In the 2004 campaign one wonders what John Kerry and his campaign were thinking. They had to have known the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth would attack eventually. Yet the Kerry campaign waited roughly three weeks before responding. They did not even have a plan to attack the Swift Boat Veterans.
In the original Swift Boat for Veterans Truth ad there were two to three veterans in the commercial who appeared at a 1996 rally to support the re-election of John Kerry to the Senate in Massachusetts. There was extensive video of these veterans at the rally, even speaking in front of the crowd to say what an honorable man Kerry was.
A skilled candidate would have had a presentation ready the minute the Swift Boat veterans attacked. On day 1 Kerry should have called a press conference and played the video of the veterans who were at his rally in 1996, he should have presented a vigorous defense and highlighted the hypocrisy.
Instead he waited for three weeks and did not present a convincing counterargument. One would think that Barack Obama would not make the same mistake but as this article points out, history has repeated itself:
Obama has thus far exhibited some of the same shrugs as Dukakis and Kerry. These are shrugs that reflect dismissive, superior-minded contempt for what are seen as absurd charges. These are shrugs that fail to grasp that these absurd charges, left unanswered, can fester and get one beat.
For months, an e-mail campaign spread word that Obama was a Muslim; that he had declined to put his hand on the Bible to be sworn in to the U.S. Senate, and that he had refused to salute the American flag. It’s all false, which is pretty much beside the point.
For months Obama went his merry way, apparently indifferent to the possibility that such things can achieve lives of their own and make differences in political races. The rumors persist still, and people you meet repeat elements of them as pure fact.
The above is true, I can’t tell you how many people believe falsely that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Obama should have attacked those rumors from day one. What is Barack Obama going to do when the Republican attack machine hits him in a general election?