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Turning Into the Fire

Reported by Judy - August 26, 2004 -

Fox and Friends did its best today (August 26) to turn Max Cleland's visit to Crawford, Texas, yesterday into a victory for George Bush by interviewing the lackey Bush sent out to meet him.

In an interview, Jerry Patterson saidhe tried to give a letter from Bush to Cleland, but Cleland would not take it. Patterson said Cleland knew tht he was there to accept Cleland's letter on behalf of the president, but it was clear that the event was not about the letter. "This was about theater," Patterson said.

John Hurley, national head of veterans for Kerry, said the encounter "is not about political theater. This is about political smear." Hurley said the smear boaters have denigrated the medals given to all 19 men who were decorated the day Kerry won his Silver Star. The controversy "reaches beyond John Kerry and touches all veterans," he said. Hurley held up a photo of the 19 but the camera did not focus on it. Fox doesn't want to put a human face on the controversy other than John Kerry's.

At one point, Hurley said it was "an oversight" for Cleland not to accept the letter from Patterson. And Patterson said it was "politically kind of stupid" for the Kerry camp to keep the controversy going.

I'm not so sure of that. The focus now is on George Bush. It's hard even to remember what the specific charges were against Kerry, not that they matter since innuendo is good enough.

The Kerry campaign's response to these ads reminds me of Kerry's tactics as commander of a swift boat -- don't run away from the fire, turn into the fire and charge with everything you've got.

It worked that day on the river, but Fox News is hyping an L.A. Times poll showing Bush leading Kerry, 49 percent to 46 percent, among registered voters nationally.

In the last few days, though, we haven't seen much of Bush. He should be coming out every day so the press can see him bailing hay or cutting brush, but he's been hunkered down inside, afraid to show his face for fear he'll be asked about the ads again.