A Vietnam veterans organization and a Vietnamese-American group have united in opposition to Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. John Kerry.

“We represent hundreds of thousands of American veterans who do not want to see John Kerry anywhere near the Oval Office,” said Ted Sampley, founder of Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry. Sampley is a U.S. Army Green Beret and veteran of two combat tours in Vietnam.

Said Sampley: “I have personally dealt with John Kerry on the issue of U.S. POWs left behind in Vietnam. Kerry is not truthful and is not worthy of the support of U.S. veterans. Many Vietnam vets have been duped into thinking Kerry is their friend. He is not. To us, he is ‘Hanoi John.'”

Dan Tran is president of the Vietnam Human Rights Project and a member of Vietnamese Americans Against John Kerry.

“John Kerry aided and abetted the communist government in Hanoi and has hindered any human rights progress in Vietnam,” Tran said.

Said the new coalition in a statement: “In the Senate, Kerry blocked the Vietnam human rights (and religious freedom) bill on behalf of Hanoi, while the Vietnamese Communists continue to wage a war of repression against the non-Communist Vietnamese and a war of genocide against our former allies the Montagnard ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.”

The coalition plans nationwide demonstrations against Kerry beginning with the New York and Massachusetts primaries.

Sampley’s reference to Kerry as “Hanoi John” represents a campaign issue that could become a big problem for the Democrat. A photo on the Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry website shows anti-war activist Jane Fonda at a Valley Forge rally sitting a few feet ahead of Kerry.

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh features the photo on his website with the caption: “The picture Democrats have been hoping nobody had: John Kerry sitting behind Jane Fonda during an anti-war rally at Valley Forge, PA in September 1970.”

Kerry has been roundly criticized for anti-war activities he participated in following his military service in Vietnam.

A proposed bumper sticker image that encapsulates the issue is making its away around the Internet. The sticker says, “Kerry-Fonda 2004” and includes the image of a Viet Cong flag.

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