Arizona congressman doesn't find anti-Kerry ads inappropriate

August 7, 2004 at 6:13AM MST

Arizona congressman doesn't find anti-Kerry ads inappropriate

U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., said he doesn't find ads accusing Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry of lying about his military service inappropriate.

"If Senator Kerry can trot out his people on stage that he served with to use as an endorsement of his military service, then it's not inappropriate for others who also served with him to question whether his service is all it's made up to be," Kolbe said Friday.

Kolbe said he got to know Kerry during his year as a naval communications officer and later as an operations officer in Vietnam.

The 60-second ad is scheduled to air in a few markets in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

It was paid for by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an advocacy group made up of former military officers and enlisted men who served in Vietnam on Navy Swift boats or in affiliated commands.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, has called the ad "dishonest and dishonorable" and compared it to tactics in his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush in 2000.

Kolbe, who has not yet seen the ad, said the anti-Kerry group is questioning what Kerry did afterward when Kerry assumed a high-profile role as an opponent of the Vietnam War after returning to the United States.

"A lot of people took umbrage to that," Kolbe said. "And I remember my own feeling at that time, feeling a little bit of outrage, a little bit of hurt, and feeling tarnished by someone I served with who basically took a broad brush and said, `We're all war criminals.'"

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