The Swift Boat Vets continue to dominate the news. I don’t have links for these stories, but Drudge reports that John Kerry has “phone[d] the Swift Boat Vets.” If he’s going to try to persuade his old nemesis John O’Neill to stop the bleeding, I think he’ll be out of luck.
Drudge reports further that Kerry’s campaign is now admitting that his first Purple Heart may have been the result of an accidentally self-inflicted wound (i.e., he threw a hand grenade too close to shore, and was hit by his own shrapnel). Drudge highlights the entry in Kerry’s journal where he says, nine days after the incident for which he was awarded the Purple Heart, that he and his crew haven’t been shot at yet. This is Captain Ed’s story–to my knowledge, he was the first to point out that the journal entry decisively refuted Kerry’s story that led to the Purple Heart. We’ve avoided the “medals” stories, preferring to focus on Kerry’s post-war sellout and on Christmas in Cambodia, but it’s remarkable to see the Kerry campaign backing down, after having denounced the Vets as liars.
BIG TRUNK adds: Click here for Captain Ed’s post on the subject this morning, and check back with him for breaking developments.
DEACON adds: Having recently seen the 1971 debate between John Kerry and John O’Neill on the Dick Cavett show, I concur with Rocket Man that an appeal by Kerry to O’Neill would be fruitless. There’s a chance that withdrawing from the presidential race would move O’Neill, but that’s about what it would take.
UPDATE: Here is Drudge’s account of Kerry’s “reach out” experience:
Kerry reached out to Robert “Friar Tuck” Brant Cdr., USN (RET) Sunday night, just hours after former Sen. Bob Dole publicly challenged Kerry to apologize to veterans.
Brant was skipper of the #96 and # 36 boat and spent time with Kerry in An Thoi. Kerry and Brant slept in the same quarters, and Brant used to put Kerry back to bed at night when Kerry was sleepwalking.
Brant received a call from Kerry at his home in Virginia while he was watching the Olympics on TV.
The call lasted 10 minutes, sources tell Drudge.
KERRY: “Why are all these swift boat guys opposed to me?”
BRANT: “You should know what you said when you came back, the impact it had on the young sailors and how it was disrespectful of our guys that were killed over there.”
[Brant had two men killed in battle.]
KERRY: “When we dedicated swift boat one in ’92, I said to all the swift guys that I wasn’t talking about the swifties, I was talking about all the rest of the veterans.” [Ed.–Emphasis added.]
Kerry then asked if he could meet Brant [“You were one of the best”] — man to man — face to face.
Brant declined the invite, explaining that Kerry was obviously not prepared to correct the record on exactly what happened during Vietnam and what happened when Kerry came back.
Ouch. This account obviously comes from Brant. I don’t have a very high opinion of Kerry’s intelligence, but it is hard to believe that he really expressed puzzlement as to why his fellow veterans, whom he accused of murdering 200,000 Vietnamese a year and committing sundry other war crimes on a daily basis, are upset with him. It is even harder to believe that Kerry said that he didn’t mean the Swift Boaters were criminals, just “all the rest of the veterans.” Kerry is clueless, yes; that clueless, no.