Radio Left :: SwiftVets: Reviving an Old Fight with John Kerry

Gotta love false advertising. When will they learn.

SwiftVets: Reviving an Old Fight with John Kerry

by Radio Left at 03:33PM (CDT) on August 6, 2004 Permanent Link

August 5th, 2004 Shane Corey Reprinted by Permission of WashingtonDispatch.com

(Shane Corey will be with us on during our Friday show GS)

A new anti-Kerry group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, came out swinging this week with a scathing advertisement against John Kerry that questions his service including a purple heart that he was awarded while in Vietnam.

The group which was hastily assembled is incredibly well organized . . . comparable to an RNC "war room" effort. The group was formed online in April of this year and yet they have amassed over $150,000 and have in place an extremely effective media office. Within just a few months, SwiftVets have created massive interest on the Internet, produced and placed professional attack ads, pushed a book, and even has speaking engagements booked up until October. Clearly, this is not a grassroots effort.

The group was officially announced in May of 2004 at a National Press Club event by Merrie Spaeth of Spaeth Communications. It has been alleged that Merrie Spaeth assisted in the infamous attacks on John McCain in 2000 when he was running against George W. Bush. Spaeth denied the allegation in a Boston Globe interview in May of this year. Spaeth is known as an extremely well connected RNC communications operative.

Merrie Spaeth, a top Bush donor and a former Reagan administration staffer, was married to Tex Lezar who died in January of 2002 of a heart attack. The late Mr. Lezar ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1994, the same year George W. Bush stumped for governor. Additionally he was a law partner of John O'Neill, one of the leaders of SwiftVets.

John O'Neill is an old foe of John Kerry. With the help of Nixon's chief counsel, Chuck Colson (of Watergate notoriety), O'Neill formed Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace that countered Kerry's group. The two men debated on national television in 1971.

Mr. O'Neill was a swift boat commander in Vietnam but did not serve directly with Kerry. Kerry left Vietnam in April of 1969 while O'Neill was beginning his command.

According to the New York Times, SwiftVets was initially funded with $100,000 by Bob J. Perry, a Houston home builder. Employees of Perry Homes provided republican interests with nearly $70,000 in donations since 1999.

This is obviously an old grudge match that goes back to the 1970's. The fight that began in 1971 between John O'Neill and John Kerry will most likely continue on through this election season.