Wade Sanders, who trained with John Kerry in San Diego and served with him in Vietnam, met with Nevada veterans Tuesday.Sanders said, like many veterans, he is “fed up” with the Bush administration’s cuts in veterans’ benefits and home loans. He said such policies reflect a willingness to treat veterans with disdain and helps explain George Bush’s willingness to benefit from attacks on Kerry’s patriotism and war service.
He said he traveled to Reno to “roundly refute these lies” in the swift boat television commercials.
“Desperation is always a characteristic of a trapped animal,” Sanders said of Bush.
Sanders said he is puzzled by the veterans in the television spot who praised Kerry for many years, then changed their descriptions of Kerry for the Bush commercial.
“Where did you lose the honor and integrity that you displayed so magnificently 35 years ago?” he asked rhetorically.
By campaigning for Kerry, Sanders became a target himself, particularly of veterans critical of Kerry’s antiwar stance during Vietnam. Earlier this year, Sanders wrote an essay, “Forgotten Heroes,” for Military.com. The piece attracted favorable comment on the Web page’s message board until it became known that Sanders was a Kerry ally. The posted messages then turned vicious: “Saunders [sic], get your liberal *** straight or keep your mouth shut,” wrote one message posted under the title “Screw Sanders.”
On the same day of Sanders’ visit to Reno, the Nevada Bush campaign office sent a statement by Republican National Chair Marc Racicot to local press outlets. The former Montana governor accused Kerry of dividing citizens into “those who served and how [they served].”
“The moment of truth for John Kerry has come and gone hundreds of times, and he has passed up every opportunity to condemn efforts by his campaign and supporters to divide Americans by those who served and how—something that John Kerry said we should never do when he declared during the 1992 [Clinton] campaign, ‘We do not need to divide America over who served and how.’ ”