Washington Secrets

John Kerry: Obama being 'swiftboated'

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Columnists

Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate on Friday charged that critics are trying to "swiftboat" President Obama with false and "ridiculous" claims and that Mitt Romney is a foreign policy rookie who embarrassed himself during a recent trip to London.

In a letter to Obama's supporters, he railed on the charges Obama has been hit with, including those from the so-called "birthers."

The attacks, he said, "remind me all too well of the notorious 'Swift Boat' attacks I faced in the 2004 campaign." He was referencing devastating charges from fellow Vietnam War veterans questioning his service.

In the note, he also slapped Romney for being a foreign policy novice and potential presidential disaster. "Republicans have a candidate with absolutely no foreign policy experience, who thinks Russia is our 'number one geo-political foe' and who is advised by people who think -- and have repeatedly said -- the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia are countries that still exist. Romney's two major foreign policy speeches never even mentioned Al Qaeda once, and he's prone to stumbles when he steps onto the foreign policy stage. He can't even manage to visit London without causing an international incident!"

Below is Kerry's note:

P -- It's easy to look at the attacks, smears, and lies being told about President Obama and his record and say, "Come on, that's ridiculous. No one could possibly believe that."

Trust me: You and I learned the hard way eight years ago this August that in the new world we're living in -- one with 24-hour news cycles, the internet, blogs, the echo chamber, and now the new Citizens United-fueled Republican money machine -- even completely baseless attacks can stick if people don't call them out quickly enough. No matter how self-evidently false the attacks are, or how disreputable the people telling them may be, there's no attack that can't take hold.

Seeing the new outrageous attacks made against President Obama from a shadowy Republican-allied veterans group called OPSEC, which take issue with the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, remind me all too well of the notorious "Swift Boat" attacks I faced in the 2004 campaign. I honor and appreciate the service of my fellow veterans, but a false attack is a false attack -- no matter who's making it.

It's not enough to wish them away or dismiss them because they come in part from "birthers" who still won't concede that President Obama was born here in the United States.

No, we need to get moving now -- before it's too late.

Take a look at this blog post that fact-checks these most recent smears, and be sure to share it with others: http://bit.ly/NN0vst

Throughout this campaign, Mitt Romney and his allies have shown that if the truth isn't favorable to them, they have no problem claiming the opposite -- and the reality is that President Obama has a foreign policy record that is among the strongest in recent memory.

In 2008, then-Senator Obama said he'd end the war in Iraq in a responsible way and refocus on taking out Al Qaeda's leaders.

You and I know he's followed through in a big way on both those promises.

In contrast, the Republicans have a candidate with absolutely no foreign policy experience, who thinks Russia is our "number one geopolitical foe" and who is advised by people who think -- and have repeatedly said -- the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia are countries that still exist. Romney's two major foreign policy speeches never even mentioned Al Qaeda once, and he's prone to stumbles when he steps onto the foreign policy stage. (He can't even manage to visit London without causing an international incident!)

Faced with all this, it shouldn't be a surprise that Romney and his allies are resorting to the same national security smear tactics I faced in 2004. We have to take it seriously. Forward this email to your friends, and encourage them to join us on the Truth Team today:

Thanks for fighting back -- forewarned is forearmed!

John

Senator John Kerry

Massachusetts

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