Fox News on Tuesday aired a discredited “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” ad in response to reports that Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) was being considered as the next secretary of defense.
“This would be a remarkable brute insult to the men and women in uniform,” Fox News strategic analyst Ralph Peters told host Megyn Kelly in reaction to a Monday Washington Post report that President Barack Obama was considering Kerry to replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “To nominate for secretary of defense a man who made his military career trashing our military, criticizing it, who told lies about war crimes in Vietnam… and I don’t want to hear, ‘John Kerry’s a combat veteran.’ So is Benedict Arnold.”
“Are you out of your mind?” shot back Michael Meehan, who served as senior communications advisor to Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. “John Kerry got the Silver Star for his service in Vietnam. He went twice — signed up, volunteered twice to serve in the war. This is not about running for president and ‘Swiftboating’ people.”
Without noting that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads were misleading, Kelly played a portion the commercial that was used to undermine Kerry’s military credibility during the 2004 campaign.
“It was remarkable that veterans came out so vigorously against him because I’ll tell you, vets stick together,” Peters opined. “And for them to criticized John Kerry as vociferously and specifically as they did tells you a lot.”
“That ad was taken out of context,” Meehan disagreed. “He was reading a report about what was happening in war and war is not pretty. It’s unfair to sort of rerun that and say it’s all the truth without pushing back that he was at that testimony in the 70s, he was reading what others were writing about what was happening in war. So, I don’t find that to be a fair charge.”
Peters, however, insisted that Kerry had “never been interested in our military except to trash it. So please, don’t insult our troops, don’t nominate this guy for secretary of defense.”
In 2006, Steve Hayes, an early member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, broke with the group and lamented twisting Kerry’s record.
“The mantra was just ‘We want to set the record straight,’” Hayes said a the time. “It became clear to me that it was morphing from an organization to set the record straight into a highly political vendetta. They knew it was not the truth.”
Watch this video from Fox News’ America Live, broadcast Nov. 13, 2012.