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Kerry on NPR
As reported by Jonathan Karl, in an interview with Steve Inskeep, Sen. John Kerry said he would be able to significantly reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq within one year. Previously, he said he would do so by the end of his first term.
Also, Kerry said he would scrap the color-coded terror warning system and replace it with a better way to inform the public about threats.
Tapper on "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth"
ABC's Jake Tapper looked at the new "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" ad for "Good Morning America" in a piece that included Sen. John McCain issuing a challenge to President Bush and that called into question the credibility of George Elliott, a Vietnam veteran who appears in the new anti-Kerry ad.
Elliott says in the current ad, "John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam." But back in 1996, when Kerry was running for re-election in Massachusetts, Elliott came to Kerry's defense, saying at a press conference, "The fact that he chased armed enemies down is not something to be looked down on."
In an exclusive television interview, Arizona Sen. John McCain told Tapper, "I condemn the ad, it is dishonest and dishonorable, I think it is very, very wrong." McCain, who feels that he was the victim of a similar attack in 2000, thinks it is irrelevant that the attack today, just as in 2000, is coming from Bush allies but not from the Bush campaign itself. "I hope that the President will also condemn it," McCain said, in a challenge to his fellow Republican.
Tapper closed by saying, "Democrats want you to know some top Texas Republicans are funding the group, though the Bush campaign insists it has nothing to do with the group of anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans. The group says it will keep going until November and maybe even beyond."
Bowers on "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth"
CBS' Cynthia Bowers reported from Kansas City, MO on "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." She noted that a Houston-based Republican was behind the group's ad which is airing in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The Kerry campaign has asked local television stations to pull it. No interview with McCain – but his comments yesterday to the Associated Press were highlighted and sound was played from McCain telling Bush at a GOP debate in 2000, "I don't know if you understand this George, but that really hurts." On-camera interviews with Stephanie Cutter and Scott McClellan.
Vietnam Vet Interviews
On CNN's "American Morning," Bill Hemmer interviewed two Vietnam vets—anti-Kerry Bob Elder and pro-Kerry Dal Sundusky.
Elder said his gripe with Kerry was not only his betrayal that followed the Vietnam War, but also the way he "grossly exaggerated and lied" to get his first Purple Heart—an honor, Elder said, that did not meet the military's requirements for the award—that it come from hostile fire. Asked if he was there that day, Elder said, "No," but that he could "fill this studio with eyewitnesses." Why is his group only coming forward now? Elder said, "We have sat in silent and actual visceral contempt of this man for so many years because of his betrayal." Elder said they are only coming forward now because Kerry has decided he wants to be commander in chief.