April 29, 2004

"These are loathsome attacks," Wade said. "Cheney had five deferments for the Vietnam War and he's going to question John Kerry's commitment and ability to keeping American troops safe?"

At least 10 more US soldiers died in Iraq over night. For what? And for whom?

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) quoted in the
Chicago Tribune: "I think a lot of veterans are going to be very angry at a president who can't account for his own service in the National Guard, and a vice president who got every deferment in the world and decided he had better things to do, criticizing somebody who fought for their country and served," Kerry told the Dayton Daily News. "I think it's
inappropriate. I think it shows how desperate the
Republicans are. They don't have a record to run on.
They have a record to run away from."

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0404280272apr28,1,6443180.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed


CAMPAIGN 2004

Kerry zeroes in on Cheney draft record
Senator criticizes VP's 5 deferments
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By Jill Zuckman
Tribune national correspondent

April 28, 2004

CLEVELAND -- In a campaign unusually focused on the
Vietnam War, Sen. John Kerry trained his criticism on
Vice President Dick Cheney Tuesday, saying it is
"inappropriate" for Cheney to criticize his military
service when he "got every deferment in the world and
decided he had better things to do."

A day after Cheney questioned Kerry's credibility on
national security, the Massachusetts senator went
after the vice president--in addition to President
Bush--as he took his campaign bus tour from
economically depressed Youngstown to the shores of
Lake Erie. Though Kerry met with two unemployed people
and stopped by a construction site to greet workers
here, the Democrat's focus shifted for a second day in
a row to questions of military service.

"I think a lot of veterans are going to be very angry
at a president who can't account for his own service
in the National Guard, and a vice president who got
every deferment in the world and decided he had better
things to do, criticizing somebody who fought for
their country and served," Kerry told the Dayton Daily
News. "I think it's inappropriate. I think it shows
how desperate the Republicans are. They don't have a
record to run on. They have a record to run away
from."

>From 1963 to 1966, Cheney received five deferments:
four student deferments while attending the University
of Wyoming and one for having a child. "I had other
priorities in the '60s other than military service,"
Cheney told a reporter in 1989.

Kerry's campaign also released a document posing nine
"unanswered questions" about Bush's service in the
National Guard, asking why he hasn't proved that he
showed up for service in Alabama, whether he received
special treatment to get into the Guard, and why he
specifically requested not to be sent overseas, among
others.

During a fundraiser in Cleveland on Tuesday night,
Kerry continued his assault, complaining that the Bush
campaign had spent "about $70 million just trying to
destroy me."

"They want you to believe that John Kerry, who put the
uniform of his country on voluntarily, who felt an
obligation to go to Vietnam when so many others
didn't, who stood up and fought for our country, they
want you to believe that somehow I'm not strong for
the defense of our nation," Kerry said.

But the White House said Tuesday that Kerry's service
was not the subject of criticism.

"No one is questioning his military service," said
White House press secretary Scott McClellan. "Sen.
Kerry's service in the military is commendable. No one
is questioning his service in the military. Let's be
clear on this."

At a briefing with reporters, McClellan would not say
whether the president stood behind comments made by a
key adviser, Karen Hughes, that were critical of
Kerry's anti-war protests more than three decades ago.
The president, speaking at a veterans' medical center
in Baltimore, did not address the issue.

The White House declined to say whether the president
endorsed the comments made Monday by Cheney at
Westminster College in Missouri. Kerry on Tuesday
accepted an invitation to speak at the college Friday
after the school's president expressed dismay at the
partisan tone of Cheney's remarks.

McClellan, however, downplayed those concerns.

"I think a spirited discussion about how a president
leads in the war on terrorism and how a president acts
to protect the American people should be at the
forefront of the debate in this election," he said.

Meanwhile, the Bush campaign continued to make its
case that Kerry has voted against "the very weapons
systems that are helping our troops fight and win the
war on terror," according to spokeswoman Nicolle
Devenish.

Late Tuesday Kerry said that when Cheney was secretary
of defense under President George H.W. Bush, "he
bragged and led the effort to cut the military."

Earlier, Kerry spokesman David Wade said Bush
officials are questioning the senator's military
service, as well as his patriotism and commitment to
defend the nation. The Bush campaign has also launched
a $10 million advertising buy this week accusing Kerry
of opposing essential weapons.

"These are loathsome attacks," Wade said. "Cheney had five deferments for the Vietnam War and he's going to question John Kerry's commitment and ability to keeping American troops safe?"

Though Kerry once said he did not want to make Bush's
National Guard service an issue, Wade said the attacks
on Kerry's patriotism had forced him to fight back.

The contretemps between the two campaigns became
especially heated Monday as Republican officials
questioned whether Kerry actually threw his medals and
ribbons over a fence during an anti-war demonstration
in 1971, or threw other people's medals.

Over the years, Kerry's answers have been somewhat
varied, leading Republicans to accuse him of lacking
credibility. On Monday, as he campaigned in
Pennsylvania, Kerry said he no longer had his ribbons,
but still retained his three Purple Hearts as well as
his Silver Star and Bronze Star.

- - -

Cheney's military deferments

Dick Cheney received five deferments from the military
draft between 1963 and 1966.

Sept. 1959: Enters Yale.

June 1962: Withdraws from Yale.

Jan. 1963: Enters Casper College in Wyoming. Receives
first student deferment.

May 1965: Cheney earns his bachelor's degree from the
University of Wyoming. While there, his student
deferment was renewed twice.

Fall 1965: Enters graduate school at Wyoming and
receives another deferment.

Jan. 1966: Receives fifth deferment under a provision
exempting men with children from military service when
his wife becomes pregnant.

July 28, 1966: Cheney's first child, Elizabeth, is
born.

Jan. 1967: At 26, Cheney is no longer eligible for the
draft.

Sources: The Associated Press, The Yale Daily News

Chicago Tribune

JJeff Zeleny of the Tribune's Washington Bureau
contributed to this report


Copyright 2004, Chicago Tribune


Posted by richard at April 29, 2004 08:19 AM