In a third television ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, one of John Kerry’s crew members accuses the presidential candidate of lying, charging he falsely claimed to have spent Christmas in Cambodia in 1968.
Foregunner Steve Gardner, who served on Kerry’s PCF [Patrol Craft Fast] – 44 in Vietnam in late 1968 and early 1969, is the only one of 10 former crew members to reject Kerry’s plea to campaign for him.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has 254 of Kerry’s former colleagues in Vietnam, including every officer who served in the chain of command above him, contending Kerry is unfit to be commander in chief.
In the ad, Gardner refers to the claim Kerry has made for 35 years, including from the Senate floor in a 1986 speech in which he said, “I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting in a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the president of the United States tell the American people I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have the memory which is seared – seared – in me. … ”
“I spent more time on John Kerry’s boat than any other crew member. John Kerry has not been honest. He has been deceitful.
“John Kerry claims he spent Christmas in Cambodia in 1968, and that is categorically a lie. Not in December, not in January, we were never in Cambodia on a secret mission, ever.”
On August 11, Fox News Channel reported the Kerry campaign “has been forced to admit errors” in Kerry’s statement to the Senate, and also in a 1979 Boston Herald article.
John Hurley, the national director of Veterans for Kerry, said, “I don’t know that anyone can actually say whether or not they were in Cambodia. [It is a] very watery area. It is – there’s no sign that says welcome to Cambodia. It is – it is obviously dusk and getting darker, and so they were in those waters.”
FNC reported Kerry’s campaign also says he was in Cambodia on a different mission with Navy Seals, but can provide no date for that mission.
Stated Hurley: “He was five miles into Cambodia, but what’s happened is these two stories have gotten confused.”
Hurley says Kerry was simply mistaken about the date of his incursion.
“I think that he knows that he was under fire in Cambodia,” he said. “I think the date is what’s inaccurate, that it was just not Christmas Eve Day.”
The swiftboat vets’ second ad, released at the beginning of this week to play in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, features former POWs charging Kerry with betrayal for accusing them of war atrocities during his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971.
The first TV commercial quoted Kerry’s Vietnam comrades calling him a liar, questioning his honor, accusing him of misrepresenting his actions for medals and attacking his character.