judging from the campaign's statement, it's going nuclear.

"This truth knows no party labels. In fact, Republican Senator John McCain called the television ad run by these Bush supporters 'dishonest and dishonorable,' and called on President Bush to condemn it. Nearly two weeks later, the president still refuses to join Senator McCain in setting the record straight — just as he refused to disavow or condemn hateful and vicious attacks on Senator McCain's military record during the Republican primary in South Carolina in 2000."

Script:

John Kerry:"I'm John Kerry and I approved this message."

Narrator: "The people attacking John Kerry's war record are funded by Bush's big money supporters. Listen to someone who was there, the man whose life John Kerry saved."

Lt. Jim Rassmann: "It blew me off the boat. All these Viet Cong were shooting at me. I expected I'd be shot. When he pulled me out of the river, he risked his live to save mine."

Narrator: "The Navy documented John Kerry's heroism, and awarded him the Bronze Star. Today, he still has shrapnel in his leg from his wounds in Vietnam."

The First Lady does her best imitation of Brent Bozell in an interview with the Washington Times . LINK

"' … I think it's obvious in some parts of the media … that there's a bias … Or an agenda … .' The first lady said she has resigned herself to the reality that conservatives seeking the presidency must work harder than liberals in order to compensate for the liberal bias of the press."

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