I knew he would when the Swift Boatees started falling apart. And I knew he wouldn't have for as long as they didn't get caught.
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush (news - web sites) denounced TV ads by outside groups attacking both John Kerry (news - web sites) and himself on Monday and called for a halt to all such political efforts. "I think they're bad for the system," he said.
In a conference call with reporters arranged by aides to the Democratic presidential candidate, Navy swift boat officers Rich McCann, Jim Russell and Rich Baker said Kerry acted honorably and bravely and was well qualified to be the nation's commander in chief.
"He was the most aggressive officer in charge of swift boats," Baker said.
Additionally, crewmate Del Sandusky said at a news conference in Harrisburg, Pa., that he personally witnessed the battle action for which Kerry received Silver and Bronze stars and two of his three Purple Hearts.
"He deserved every one of his medals," Sandusky, a retired computer repairman who drove Kerry's boat for nearly three months.
"The president ... and (political adviser) Karl Rove have flipped back to the well-worn smear page of their campaign playbook, last used against John McCain in 2000," Kerry's campaign said in a statement Sunday. Voters want to hear about the issues, "not lies and smears, and it's time the president realized that."
A new Kerry campaign ad says Bush smeared McCain four years ago and "Now, he's doing it to John Kerry."
A former Vietnam prisoner of war, McCain lost the South Carolina Republican primary in 2000 after Bush supporters accused him of opposing legislation to help military veterans. McCain never recovered from that primary loss.