A new ad from a group of Vietnam War veterans who oppose Sen. John Kerry's presidential candidacy uses footage from an ABC News broadcast to buttress its claims that Kerry has given conflicting explanations about military awards he publicly threw away in 1971.
ABC News executives objected immediately to the ad, which Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said it plans to air in two Western states.
"Today, a 527 group began airing a new political attack advertisement which employs footage from an interview conducted by Good Morning America anchor Charles Gibson with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The heavily edited material was taken from a much longer interview," said ABC News Vice President Jeffrey Schneider. "ABC News did not grant permission for the use of this footage and objects to its use for political purposes. ABC News never licenses footage to any political groups for campaign advertising. ABC News has asked the creator of the ad to cease from using ABC News' copyrighted material."
The ad contends that Kerry in 1971 told an interviewer that he threw his own medals away in a symbolic protest of the United States' refusal to withdraw from Vietnam but has since changed his story to fit his political aspirations.
The ad juxtaposes footage of the 1971 interview with scenes of an angry and defiant Kerry telling ABC's Gibson in April of 2004 that he tossed away his own ribbons.
Read a transcript of Charles Gibson's interview with John Kerry on Good Morning America.
Kerry has acknowledged that he did throw several medals belonging to fellow Vietnam veterans but said he has always claimed the ribbons he pitched were his own.
In the Good Morning America interview, Kerry said he has always been consistent when talking about the event, which was captured by photographers and boosted the then-war protester's nationwide fame.
The ad aims to refocus attention on Kerry's postwar political activities, which even some Democrats say is a legitimate election-year issue.
"When John Kerry threw his medals away, he betrayed his fellow veterans, he betrayed his country, and he betrayed every American our armed forces have fought to protect," retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffmann, the founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, said in a statement.
"Now Kerry wants us to forget what he did as he attempts to rewrite history. Once again, John Kerry is attempting to mislead the American people and his unethical behavior speaks directly to his fitness as a potential commander in chief," Hoffman said.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has raised more than $6.7 million since it began running the ads in June, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission. The ad will run in Nevada and New Mexico at a cost of approximately $310,000 to the group, a spokesman said.
Earlier this week, NBC News objected to the Democratic National Committee's use of an excerpt from its Meet the Press program in a video about President Bush's National Guard service.
"NBC News did not, and does not, license use of our material for these purposes and we have asked the DNC to cease and desist immediately from using the excerpt," the network's statement read.
The DNC said that using the NBC footage was fair but that it would consider the request to delete the material.