The controversy keeps going! Are the Swift Boat Veterans liars? Is the Kerry campaign trying to hide from their story by having the media distort it? Is this mess intended by some to suck us all into a a swirly mass of confusion?
Yesterday, CNN spoke briefly about a possible contradiction in one of the Swift Boat Veterans, John O'Neil's, previous statements. Glenn Reynolds, as linked to above, gives a good explanation that could resolve that question that was brought up.
Also yeseterday, Kerry sent former senator and recent democrat icon Max Cleland to Bush's Crawford ranch. A little bit of background - Cleland is a triple amputee senator who is beloved by many on the left because he was booted for office in ads they feel were overly hostile. Anyway, Cleland was, newspaper cameras in toto, to deliver a letter to Bush criticizing him for not condemning the SBVT.
What was this visit and this attacks on the credibility of the SBVT designed to accomplish? Simple - To make Bush look bad while preserving Kerry's hide. The real question is whether these objectives are succeeding.
Well, let's look at some different perspectives. First off, Steve Gilliard has these general comments after the stunt
My feeling is that Kerry and his team timed this perfectly. They let O'Neill spread his lies, and then just ambushed him like he did the VC. Everyone is now all in his shit, looking at his past. I think Rove thought he would jump Kerry, and Kerry would just blow this off as nonsense. Well, he's not Al Gore. He's coming back hard at Bush, and having two decorated Vietnam Vets land on his doorstep to be turned away is perfect. Maybe they can kick Cleland's wheelchair as well.
Bush walked right into a trap, all the idiot nervous nellies who think that Kerry should have attacked weeks ago, have no taste for the finer things in life. Bush is called a liar in the media, Rove's dirty tricks machine is being unraveled as we watch, and he's limited Bush's actions in the future. They really blew their wad with this Swift Boat attack.
Maybe they ought to come on horseback and really scare the shit out of Bush. Too bad they have to go to Central Texas in the middle of August, but that's where Bush is.
However, Powerline has a very different take on some of this:
The Bush camp apparently had word of Cleland's approach, and were prepared. They had a representative poised to deliver a responsive letter to Cleland. Here is what happened:
A Texas state official and Vietnam veteran, Jerry Patterson, said someone from the Bush campaign contacted him Wednesday morning and asked him if he would travel to the ranch, welcome Cleland to Texas and accept the former senator's letter to Bush.
"I tried to accept that letter and he would not give it to me," said Patterson. "He would not face me. He kept rolling away from me. He's quite mobile."
Patterson, who spoke with the president on the phone, said the campaign asked him to give Cleland a letter for Kerry written by the Bush campaign and signed by Patterson and seven other veterans.
"You can't have it both ways," the letter said. "You can't build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up."
November can't come too soon; neither can the day when we see the last of Max Cleland on the public stage.
Update (via Drudge): Dems are now asking Ashcroft to look into whether there was "illegal" (i.e. criminal) activity in links between the White House attorny and Swift Boat Veterans for truth. My take - the fact that this friviolous charge is getting press is more evidence of the desire to confuse the public with irrelevant facts.