Democrats Expected To Continue Stressing Kerry's Vietnam Record
U.S. News and World Report reports that Democrats "believe they can win with John Kerry, and winning with Kerry means winning with Vietnam. No image, no theme, no message has shaped his campaign as much as the war that deeply divided this nation more than three decades ago. Vietnam defines Kerry the man and Kerry the campaigner. He believes it shows his values (he volunteered while others ducked or dodged), it shows his leadership (he commanded troops in battle), it shows his compassion (he saved a life or two), it shows his toughness (he took a life or two), it shows his moral strength (he had the courage to later oppose the war he fought in), and it shows his vision (he has experienced the horrors of war and will not be quick to commit American troops to combat without a good reason)."
Robert Novak writes in the Chicago Sun Times, however, that Kerry "has opened a door that could prove troublesome for him. Even before his acceptance speech, a conservative 527 organization (funded by soft money) opened an Internet site attacking his war record from two angles: that his 1971 accusations of widespread U.S. war crimes in Vietnam were untrue and that his record of heroism is contradicted by other veterans."