Saturday, August 21, 2004

Bush/McCain past resurfaces in 2004 Campaign

The new ad released by the Kerry campaign on Saturday, August 21 shows Senator John McCain and George Bush at the Feb 15, 2000 GOP Presidential Debate on the Larry King Show.
Senator John McCain

Click the picture to view "Old Tricks".

'Old Tricks' Transcript
TITLE: George Bush is up to his old tricks.

McCAIN: But what really went over the line [is that] Bush had a event and he paid for it and stood next to a spokesman for a fringe veterans group. That fringe veteran said that John McCain had abandoned the veterans.

Now I don't how you, if you can understand this George. But that really hurts...

BUSH, interrupting: yeah

McCAIN: ...that really hurts.

So, five Unites States Senators, Vietnam veterans, heroes, some of them really incredible heroes, wrote George a letter, and said, apologize.

BUSH, interrupting: (unintelligible)

McCAIN: You should, you should be ashamed.

Zoom to Bush.

TITLE: America can do better.

McCain claims anti-Kerry attacks "re-open old wounds"

On August 5th, Senator John McCain condemned ads by Bush surrogate group Swift Boat Veterans attacking Senator Kerry in an interview with The Associated Press.
Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well.

"It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, referring to his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush.

...The ad, scheduled to air in a few markets in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, was produced by Stevens, Reed, Curcio and Potham, the same team that produced McCain's ads in 2000.

"I wish they hadn't done it," McCain said of his former advisers. "I don't know if they knew all the facts."

Asked if the White House knew about the ad or helped find financing for it, McCain said, "I hope not, but I don't know. But I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad."

Later, McCain said the Bush campaign has denied any involvement and added, "I can't believe the president would pull such a cheap stunt."

The White House and Bush-Cheney campaign did not address McCain's call that they repudiate the spot, though a Bush spokesman said the campaign does not question Kerry's highly decorated war service. McCain is co-chair of Bush's campaign in Arizona.

In 2000, Bush's supporters sponsored a rumor campaign against McCain in the South Carolina primary, helping Bush win the primary and the nomination. McCain's supporters have never forgiven the Bush team.

McCain said that's all in the past to him, but he's speaking out against the anti-Kerry ad because "it reopens all the old wounds of the Vietnam War, which I spent the last 35 years trying to heal."

"I deplore this kind of politics," McCain said. "I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War."

On one hand, Senator McCain continues as the Bush campaign co-chair for Arizona. On the other, he has made it clear that he will cross party lines to defend his fellow veteran:
McCain recalled that he had worked with Kerry on "POW/MIA issues and the normalization of relations with Vietnam" and wanted to stand up for his war comrade because "you have to do what's right." Speaking of Kerry, McCain said: "He's my friend. He'll continue to be my friend. I know his service was honorable. If that hurts me politically or with my party, that's a very small price to pay."
McCain has been specific and consistent in framing his defense of Kerry as a veterans issue, not a partisan issue, and a need to put the ghosts of Vietnam behind the country and move forward.

However, when McCain says he's speaking out against the Kerry smear campaign because it " reopens all the old wounds," he may just as well be referring to the 2000 Republican presidential primary.

Bush v McCain 2000

The exchange between McCain and Bush shown in the Kerry ad does no begin to convey the extent of Bush's negative and personal attacks against John McCain in the 2000 Republican presidential primary.
Bush Supporters Called McCain "The Fag Candidate."
In South Carolina, Bush supporters circulated church fliers that labeled McCain "the fag candidate." Columnist Frank Rich noted that the fliers were distributed "even as Bush subtly reinforced that message by indicating he wouldn't hire openly gay people for his administration."
(Washington Post, 2/18/00; Rich op-ed, Austin American-Statesman, 2/29/00)

McCain Slurs Included Illegitimate Children, Homosexuality And A Drug-Addict Wife.
Among the rumors circulated against McCain in 2000 in South Carolina was that his adopted Bangladeshi daughter was actually black, that McCain was both gay and cheated on his wife, and that his wife Cindy was a drug addict."
(Ivins column, The Nation, 6/18/01)

Bush Campaign Used Code Words to Question McCain's Temper.
"A smear campaign of the ugliest sort is now coursing through the contest for the presidency in 2000. Using the code word "temper," a group of Senate Republicans, and at least some outriders of the George W. Bush campaign, are spreading the word that John McCain is unstable. The subtext, also suggested in this whispering campaign, is that he returned from 5 1/2 years as a POW in North Vietnam with a loose screw. And it is bruited about that he shouldn't be entrusted with nuclear weapons."
(Drew op-ed, Washington Post, 11/19/99)

Bush Supporters Questioned McCain's Sanity.
"Some of George W. Bush's supporters have questioned Republican presidential candidate John McCain's fitness for the White House, suggesting that his five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam drove him insane at the time."
(Lansing State Journal, 11/23/99)

Bush Supporters Spread Racist Rumors About McCain's Daughter.
Bush supporters in South Carolina made race-baiting phone calls saying that McCain had a "black child." The McCains' daughter, Bridget, was adopted from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh. In August 2000, columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that the McCains "are still seething about Bush supporters in South Carolina spreading word of their dark-skinned adopted daughter."
(Time, 3/6/00; Boston Globe, 3/4/00; Dowd column, New York Times, 8/9/00)

Rove Suggests Former POW McCain Committed Treason and Fathered Child With Black Prostitute.
In 2000, McCain operatives in SC accused Rove of spreading rumors against McCain, such as "suggestions that McCain had committed treason while a prisoner of war, and had fathered a child by a black prostitute," according to the New Yorker. (New Yorker, 5/12/03)

After Rove Denied Role In McCain Whisper Campaign, Reporters Concluded He Was Behind It.
A December 1999 Dallas Morning News linked Rove to a series of campaign dirty tricks, including his College Republican efforts, allegedly starting a whisper campaign about Ann Richard being too gay-friendly, spreading stories about Jim Hightower's involvement in a kickback scheme and leaking the educational history of Lena Guerrero. The article also outlined current dirty tricks and whisper campaigns against McCain in South Carolina, including that "McCain may be unstable as a result of being tortured while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam."
(DMN, 12/2/99)

After the article was published, Rove blasted Slater in the Manchester, NH airport, "nose to nose" according to one witness, with Rove claiming Slater had "harmed his reputation," Slater later noted. But according to one witness, "What was interesting then is that everyone on the campaign charter concluded that Rove was responsible for rumors about McCain."
(The Nation, 3/5/01)

Rove Was In Close Touch With McConnell, McCain-Feingold's Chief Opponent.
Senior White House adviser Karl Rove was in close contact with Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) during McConnell's effort to fight the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Bill in the U.S. Senate. According to Newsweek, though Rove and Bush have publicly kept their distance from McConnell on the issue, "sources tell Newsweek that Rove is, in fact, in close touch with McConnell as GOP experts study the bill for hidden land mines."
(Newsweek, 2/25/02)

Bush Campaign Accused of Using Push Polls Against McCain.
College of Charleston student Suzette Latsko said she received a telephone call from a woman who identified herself as an employee of Voter/Consumer Research, and that the caller misrepresented McCain's positions and asked if Latsko knew McCain had been reprimanded for interfering with federal regulators in the savings and loan scandal. Voter/Consumer Research is listed as a polling contractor on Bush's Federal Election Commission filings; the Bush campaign has paid Voter/Consumer Research $93,000 through December 31, 1999. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer denied the call was a push poll, but said it was important that the Republican Party remember McCain's role in the S&L crisis.
(Houston Chronicle, 2/8/00)

Bush Campaign Acknowledged Making Phone Calls.
Tucker Eskew, Bush's South Carolina spokesman, acknowledged the Bush campaign made such calls, but claimed they were not "push polls." Eskew added, "Show me a baseless comment in those questions."
(Post and Courier, 2/8/00)

Bush Used Fringe Veterans Group to Attack McCain as "Manchurian Candidate."
"In the case of Ted Sampley, the same guy who did Bush's dirty work in going after Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries is doing the job against Kerry this year. Sampley dared compare McCain, who spent five years as a Vietnam POW, with 'the Manchurian Candidate.'"
(Dionne op-ed, Washington Post, 4/27/04)

Sampley Called McCain a "Coward" and a Traitor.
"Sampley... accused McCain of being a weak-minded coward who had escaped death by collaborating with the enemy. Sampley claimed that McCain had first been compromised by the Vietnamese, then recruited by the Soviets."
When John McCain says of the attacks on Kerry that "It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," the "kind of deal" he is referring to means attacks on his wife, attacks on his daughter, defamation of character, and out and out lies.

"It reopens old wounds." Indeed.

PBS has a full transcript of the Feb. 15, 2000 debate, from which the ad text was excerpted. While the ad only shows John McCain's remarks, the transcript reveals how Bush responded.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: You should be ashamed.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah, let me speak to that.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: You should be ashamed. Now, if you want to hear...

LARRY KING: Is he responsible for what someone else says?

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Well, this same man... He stood next to him, it was his event... This same man had attacked his father viciously.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: John, I believe that you served our country nobly, and I've said it over and over again. That man wasn't speaking for me. He may have a dispute with you...

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: He was at your event.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Let me finish, please. Please.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: He's listed as your--

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: let me finish. Let me finish. (Laughter)

LARRY KING: Let him finish.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: The man was not speaking for me. If you want to know my opinion about you, John, you served our country admirably and strongly, and I am proud of your record just like you are. And I don't appreciate what he said about my dad either.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: You paid for an event... (Applause) ...You paid for an event and stood next to a person. And when you were asked if you would repudiate him, you said, "no."

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: No, John, what I said... What I said... Let me say what I said...

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Let me tell you what happened after that...

LARRY KING: But I want Alan to give me one thing. If you have a surrogate making a speech for you today, are you responsible for what he says?

ALAN KEYES: I... I really am sitting here wondering, because I said we were going out to 202 countries. And is this kind of pointless squabbling really what we want them to see? (Applause) We're talking about electing the President of the United States; it seems to me, we could let their ad people get in the back room and fight it out and let the American people hear what they've got...

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Let me just finish up, okay?

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Let me say one thing about all this business, John.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: I told you, I pulled them all down.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: You didn't pull this ad.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Yes I did.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: This, that ended up in a man's windshield yesterday. It questions my... This is an attack piece.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: That is not by my campaign.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, it says paid for by John McCain. (Laughter)

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: that is not by my campaign.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Well then, somebody's putting stuff out -

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: I called that off.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: I agree with you.

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: ..But you're putting out stuff that is unbelievable, George, and it's got to stop. And your answer's got to stop.

LARRY KING: Well, let me put... Il end it now. Are you going to pull anything?

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm going to see about what I'm putting on TV. And what I put on TV was looking in that camera and saying, "you can disagree with me on issues, John, but do not question... do not question my trustworthiness, and do not compare me to Bill Clinton."

LARRY KING: We want to thank Senator McCain, Ambassador Keyes and Governor Bush. Thank you very much for joining us. Good night.
In 2000, Bush's response was also to change the subject and refuse to repudiate the attackers--the same m.o. that he has refined and resurrected in the 2004 campaign.

Republican Verbal Legerdemain

In the 2000 primary, Bush deflected the question of his campaign's ad hominem attacks on John McCain's relationship with Veterans to the Bush campaign official narrative, that McCain had breached his trust by comparing Bush with Clinton. (I have to ask: who, today, could imagine comparing George Bush with Bill Clinton?)

Bush's answer deftly reframed Bush as the innocent victim and McCain as the aggressor and transgressor.

The official Whitehouse response on August 19 to McCain's calls for Bush to denounce the attacks on Kerry are a structural replay of the 2000 debate.
Q On the Swift Boat ad, Kerry is saying that the President is relying on front groups to challenge Kerry's war record. Why won't the President
denounce this particular ad? McCain asked the President to do so, and every day that you don't condemn it, it just leaves the door open for the issue to continue.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, Pete, I think there's a little bit of a mischaracterization there. Senator Kerry knows that his latest attack is false and baseless. The President has condemned all of the ads by the shadowy groups. We have called on Senator Kerry to join us in calling for an end to all the unregulated soft money activity that is going on in this campaign. And the President has stayed focused on the issues and the choices that the voters face. That's what this ought to be about. There are some clear choices that the voters face for the future. This should not be about the past, and we've made that very clear.

Q But don't you think you could put this matter to rest if you would just condemn this particular ad? That's what Kerry is asking.

MR. McCLELLAN: And the President has condemned all of the ads and condemned all of the soft money -- unregulated soft money that is going on. Senator Kerry should join us in calling for an end to all of this soft money -- unregulated soft money activity. Senator Kerry has declined to do so. The President has been on the receiving end of more than $62 million in negative, false attacks from these shadowy groups that exist. The President thought that we got rid of all of this kind of soft money activity when he signed the campaign finance reforms into law. Apparently Senator Kerry was against this soft money activity previously, too. Now he appears to be for it, as long as it benefits his

Q There are the ads, and then there's the charge within the ads. Last week at one of the "Ask President Bush" events, a voter stood up and repeated the charge that Senator Kerry had self-inflicted wounds in Vietnam. The President didn't say anything. What does the President think about the charge?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, the President thinks that we should get rid of all of this unregulated soft money activity by these shadowy groups. It's not known who is contributing to these groups. The President believes that there ought to be full disclosure and rapid disclosure of contributions. He's called for that previously. He has set an example by doing that himself.

This campaign has focused on the future, not the past. We have focused on debating the issues and debating the candidates' visions. The President has talked about the clear choices we face on the important priorities, such as the war on terrorism. And there are some clear differences there. There are clear differences on how we go about supporting our troops while they wage the war on terrorism. Senator Kerry has voted against supporting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, when last year he voted against the $87 billion appropriation. So there are some real differences on the issues, where this campaign ought to be
focused. And that's what the President will continue to do.

Q Well, the charge, though, has been made not just in advertisements, but it has now been made directly to the President.

MR. McCLELLAN: And there have been a lot of false, negative charges made against the President by these shadowy groups. So if he would join us, we could get rid of all of this unregulated soft money activity.

Q Let me ask it this way: The President has said and believes that John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam, right?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, he's made that very clear. We've made it very clear that we will not make his -- will never raise questions about his service. We haven't, and we won't.

Q This advertisement raises questions about his service, and in fact concludes that he served dishonorably. So the President thinks this ad is false, right?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the issue here is these unregulated soft money groups that exist. The campaign finance reforms were passed in order to get rid of this kind of activity. Yet there is a loophole in the law, and the FEC has refused to address it. We think that all of this activity should be stopped.

Q Could I follow on that? Because what Terry seems to be getting at, what's clear from this event that Bush had last week --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, let's not be selective here. Let's look at the overall activity that's going on by all of these shadowy groups. I think we're being a little selective right now. And Senator Kerry is being -- is trying to have it all ways, yet again. He says one thing, while his campaign goes out there and does another thing.

Q Well, even given your belief that it's selective, the President on the one hand will say --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, is it not? I mean, the President has been on the receiving end of --

Q I'm asking the questions right now. The point is that the President has let stand these charges, even made by a voter at one his events, as Terry says, doesn't say a word about it when he quotes these charges, just lets it go. It seems like the President, while he has certainly called his service noble in the Vietnam War, is happy to let all the rest of the charges sort of fester.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, actually I disagree fully with you, David. Senator Kerry is the one who has given his tacit approval to this kind of unregulated soft money activity by shadowy groups. He can join us in condemning all of this activity and calling for an end to it, and then we can move on to really focus on what this campaign should be about, which is about the differences on the key issues, the differences on the war on terrorism, the differences on how we go about strengthening our economy, and the differences on how we go about supporting our troops when they're at war.

Q You just don't want to get into the business of making a judgment about one ad, is your point.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that it's important that we recognize that there is a loop hole that groups are exploiting. And we should end all this activity. That was one of the purposes of the campaign finance reform.

Q Do you and the President agree that John Kerry served dishonorably in Vietnam?

MR. McCLELLAN: We've already said that. The President has already said that, we've already said that, we've made that clear, that -- the President said that he served nobly.

Q Do you believe it's fair game for allies of the President to be charging that John Kerry served dishonrably?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, ultimately in any campaign the voters are going to make the ultimate decision on all the issues. But this goes to the issue of shadowy groups that are funded by unregulated soft money. That's what this issue is about.

Q By not condemning this ad, you are leaving the impression that you support the contention that John Kerry served dishonorably.

MR. McCLELLAN: We condemned all the ads, Dana. We condemned all the ads. The President condemned all the ads. You heard from him just recently. Why won't -- why won't Senator Kerry join us in calling for an end to of this activity, when we've been on the receiving end of substantial amounts of money of this kind of activity.

Q Forget about the ads. Why won't you disassociate yourself from the charge that John Kerry served dishonorably in Vietnam?

MR. McCLELLAN: We've never questioned his service, and we never will. So I think we've made that very clear.

Q So he earned those medals?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, we're not going to question his service. We have not, and we will not.
In the Whitehouse briefing, McClellan is recast in George Bush's role from the 2000 debates, with the press in McCain's role--without Alan Keyes or Larry King to let Bush off the hook.

McClellan, to his cynical credit, stays "on message" throughout this section of the briefing. (When did "on message" become a euphemism for obfuscation?) He reframes the issue as a debate on the "problems" of 527's, or soft-money organizations:
Senator Kerry knows that his latest attack is false and baseless. The President has condemned all of the ads by the shadowy groups. We have called on Senator Kerry to join us in calling for an end to all the unregulated soft money activity that is going onin this campaign.
He refuses to answer to the charges or address the substance of the questions. At the same time, just as Bush did in the 2000 debate, he reframes Bush as the wronged party and Kerry as the as the corrupt politician and aggressor.

When McClellan states, "We've never questioned his service, and we never will," it would be more correct to say that Bush and company have never done their own dirty work, and never denounce their surrogates.

Deals with the Devil

While Bush consistently refuses to denounces his surrogates, he has not been that discriminating about his bedfellows. Back in 2000, Bush was happy to deal with a man who had tried to cost Bush's father his presidential election bid.

In the Feb. 15 debate, McCain said this about Bush's relationship with his attack dog: "Well, this same man... [Bush] stood next to him, it was his event... This same man had attacked his father viciously." McCain is talking about Ted Sampley, who attacked George Bush Sr, accusing him of dooming his fighter pilot crew to their deaths. Sampley's lies, which surpass the pathological towards the utterly outrageous, have been well-documented.

However, despite the relationship between Sampley and Bush the elder, Bush the lesser was happy to use him as an attack surrogate. Or perhaps it was because of Sampley's credentials as a zealot, a vicious attacker, and a blatant liar.

It seems that little Bush held a different standard for Ted Sampley than for Saddam Hussein.

Ted Sampley has, like so many other bits of Bush dirty laundry, resurfaced in the 2004 campaign, as the creator of Vietnam War Veterans Against John Kerry. This time, however, the Bush family is quite assured of his integrity and veracity.

Breaking the Code

The Kerry campaigns new ad is powerful because it alludes to all of the history detailed here, far more than 52 seconds can convey directly. The ad redirects the 2004 campaign debate adroitly from a question of military service to a question of personal character.

The history of Bush's attacks on John McCain speaks loudly to 4 key groups in this election.


Veterans are a highly courted constituency in the 2004 campaign. The subtext of this ad, even more loudly than the ad itself, conveys the message to Veterans that:
  • George Bush has no respect for veterans.
  • George Bush does not understand the nature of service or military culture.
  • George Bush will knowingly malign veterans for his own gain.

    McCain Supporters

    While Bush and the neocons have reached out to the most conservative elements of the Republican party, John McCain's moderate supporters have not forgotten Bush's 2000 attacks that robbed McCain of a shot at the presidency. They, too, remember "old wounds." The ad conflates the attacks on McCain with the attacks on Kerry, and by extension, conflates McCain with Kerry himself.

    The message to McCain supporters is that Kerry virtually *is* McCain: they are both decent men and heroic Vietnam Veterans, under vicious and wrongful attack from George Bush. Instead of presenting Kerry as "anyone but Bush," the ad frames Kerry to McCain supporters as "almost McCain"--and a vote for Kerry is almost a vote for McCain. At the very least, a voter for Kerry is a vote against the man who devastated John McCain and his family with malicious lies in 2000. The implied message to McCain supporters is that voting for Kerry redeems McCain's tribulations--and as the success of Bush's "born again Christian" narrative demonstrates, stories of redemption resonate strongly with the American people.

    The pretext of the message to the Democratic base is, "Bush is doing this again," but the subtext is two-fold: on one hand, it conveys a non-chalance to the base that these attacks are nothing new, nothing suprising, and nothing that John Kerry can't handle--they are merely recycled tactics. On the other hand, the ad reminds the base that the Bush attack machine defeated McCain in 2000 and must be stopped. At a time when voices on the left are starting to express concern that smugness about polling data and a projected election victory will demotivate Kerry campaign volunteers, a good antidote is to tell the grassroots that the Bush attacks are a serious threat. The message: "McCain was the better man, but he lost: get busy." The ad is ultimately a call to action for the base.

    Swing Voters

    The Bush campaign has gone to great lengths to depict Bush as a "regular guy" (reminiscent of Bartlet's re-election opponent Robert Richie on the West Wing), a "good guy," and a "man of the people." This ad shows, rather than tells, swing voters, without any partisan tactics or spokespeople, that George Bush is a monster that will stop at nothing to win. John McCain's voice in the ad is heart-breaking, while Bush can barely restrain a smirk. Most Americans wouldn't want to be associated with the kind of man Bush is revealed to be in this footage, let alone elect him president.

    McCain, Bush, and the Kerry Message

    On August 19, John Kerry gave a speech to the Boston Firefighters that included a new theme: George Bush owes the American people an answer.

    The new ad picks up where the speech left off: Bush owes McCain an apology...and by extension, Republicans, Veterans, John Kerry, and the American people. George Bush owes the American people an apology.

    And, the ad clearly states John Kerry's appraisal of George Bush: "America can do better." Better than a man who lies and cheats to win, better than a man who'll draw your wife and child into the fight, better than a man who denies responsibility for his actions, better than a man who says one thing to your face but does another behind your back. American can do better than George Bush.

    The ad also takes a lesson from the GOP and radically reframes the debate. Ever since the Swift Boat Veterans resurfaced, the 2004 election has been distracted by a manufactured debate on Kerry's war record. The ad turns the debate into a discussion on the primacy of American values of fairness, honesty, decency, and fair play. In other words, the Kerry campaign just brought the debate to a place where, on a level playing field, George Bush can't compete.

    Distributed Democracy

    Kudos go to the Kerry campaign for stretching their limited campaign dollars. The ad should have cost next to nothing to produce out of existing footage and minor editing, and is costing nothing to distribute.

    The campaigns is not airing the ad on TV (note the non-standard length of 52 seconds). On August 21, the campaign emailed the ad to 200,000 veterans activists as well as the entire Kerry online community. Kerry is bringing in the people (Joe Trippi, they are finally listening!), and counting on the help of supporters and the power of viral marketing to spread the ad.

    This new ad is light years ahead of anything we've seen yet from the Kerry Campaign so far. Maybe Mary Beth Cahill reads blogs after all.

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