Last night, Fox News’ Sean Hannity continued the network’s Swift Boat attacks against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Since Tuesday, immediately following rumors that Kerry is a potential nominee to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense, the network has re-upped the oft criticized and debunked attacks that were first utilized in 2004 against Kerry, then the Democratic presidential nominee. Last night Hannity actually replayed a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad, hosted a member of the group on his show, and even added his own supportive commentary to the ad and the attacks against Kerry.
Hannity interviewed John O’Neill, a conservative activist and Swift Boat Vets for Truth member. During the course of the interview, Hannity not only lauds O’Neill for the work he did in 2004 but even asks if the group will come back. Hannity also slams liberals for their criticism of the ad. Here’s one telling portion of the interview:
HANNITY: If in fact Barack Obama wants to nominate [Kerry] for Secretary of Defense or State, will the Swiftboat Vets for Truth come back?
O’NEILL: We’ll do the very best we can, Sean. I was contacted today, I spoke today with three different people that won the congressional medal of honor, who will do the very best we can. Heck, I mean, we’ve got hundreds of thousands of kids that have been engaged in combat, or in the armed forces, can you imagine them counting on John Kerry to protect their back…I mean, we already have got a problem….with Benghazi…
HANNITY: I know for the left it’s a pejorative, they give your and your fellow veterans, by the way, war heroes people who served their country honorably that, challenged lies that he told about other Vietnam vets, they use it as a pejorative. But this ad that you guys ran was very effective.
Media Matters has the clip:
Even Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who’s now on his own mission to tank Susan Rice’s career, criticized the ad in 2004, saying:
I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is none of these individuals served on the boat (Kerry) commanded. Many of his crewmates have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam.
The money trail on the Swift Boat ads leads back to well-known conservative operatives. Indeed, The New York Times found that the group “received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president [Bush] and his family.” What’s more, in 2004, the Washington Post went further and dug up the fact that the “the group has raised $17 million, which includes more than $1 million each from T. Boone Pickens and Bob Perry, two Republican donors from Texas. The group has spent $1.2 million to mail anti-Kerry literature.”