WASHINGTON – John Kerry (search) windsurfs left and right in a new television ad from President Bush's campaign that says the Democrat's positions on Iraq, education and health care shift "whichever way the wind blows."
"In which direction would John Kerry lead?" asks the ad, which is set to Johann Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz."
"Kerry voted for the Iraq war, opposed it, supported it, and now opposes it again. He bragged about voting for the $87 billion to support our troops before he voted against it. He voted for education reform and now opposes it. He claims he's against increasing Medicare premiums but voted five times to do so," the ad says.
Kerry's campaign dismissed the ad as misleading and "silly," and accused the Bush campaign of rolling it out to distract voters from Iraq.
"They know John Kerry has a plan to clean up the mess in Iraq and that the president doesn't. They know they're not telling the truth about Iraq. We can't change the reality of Iraq until we have a president who's willing to face the reality of Iraq," said Chad Clanton, a Kerry campaign spokesman.
The ad is slated to run on national cable networks and in select local media markets in the 17 battleground states where Bush is on the air.
Bush's campaign has spent months trying to pin the label "flip-flopper" on Kerry through ads, portraying him as an inconsistent leader who bows to political pressure.
Kerry voted to authorize Bush to use force in Iraq. In fall 2003, while facing a challenge from Democratic primary opponent and anti-war candidate Howard Dean, Kerry voted against $87 billion in reconstruction money for Iraq and Afghanistan.
The fourth-term Massachusetts senator staked out new ground Monday that puts him at odds with Bush. Kerry said he would not have invaded Iraq had he been president and known that there were no weapons of mass destruction. The Democrat has said he would pull troops out of Iraq in four years.
On education, Kerry voted in favor of Bush's public education overhaul. However, he, along with a chorus of Democrats and some educators, says he is now concerned that Bush has not given states enough money to meet the mandates. Kerry continues to back the overall goal of the bill, increased accountability.
The Bush campaign argues that Kerry voted five times to boost Medicare premiums. What Kerry voted for was the formula under which Medicare rates are set, which was in the 1997 balanced budget bill Kerry voted for. The premiums are updated annually by the Department of Health and Human Services under that formula, which is set by law and based on health care costs.
On Tuesday, the Progress for America Voter Fund, a group of Republican insiders, launched a similar ad in Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The spot shows a picture of Kerry windsurfing and says "whichever way the wind blows, Kerry rides the wave." Kerry, that ad says, "surfs every direction on Iraq."
An avid athlete, Kerry often takes time to windsurf and kite surf, as well as ski and bike.