updated 8/28/2004 8:13:21 PM ET 2004-08-29T00:13:21

Nearly 40 protesters gathered Saturday at the home of the chief financial backer of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose ads criticize Democrat John Kerry’s military record.

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Bob J. Perry didn’t appear to be at his suburban Houston home and didn’t answer three doorbell rings by several veterans wanting to hand-deliver a letter asking him to stop supporting the group.

“We deeply resent what he’s doing to the veterans,” said Richard Zaner, 70, a Korean War veteran who lives in the same suburb as Perry, a wealthy homebuilder.

Kerry supporters chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, your stinkin’ ad has got to go.” A Nassau Bay policeman was parked nearby.

Bill Miller, Perry’s spokesman, said this week that Perry provided at least $100,000 to help found the group at the request of his friend John O’Neill, a Houston lawyer who co-wrote a book questioning Kerry’s military record. Miller also said that Perry, who doesn’t grant interviews, was in Mexico this week.

The ads challenged Kerry’s Vietnam service for which he received five medals. The ads said Kerry didn’t deserve his Purple Hearts, lied to get his Bronze Star and Silver Star and unfairly branded all veterans with his 1971 congressional testimony about atrocities in Vietnam.

The Kerry campaign rebutted the ads with Navy records and witnesses who served with him. Kerry contends the group is a front for President Bush’s re-election campaign. Bush denounced the ads Monday after they were no longer on the air.

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