Thursday, January 17, 2008

Editor&Publisher: 'Swiftboating' John McCain -- Via Local Newspapers
By Greg Mitchell
Published: January 16, 2008

NEW YORK Supporters of John McCain in South Carolina are describing as "absolutely despicable" a flier -- distributed to the editors of 80 daily and weekly papers in that state, now (for better or worse) made public -- claiming that he turned his back on fellow prisoners of war in Vietnam.

Now it turns out that the man behind it all hails, far from South Carolina, way up north in Rockland county, just north of New York City. And he's promising to carry his campaign to other primary states. Gannett's Journal News of White Plains in an article last March quoted the man, Jerry Kiley, who lives in the tiny town of Garnerville, as charging that that McCain had turned his back on POWs and their families. He called McCain a traitor to prisoners of war who he believes were left behind in Vietnam. “If he had the power of the presidency, I’d really fear for this country,” Kiley said....

He also bills himself as Vietnam vet, "a key figure in the battle for U.S. POWs and MIAs and other U.S. veteran issues since 1983," a consultant to a billion-dollar New York company. He also helped "swift boat" John Kerry in 2004.

The flier in South Carolina features a cartoon of McCain, a former POW, sitting in a cell on one side and a supposed "fact sheet" on the other side, accusing him of collaborating with his captors. Among other crimes he is charged with revealing bombing routes of U.S. planes in exchange for better medical care. You will remember that McCain was victimized by other smears in the state (fathering a black baby?) when he ran, and lost, there in 2000.

The First Read blog at reports, "The mastermind of the anti-McCain veterans mailer, Jerry Kiley of the group Vietnam Veterans Against McCain, told NBC News/National Journal that he created the ad, and it was printed and mailed by a group that publishes the like-minded journal US Veteran Dispatch. According to Kiley, who ran a similar group in 2004 that opposed John Kerry, the flier was distributed to 80 editors at newspapers throughout South Carolina, and that it was not mailed to any households....

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