Kerry Gets "Lukewarm" Response From VFW Convention
Sen. Kerry yesterday addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, criticizing President Bush's plan to redeploy US forces worldwide. Much of the coverage of the event, however, focused on the crowd's response to the Democratic nominee. The Cincinnati Post, for example, described it as "markedly less enthusiastic" than the one Bush received when he spoke to the group Monday and ABC World News Tonight called "lukewarm." NBC Nightly News, meanwhile, said the crowd's reception of the Massachusetts senator "was decidedly chilly.
The veterans' reaction, in fact, suggests the anti-Kerry campaign being waged by the group Swift Veterans for Truth may be having an effect on Kerry's image, at least among veterans. ABC World News Tonight said "many" veterans "are still steaming over" Kerry's "anti-war activities, and attacks on his war record have further fed suspicions." NBC Nightly News reports on "empty seats and some cold shoulders" at the event, as Kerry's anti-war activities, "along with allegations about his medals and his vote against the $87 billion in troop funding, have made this year's veterans' vote. . .a challenge" for the Democrat. According to the New York Times, "about half the veterans in the front part of the auditorium remained seated during ovations after Mr. Kerry's introduction and conclusion," while a "heckler shouted 'Liar!' several times."
Local TV coverage of Kerry's speech was widespread, and also reflected the tenor of the crowd's reaction. Typical of the coverage was Cincinnati's WXIX-TV, which said last night the crowd "was smaller than the one Bush enjoyed," and "the reception. . .could be described as polite."
Kerry Criticizes Redeployment Plan, Bush Camp Says Senator Flip-Flopping.
In his remarks to the VFW, Kerry "harshly criticized the President's plan to recall 70,000 troops from Cold War-era bases in Europe and Asia," reported the CBS Evening News. ABC World News Tonight noted the Democratic senator "said the Bush plan won't help in the war on terror, might anger allies whose economies are boosted by the presence of US troops, and is the wrong message to Korea."
CBS Evening News reported the Bush campaign "wasted little time pointing out what it calls Kerry's latest 'flip flop': a recent TV interview in which the Senator supports reducing troops in Iraq and elsewhere." Kerry (from August 1 This Week): "I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just there, but elsewhere in the world in the Korean peninsula, perhaps; in Europe, perhaps."