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Big connection bewteen Bush campaign and Kerry ads


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Swift Boat Ties Sink Bush Lawyer

(CBS/AP) An election lawyer for President Bush who also has been advising a veterans group running TV ads against Democrat John Kerry resigned Wednesday from Bush's campaign.

"I cannot begin to express my sadness that my legal representations have become a distraction from the critical issues at hand in this election," Benjamin Ginsberg wrote in a resignation letter to Bush released by the campaign.

"I feel I cannot let that continue, so I have decided to resign as national counsel to your campaign to ensure that the giving of legal advice to decorated military veterans, which was entirely within the boundaries of the law, doesn't distract from the real issues upon which you and the country should be focusing."

In a related development, former Democratic Sen. Max Cleland tried to deliver a letter protesting ads challenging Kerry's Vietnam service to Mr. Bush at his Texas ranch, but the Secret Service stopped Cleland short of his goal.

The former Georgia senator, a triple amputee who fought in Vietnam, was carrying a letter from nine Senate Democrats who wrote Mr. Bush that "you owe a special duty" to condemn attacks on Kerry's military service.

Encountering a permanent roadblock to the Bush ranch, Cleland left without turning over the letter to anyone.

Ginsberg's acknowledgment that he was providing legal advice to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth marked the second time in days that an individual associated with the Bush-Cheney campaign had been connected to the group, which Kerry accuses of being a front for the Republican incumbent's re-election effort.

On Saturday, retired Air Force Col. Ken Cordier resigned as a member of the Bush campaign's veterans' steering committee after it was learned he appeared in the Swift Boat commercial.

The Bush campaign and the veterans' group have said repeatedly that there is no coordination, and the campaign repeated that statement Tuesday.

In his resignation letter, Ginsberg said "this campaign has seen a stunning double standard emerge between the media's focus on the activities of 527s aligned with John Kerry and those opposed to him."

Lawyers on the Democratic side are also representing both the campaign or party and outside groups running ads in the presidential race at the same time.

Ginsberg's dual role has drawn attention because the Swift Boat Veterans group ran an ad accusing Kerry of exaggerating his Vietnam War record, an issue that has dominated the campaign since early August.

Kerry has fired back by accusing Mr. Bush of using the group as a front to run a smear campaign for him. Democrats have jumped on any tie, even if legal, to back up that claim.

"The sudden resignation of Bush's top lawyer doesn't end the extensive web of connections between George Bush and the group trying to smear John Kerry's military record," Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said Wednesday. "In fact, it only confirms the extent of those connections."

Larry Noble, head of the Center for Responsive Politics campaign watchdog group and a former FEC general counsel, said serving as a lawyer for both a campaign and a soft-money group isn't considered automatic evidence of coordination under commission rules. But that doesn't mean the FEC won't look at it, he said.

"I would think it's a relationship that may very well raise coordination concerns," Noble said. "I think this issue has been percolating."

Kerry's campaign has filed a complaint with the FEC accusing the Bush campaign and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth of illegally coordinating the group's ads.

The ads allege Kerry has lied about his decorated Vietnam War service. The group's accounts have been disputed by Navy records and veterans who served on Kerry's boat.

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And there is no tie between Kerry and the Democratic 527 groups. Give me a break, Kerry and the groups convieniently decided together that he was not going to run adds in August, to save money. They then decided on their own to run adds for him, to the tune of $60 million. If Bush were to actually come out and publicly denounce this 527 he would be committing an illegal act. Kerry is simply playing a game, he knows that Bush cannot condemn this ad.

Now in the interest of fairness, the Democrat 527s have spent $60 million to attack Bush, as well as the money that Moore spent (not a 527 so technically his movie could be considered an illegal campaign ad, especially since he consulted with the Kerry campaign), and the gaggle of anti-Bush books released during the 911 Commission partisan mess. All of these show some ties to the Kerry campaign, at least in terms of scheduling. The 911 books get into even more shady territory such as public corruption and such. Interesting that the Commission at the request of the Democrat members delayed hearings for a month in order for Richard Clark's testimony to coincide with his book release.

Republican 527s have spent less than $1.5 million.

I find it odd that the Democrats can attack Bush's service in the National Guard (to which there is no proof of him leaving, as there was no proof in 2000 when this issue was first released, and dropped by the NYT) and go as far as lying avout specifics in these ads. Hell, if you are making ads there should be some level of truth. However, when 60 men who have served with Kerry come out against him, on a topic that he chose to bring to the forefront, it is Bush's fault, and evil. Give me a break. If anything shows the growing media disparity between right and left this sure as hell does. Bush's critics got full time, and still do. Kerry's critics are painted as liers and kooks, which for the most part seems excessive.

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Kerry is getting so attacked because after he returned from Vietnam he spoke against the war - which in my opinion was the strongest thing he could have done as a vetern. There is a deep spoken and unspoken code among miltary and law enforcement officials to never 'rat' out any fellow officers at the price of your conscious, soul, and human life.

To me, Kerry chose to serve his country despite the dangers that all young soldiers face. War is nothing nice -- let us not forget. There is no etiquette in war, there is no morals in war despite the official 'rules' of war. These rules that soldiers on both sides have or have not followed based on their situation. I don't believe any of them who claim they know exactly what happened and how Kerry acted 40+ years ago -- I mean come-on. I can barely remember what I did last week...

I agree with heckles. Let us talk about what Kerry and Bush *will* do for the economy, the war in Iraq, health care, education, national security, quality of life.

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I personally think these "side shows" are designed to take attention away from the current situations in our country and the media goes along with it. Believe it or not the media has alot of power and these stations can decide how long they will play out a news story. I partially blame the media for this.

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527s in general are not the problem. Changing the subject ot 527s in general is ridiculous. This groups was created a few months ago by Rove's Texas buddy to smear Kerry. While I respect the rights of the Vets to hate Kerry and speak of that hate, they should be honest. These ads go beyond dishonest and disrespect all Vets. Their purpose is to create doubt, eventhough it is contrived, some casual voters will not know the real story. Bush changes the subjects to 527s in general because many happen to be liberal, but sorry it's not a Moveon add that is stinking up the airwaves with a smear campaign.

The media needs to stop this get a Rep and a Dem to fight it out on their programs and instead get those with the facts to explain the truth. Every show need not be Crossfire. That's useless.

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Swiftboats. Yeah... :blink:

I have totally lost interest in this presidential campaign. All I see on the news are attacks on Keery about his purple hearts, and then how Bush never served. It is to the point now where I just change the station or turn the idiot box off. Its been how many weeks/months and the topic has yet to change. Who the hell cares anyway? They both suck. Until this campaign (bnoth sides) can focus on actual issues (and by focus I mean convince the media that there is another topic), I wont be paying the least bit of attention to it. I'll still vote of course.

Also, like cotuit said- it was 30 years ago. People change alot on 30 years. These guys aren't the same as they were then.

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