The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group was Sen. John Kerry’s albatross in 2004. Now, the Democrat is warning his party about suffering the same fate in a fundraising letter.
In 2004, the Swift Boat group, backed by Texas businessman Bob Perry, made unsubstantiated allegations about Kerry’s Vietnam War heroism. The presidential nominee’s slow and uncertain response is blamed for helping doom his White House bid.
This year, Perry has donated $5 million to the Economic Freedom Fund, a newly created California group, that is running ads, sending out mailings and using automated phone calls to criticize Democratic candidates in Georgia, West Virginia, Iowa and Indiana.
Kerry urges Democrats to fight back in a letter seeking funds for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
"Their first attack ads against Democratic House candidates are already on the air. They hope they’ve caught you sleeping. We have to respond quickly and in force," Kerry writes in an e-mail sent to tens of thousands of Democrats.
Kerry was widely criticized for his slow response to the Swift Boat attacks.
"You get knocked down and you can either get mad or you can get tougher," said Kerry spokesman David Wade. "Our battle cry is ‘never again.’"
Since losing the White House in 2004, Kerry has raised more than $10 million for almost 200 candidates at the local, state and federal level, aides say. He is mentioned as a potential candidate in 2008.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press