President Bush’s campaign rolled out a television ad Wednesday that shows Sen. John Kerry windsurfing and claims his positions shift “whichever way the wind blows.” Within hours, the Democrat’s campaign pushed out a commercial condemning Bush for “a juvenile and tasteless attack ad.”
Bush’s ad, set to Johann Strauss’ waltz, “By the Beautiful Blue Danube,” asks: “In which direction would John Kerry lead?”
“Kerry voted for the Iraq war, opposed it, supported it, and now opposes it again. He bragged about voting for the $87 billion to support our troops before he voted against it. He voted for education reform and now opposes it. He claims he’s against increasing Medicare premiums but voted five times to do so,” Bush’s ad says.
Kerry’s campaign dismissed the ad as misleading and an attempt to distract voters from Iraq, with senior adviser Mike McCurry calling on Bush to repudiate the spot. Then, the campaign unveiled a response ad.
“One thousand U.S. casualties. Two Americans beheaded just this week. The Pentagon admits terrorists are pouring into Iraq,” the ad says. “In the face of the Iraq quagmire, George Bush’s answer is to run a juvenile and tasteless attack ad.”
As of late Wednesday, TV stations had not been instructed to run the ad. However, Kerry aides insist it will go into rotation and that it was not just meant to get free news coverage.
Overseas, a militant group led by Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has killed two U.S. hostages it kidnapped last week, and on Wednesday, officials said three U.S. Army soldiers were killed in separate incidents in the northern part of the country. U.S. aircraft and tanks attacked rebel positions in Baghdad’s Sadr City slum, killing 10 people and wounding 92. Suicide attackers set off two car bombs in Baghdad, one of them killing six people.
Bush’s campaign has spent months trying to pin the label “flip-flopper” on Kerry through ads, portraying him as an inconsistent leader who bows to political pressure. The president’s ad is slated to run on national cable networks and in select local media markets in the 17 battleground states where Bush is on the air.
Kerry’s campaign said its ad would run in the same media markets where Bush’s spot is on the air.
On Tuesday, the Progress for America Voter Fund, a group of Republican insiders, launched a similar ad to Bush’s in Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The spot shows a picture of Kerry windsurfing and says “whichever way the wind blows, Kerry rides the wave.” Kerry, that ad says, “surfs every direction on Iraq.”
An avid athlete, Kerry often takes time to windsurf and kite surf, as well as ski and bike.
Meanwhile, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group airing anti-Kerry ads and funded in part by Republican supporters, also started running a new ad at a cost of $1 million on national cable networks.
It says: “Even before Jane Fonda went to Hanoi to meet with the enemy and mock America, John Kerry secretly met with enemy leaders in Paris though we were still at war and Americans were being held in North Vietnamese prison camps.” In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, Kerry told lawmakers that he had been to Paris and talked with both the leaders of the communist delegation and the U.S. delegation negotiating peace.
In addition, a group running anti-Bush ads, Texans for Truth, is rolling out a new TV ad on cable networks that calls on the president to release all military records before the first debate Sept. 30.