Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard examines the Bush “smear machine” (hat tip to PoliPundit)
A STAPLE OF DEMOCRATIC RHETORIC these days is the charge that a "Republican attack machine" is smearing John Kerry. Is it really true that Republicans are impugning Kerry's military service in Vietnam and questioning his patriotism? Seeking an answer, my colleague at Fox News, Morton Kondracke, asked the Democratic National Committee to supply evidence of Republican mudslinging. Send me the worst of the smears by the Republican National Committee or President Bush's reelection campaign, Kondracke said.Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot from Senator Splunge’s positive campaign:
What the DNC produced didn't come close to substantiating the charge of smears about Kerry's military record or patriotism. The Democratic committee couldn't cite anyone from the RNC or the Bush campaign--or the White House for that matter--who had criticized Kerry for his service in Vietnam or raised doubts about his patriotism. For the most part, what the DNC called smears were attacks on Kerry's antiwar activity after he left the Navy.
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Even when Bush campaign leaders insist they have never questioned Kerry's military service, they get attacked for doing just that. On Fox News Sunday, Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot said neither he nor other campaign officials had ever criticized Kerry for his Vietnam service, nor would they. The response of Jean Shaheen, a chair for the Kerry campaign, was that Republicans have questioned Kerry's "courage" and that this was unconscionable. She cited no examples.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) dueled with President Bush over taxes and the economy yesterday and then, in an offhand comment to factory workers in Chicago, called the Republicans "the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen," triggering an angry denunciation from Bush's campaign.John Kerry: he didn’t run a smear campaign, except when he did.