ABC News Transcript: Interview With John Kerry

GIBSON: In 1985, you said to The Washington Post, "It is such a personal thing, I did not want to throw my medals away." Then, in 1996, you said to The Boston Globe, I didn't bring my own medals to throw because I didn't have time to go home and get them. Which one was it? Did you want to throw the medals away or not?

KERRY: That's accurate. I've expressed that there was great, sort of, sense of wrenching about the whole thing. Many of us, we had a long argument the night before, Charlie, it's a matter of record, as to how we were going to do it. And the vote was taken. I was not in favor of throwing them over the fence. I thought we ought to lay them on a table and put them in front of people in a way that, you know, wouldn't be as challenging to many Americans. Other veterans felt otherwise. They took a vote. The vote was made. They voted to throw. I threw my ribbons. I didn't have my medals. It's very simple. And what the Republicans are trying to do is make this into an issue because they have no record to run on. They can't go out and talk about jobs or health care or the environment. So they're going to attack 35 years ago. Last week in an unprecedented attack, they sent congressmen to the floor of the Senate, of the House, to attack me on the anniversary of my speech. George Bush has yet to explain to America whether or not, and tell the truth, about whether he showed up for duty. I'm not going to get attacked on something that I did, that is a matter of record, that the press saw, that I did in front of the entire nation, and everyone then understood. There was no distinction. We threw away the symbols of the war. I'm proud I stood up and fought against it. Proud I took on Richard Nixon. And I think, to this day, there's no distinction between the two.

GIBSON: All right. Senator, I appreciate your being with us this morning. I'm glad to have you here. Thank you.

KERRY: Thank you.

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