Clintonism breaks out in Swifty fight.

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Aug. 23 2004 3:04 AM

Clintonism Breaks Out

The Kerry eyewitnesses' fuzzy phrasing ...

(Continued from Page 2)

1) One, who supports Kerry, says "they were 'very.. very close' to Cambodia" but "did not think they entered Cambodia."

2) A second, who opposes Kerry, says they were nowhere near Cambodia.

3) A third said they got close but didn't go into Cambodia and "could not recall dropping off special forces in Cambodia or going inside Cambodia with Kerry." [Emph. added.]

If this is Kerry's mighty, mighty "push-back," I'd hate to see what a Kerry retreat would look like. Yet Kranish's account was bizarrely portrayed by The Note as a pro-Kerry turning point. ...

P.S.: The idea that Kerry was actually in Cambodia over Christmas when he said he was has apparently long been abandoned by the Kerry campaign. ...

P.P.S.: Like many of my friends, I wasn't paying much attention to the Swifties until Kerry went postal  on them. (Hmm. Was that a smart move? What happened to the rope-a-dope strategy?) I don't know which side is right. I don't know that I'd even hold it against Kerry if he did exaggerate a bit to get the three Purple Hearts that let him leave Vietnam. I do know that if freedom of speech means anything it means that a group of citizens can get together to bring up this sort of charge against a presidential candidate, subject to the laws of libel. But read this New York Times editorial and see if you can avoid concluding that the Times doesn't think the Swift Boat Veterans ad should be stopped because it might be financed with corporate or union money in violation of the spirit of McCain-Feingold. The Times doesn't even really think it should be stopped because it was financed by a rich individual Republican (something that's clearly perfectly legal under McCain-Feingold  as long as the group running the ads is not incorporated). The Times thinks the ad should be stopped because you just shouldn't be able to make such "outlandish" independent charges in a campaign. They're against the speech, not the financing. They seem to be saying: If only the "snoozing watchdog" F.E.C. would show some guts we wouldn't have to deal with this nastiness! ... Like Kerry, they're trying to come up with a "process" reason that avoids the inconveniently messy issue of truth. But their process reason--an attack on unpleasant "independent" criticism per se--seems particularly dangerous. (The Swifties also wrote a book--does the Times want to suppress that too?) ...

P.P.P.S.: How would the press have reacted if the Bush campaign had called on the distributor of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 to "withdraw"  the film. [Thanks to reader H.] ...

P.P.P.P.S.: Respectable big-time journalist friends who met with the anti-Kerry vets recently found them a lot more credible than expected. Sorry, Note! 3:21 A.M.

If Kerry could mobilize a counterattack on the Swifties as rapidly and effectively as the ed-choice community has mounted a counterattack on the NYT for its union-made anti-charter hit, there'd be no reason for Democratic  "angst."   Eduwonk has all the linking you need  on the charter-stats story (and, more important, none that you don't). ... 2:22 A.M.

She Goetz You Ink: Why would any politician get their hair styled by Isabelle Goetz of the Cristophe salon? I'm sure she gives a good cut. But sooner or later, if you get famous enough, you'll probably wind up in Lloyd Grove's column. Three years ago Hillary Clinton was the subject of an unflattering Grove inside-the-salon report; this week it was John Kerry's turn. You'd think Cristophe and Goetz would have uncovered Grove's source by now [and told them ...?-ed How about 'Keep up the good work'?] 1:45 A.M..

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Panic is not just the name of an ex-prime minister of Yugoslavia! ... 4:29 P.M.

In the watery borders ... How could a fair reporter write this story  and not mention the word "seared"? ... 4:16 A.M.

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