Bush Advisors Say Campaign Won't Question Kerry's Service
Bush campaign strategists Matthew Dowd and Mary Matalin yesterday said the GOP campaign would not question Sen. Kerry's Vietnam service. Dowd told CBS' Face the Nation, "We will never question and have never questioned John Kerry's service in Vietnam. We've never done that. Even though they've questioned the president's service in the National Guard, we have never questioned John Kerry's service. We are all for every one of these 527s and independent groups taking their spots off the air." Matalin said on Fox News Sunday, "Contrary to the false accusations of this Kerry campaign, we have never questioned his service. This is a canard of theirs. What we do question is the record, his record for the 19 years that he was in the Senate during the rise of this Islamic fundamentalism where he cut the biggest tool against these terrorists, which is intelligence."
Kerry strategist Tad Devine, however, said on CBS' Face the Nation that the ads were part of a "Bush tactic. It's precisely what they did to Senator John McCain in the South Carolina primary four years ago. The president stands there silently. He was asked in a town meeting the other day about this. And he just sort of, you know, said nothing and turned his shoulders. The president should do the right thing. . . . And I'll tell you what. John McCain is right. This is dishonest and dishonorable. And John McCain was right to call on the Bush campaign to disavow this. And it's sad for this country that this president refuses to do so."
Commentators Say Controversy Could Hurt Kerry.
Susan Page said on Fox New Sunday the ads "have succeeded in taking a big positive for John Kerry and making it, if not a negative, at least a question mark, in terms of his service in Vietnam." On the same show, Bill Kristol said that "the degree to which Kerry has hinged everything on Vietnam does make you wonder whether this could have some effect."
FEC To Consider New Proposal To Regulate 527 Groups.
According to this morning's Roll Call , the Federal Election Commission this week "will take another stab at the dicey question of whether 527 groups ought to be subject to regulation under federal campaign finance laws and, if so, how to go about it." The FEC's "top lawyers" unveiled a proposal Friday that "said they would not recommend relying solely on a group's status under Section 527 of the tax code for qualification as a federal political committee."