Swift Boat Showdown: Serious or Sensational?

Former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland (search) said he tried to get a letter to President Bush asking him to specifically denounce independent campaign ads against John Kerry (search) but no one at the president's ranch would accept the letter.

Cleland, a Democratic triple amputee who served in the Vietnam War, arrived in nearby Waco in the early afternoon with Jim Rassmann, the man who says he was pulled out of a river in Vietnam by Kerry, who ultimately saved his life.

"These scurrilous attacks on John Kerry's credibility and war, his courage, his valor, are false and George Bush is behind it," Cleland told members of the press after trying to deliver the letter. "That's why I tried to deliver a letter to the president's home and hand it to either him or one of his aides but that was unsuccessful and I'm sorry it was."

Rassmann said the ads by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (search) should not be lumped together with other 527 groups running political ads because it is simply untruthful.

"All he [Bush] needs to do is make one statement, that this has been fabricated … and so far, he's refused," Rassmann said.

Swift Boat showdown: serious or sensational?

Both sides of this controversy have lost their minds. The whole story has become a joke. Tell me, please, what ever happened to rational thinking?
Joan H.
Carbondale, IL

I am a Vietnam era vet and I consider Kerry's service in Vietnam serious. As a young airman while marching in a parade in KC, Mo I was spit on by some of my fellow Americans, who were carrying signs calling us baby killers. Kerry represented those people then and he still does so. Having this man claim "pride" in his service in order to get elected is, in my opinion, simply the scurrilous act of a political chameleon who changes the color of his skin at will.
Jack J.
Clifton Heights, PA

Of course it is just political sensation. It allows Kerry to keep Vietnam in the forefront distracting attention from his senate voting record.
Kimberly S.
Round Lake Beach, IL

It’s a bust. Kerry is throwing mud, if he wants to set the record straight then he needs to open his records and show what really happened.
Jane C.
Albany, GA

Kerry brought all into question when he enacted his swift boat ride across Boston harbor and reported for duty
Jack A.
Langhorne, PA

The Swift Boat "showdown" was undoubtedly sensational. I still wonder what Cleland is thinking pulling a stunt like that. It makes the Democrats seem like whiners over the whole thing.
Eric R.
Novato, CA

It has backfired. What next? I had better SAT scores? How does a guy that is running on the fact that he was awarded all these medals only to have thrown them away? The longer it goes on, the funnier it is to me.
Pete W.
Clinton, MS

John Kerry's Vietnam service is not the point here — it is his character that is being shown with this debate with the vets.
Tom D.
Lenexa, KS

This is without a doubt sensationalism. John Kerry could stop all of this real quickly. Just as Max Cleland says; step up to the plate and call for an end to all of the 527 ads, as the President has already done 30 times. And second, by signing the proper forms to release his entire military record to the public. By doing this he ends of the sensationalism and can get to the real issues of the campaign; like his voting record in the senate for the last 20 years.
John C.
New Orleans, LA

Serious, but maybe he has pictures of his injuries after all he re-enacted or documented everything else.
Pat V.
Manchester, GA

Kerry’s stunt was neither serious nor sensational it was Sick, Slimy, Sad and Sadistic. It was an insult to those soldiers that were tortured and/or killed to attempt to silent any American.
Deborah G.
Arlington, TX

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