Bush Denounces Ads by Outside Groups
This one is getting big headlines at Drudge for no apparent reason:
President Bush denounced TV ads by outside groups attacking both John Kerry and himself on Monday and called for a halt to all such political efforts. “I think they’re bad for the system,” he said. The president made his comments as the Kerry campaign fought back against charges made by an outside group that the Democratic senator had lied about wartime events in Vietnam for which he received five medals.
Bush has himself been subjected to a multimillion-dollar barrage of attack ads aired by groups seeking to help Kerry win the White House.
Underscoring the impact of the anti-Kerry ad, the Democratic National Committee began airing a commercial last week that offered a testimonial to Kerry’s fitness for national command. And in a shift in strategy, Kerry’s campaign has responded with two commercials, despite plans to preserve its campaign funds for the general election campaign.
Kerry running mate John Edwards said Sunday that Bush needed to tell the veterans group to pull its anti-Kerry ads. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona has said the tactics are the same kind used on him and asked the president to denounce them.
The White House says it denounces all attack ads against both candidates by outside groups, while refusing to get specific about condemning the veterans group’s advertising.
I say “no apparent reason” because this is exactly the stance the Bush team has taken since Day 1. And it’s the correct stance, in my view. Bush has no basis for criticizing the particulars of this ad campaign, alienating a presumably sizable portion of his constituency, over a factual dispute that will sort itself out. Further, given that the 527 attack ads are coming almost entirely from the other side, it would be odd for him to advocate unilateral disarmament.