Congressman Alan Grayson, Florida Democrat, has released a nasty if not false television campaign ad against his Republican opponent Daniel Webster. In the TV Ad “Taps” is played in the background, while b-roll of military graves is shown. A voice-over says, that Republican candidate Daniel Webster didn’t “refuse the call to service.” However, FactCheck.org discovered, after digging through some research, that Mr. Grayson’s ad is completely false: (Emphasis is mine)
Records show that Webster was deferred from military service five times due to academic study from 1967 to 1970 (once in high school and four times while he was in college at the Georgia Institute of Technology). Once he completed his undergraduate degree, he was given the classification 1-A (which means he was available for military service) and was asked to report for a physical examination. The documentation shows that on the date of his physical, July 26, 1971, Webster was rejected and given the classification of 1-Y, which means that he was “qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency.”
But according to the documents, the 1-Y classification was abolished just months later, on December 10, 1971. Local boards were ordered to reclassify all 1-Y registrants. Webster was reclassified on May 16, 1972, as 4-F, or “not qualified for military service.”
So Webster was given deferments from the military in order to complete high school and college — common during the Vietnam War — then upon graduation reported for service and was ultimately disqualified because he failed the physical examination.
Records don’t indicate what medical problems led to Webster’s rejection from service, but Webster said it was due to problems with his feet. According to Schlueb’s September 17 article, Webster said: “I remember them pulling me out of line because I’d had problems with my feet when I was a kid. They used these corrective shoes on me with steel plates in them, but it really never fixed them — they’re weird-looking. I can’t really stand a long time on my feet.”
We contacted the Grayson campaign for an explanation. Curiously, we were referred to one of the campaign’s paid pollsters, Jim Kitchens, owner of The Kitchen Group. The campaign reported paying $18,000 to Kitchens last April for “polling.” (See page 247.)
Kitchens argued that Webster made a personal choice not to go into the military, and that had he intended to serve after graduation, he would have signed up for officer training and undergone a physical examination during his junior year in college. It’s true that some undergraduates did that. But we can’t accept Kitchens’ spurious reasoning.
The ad states clearly that Webster “refused the call to service,” which is simply false. Webster may have made a choice not to volunteer for officer training, and not to volunteer for military service before completing his undergraduate degree. But that’s not the same as refusing to serve when called. And the fact is that Webster reported when the draft board declared him to be available for military service.
Like Mr. Grayson’s caustic statements on the House floor, this ad is all about shock and less about truth. His pollster, Jim Kitchens, did Mr. Grayson no favors with a horrible spin job explanation of the practically libelous ad and this isn’t the only attack ad on the airwaves coming from the Grayson camp. Rep. Grayson just released an ad where he calls Mr. Webster “Taliban Dan.”
The fact that Rep. Grayson is comparing terrorists who are killing U.S. military overseas to a GOP candidate he is running against is just despicable, and any military supporter should truly think twice about supporting an individual who does not seem to take seriously what kind of risks our military faces everyday.