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Ads will affect voters' opinion of Kerry

Aug. 31, 2004

STAFF EDITORIAL

Typically, as presidential elections draw near, mudslinging contests reach new heights. Until about a month ago, this election season seemed arguably tame. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, with John Kerry in their crosshairs, zeroed in on inconsistencies in his tales of heroism during the Vietnam War.

While no facts have been brought forth that paint Kerry as undeserving of his many medals for bravery, members of the GOP have used the question as an opportunity to claim the veteran vote.

Whether the accusations have any merit may not matter. Ramussen Reports showed Bush leading Kerry 48 to 45 percent on the eve of the Republican National Convention.

It may not be fair, but the editorial board believes this ad campaign has and will definitely hurt Kerry.

While avid politicos can agree these accusations are at least somewhat baseless, since many of the commercials' testimonies were made by veterans who were not on Kerry's boat, the average multitasking, child-juggling soccer mom will see the ads without investigating the background or legitimacy.

There's no question the veteran vote is incredibly important in this election, given the 21 electoral votes in undecided Florida with a high retired population, and both campaigns are focusing much attention on the demographic.

Veterans don't want to see a comrade who lied. They don't want to see him denounce the very war they lost their innocence and their friends to. They don't want to see him throw away the very medals they show off proudly and patriotically. Accusations that seem to corroborate these actions evoke strong emotions from veterans and people who have loved ones serving in our present war.

In an election as close as this, any controversial mini-scandal, whether real or imagined, will affect the numbers slightly. However, with two months left until the election, we agree that it's still anyone's game.

Editorial Board: 3-2