Kerry Finally Finds Ohio - Continues Hammering Bush/Cheney On Dodging Combat
For the second day in a row, John Kerry went after Bush over his failure to account for his National Guard service. And better yet, Kerry finally began campaigning in the critical state of Ohio, after ignoring the state so far. Not surprisingly, the Bush campaign complained that Kerry was dividing America over who served, and how. Given that it was the Bush campaign through their media surrogates and the RNC who brought this issue up, and given that it was Karen Hughes who herself called Kerry’s behavior into question, such criticisms from the White House are the usual hypocritical “do as we say but not as we do” bullshit.
The Kerry camp specifically took aim today at how Bush got into the Guard ahead of so many others, why Bush specifically asked not to be sent overseas, and why Bush has been unable to date to prove he reported for duty in Alabama during 1972-73.
The Democratic statement Tuesday relied largely on press reports to suggest Bush not only avoided combat in Vietnam through enrollment in the National Guard but might have skipped part of that duty as well.
Among the questions raised by the Democrats was: "Bush has said he used no special treatment to get into the guard. How does he explain the fact that he jumped ahead of 150 applicants despite low pilot-aptitude scores?"
"Why did Bush specifically request to not be sent overseas for duty?" the Kerry camp asked. "Why is the Pentagon under orders not to discuss Bush's record with reporters?"
The Democrats also renewed questions about whether Bush shirked duty from May 1972 to May 1973, during which he worked on an unsuccessful US Senate campaign in the state of Alabama and received an early release to attend Harvard Business School.
The question created a stir in February that was calmed, if not completely resolved, after the White House made public a thick stack of documents from Bush's time in the Texas National Guard.
The Democrats came back on it Tuesday, asking "Why does the White House say Bush was on base when Bush's superiors had filed a report saying he was gone for a whole year?" and "Why hasn't Bush himself demonstrated that he showed up for service in Alabama?"
Kerry also bashed Cheney again today for criticizing him on military matters when Cheney himself used five different deferments to dodge service.
"I think a lot of veterans are going to be very angry at a president who can't account for his own service in the National Guard, and a vice president who got every deferment in the world and decided he had better things to do, criticizing somebody who fought for their country and served," Kerry told the reporter during a bus ride from Youngstown to Cleveland.
But the most important part of this story, aside from the willingness of Kerry to stick with an aggressive counterattack, was that it was taking place in Ohio, a state that Kerry needs and can take with effort. It’s about time. For their part, the Bush campaign countered that Kerry’s attack on Bush’s jobs record obscures the fact that Bush has created almost 760,000 jobs – in seven months.
Wow. That’s a whopping 108,000 a month, including the 300,000 largely part-time jobs created in March. Do they really want to brag about that figure?