- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 22, 2004

‘Hanoi John’

A House Republican and Vietnam veteran yesterday referred to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee as “Hanoi John.”

Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas joined several Republicans yesterday in marking the 33rd anniversary of John Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he charged that atrocities were committed by American soldiers in Vietnam.

“On this day in 1971, John Kerry showed his true colors, and they are not red, white and blue,” said Mr. Johnson, who was captured and held prisoner by the North Vietnamese.

“Before the Senate, before America, and before the world, he blasted our nation, chastised our troops and hurt our morale,” Mr. Johnson said. “Is it any wonder that my comrades from Vietnam and I have a nickname for him similar to ‘Hanoi Jane.’

“It’s called ‘Hanoi John.’ ”

Other House Republicans made similar comments in a series of floor speeches.

“Many veterans, including myself as a veteran, view John Kerry’s testimony that day as one of the worst public slanders ever against the valor and character of the American military,” said Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican.

“In a sad act of political theater, John Kerry accused American soldiers of rape, torture, murder, and even offered up comparisons to Genghis Khan,” said Mr. Wilson, who noted that many of Mr. Kerry’s sources and accusations have since been widely discredited. “The troops returned to unfair persecution. John Kerry owes them an apology.”

During the speeches, the presiding officer reminded Republicans that House rules prohibit “personal attacks” on a senator.

“We ought to rise above this,” said Rep. John B. Larson, Connecticut Democrat, adding that Mr. Kerry is “a decorated war hero” and that America needs “the kind of leadership John Kerry provided on the battlefield.”

Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, California Republican, didn’t agree.

“We don’t need a Jane Fonda as commander in chief,” he said.

Veep news

“A couple of rumors” concerning John Kerry’s vice presidential search “have reached the stage of being reportable,” CNN political editor John Mercurio writes in the Morning Grind column at www.cnn.com.

“First, sources say Kerry has told friends that his personal choice, all other things being equal, is Dick Gephardt. ‘He’s worked with him the most [among VP prospects]. He personally likes him the best. He trusts him the most, and he likes [Gephardt’s wife] Jane and the kids. He’s most comfortable putting him on the ticket,’ one non-Gephardt source told the Grind.

“Of course, all other things are anything but equal in this process. Gephardt ran a disappointing prez campaign and has plenty of detractors — even, sources say, within Kerry’s inner circle.

“One other thing: We’re hearing that Florida Sen. Bob Graham will not make it onto Kerry’s short list. Graham, who at 68 would be the fourth-oldest VP ever upon taking office, has met with [Kerry veep screener Jim] Johnson, but is not expected to advance to the vetting process,” Mr. Mercurio said.

“But Kerry’s not ignoring Florida Dems completely. Sen. Bill Nelson, a good friend of [Kerry adviser Bob] Shrum’s, still may make the list.”

Gas guzzlers

“Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his mega-rich wife, Teresa Heinz, own a gas-guzzling private jet, an energy-eating power yacht, have five mansions that consume thousands of gallons of oil to heat and cool — and keep a fleet of SUVs running night-and-day outside their Beacon Hill mansion,” NewsMax.com reports.

“But that didn’t stop Sen. Kerry from blasting President Bush’s environmental record [Tuesday],” NewsMax said.

” ‘Being responsible about the environment is not some goo-goo, do-gooder, silly notion that you embrace once a year on Earth Day,’ railed Mr. Kerry to a Florida crowd. ‘It’s important to life itself.’ ”

“Really?

“It doesn’t seem particularly important to the Heinz Kerrys, whose Gulfstream V private jet gobbles up thousands of gallons of jet fuel annually. Dubbed the ‘Flying Squirrel’ by Teresa, this $35 million gas guzzler features a plasma TV, two bathrooms, fancy mahogany and burlwood paneling and gold-plated fixtures, according to Boston [Herald columnist and radio talk-show host] Howie Carr.

“So far reporters have had little to say about the contrast between Sen. Kerry’s staunch environmentalism, along with his wife’s decision to turn the Heinz family endowment into a green crusade — and the would-be first family’s energy-wasting lifestyle.”

NewsMax added: “And the Heinz Kerrys don’t seem to be particularly big fans of that old environmental slogan, ‘Think Globally, Act Locally.’ Their neighbors in Beacon Hill, for instance, have been grumbling lately about the fleet of Secret Service SUVs the candidate and his wife keep out in front of their palatial digs — with engines running 24-hours a day.”

Words that haunt

John Kerry, the presumed Democratic nominee for president, was quoted by a student newspaper at West Virginia’s Bethany College in 1971 as saying, “Our democracy is a farce. It is not the best in the world,” Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com

Mr. Kerry made the remarks on Nov. 2, 1971, according to the Bethany College student newspaper, the Tower. CNSNews.com obtained a copy of the article, written by John Majors, which details Mr. Kerry’s visit to the college and appeared in the Nov. 11, 1971, issue of the newspaper. At the time, Mr. Kerry was still a leader of the antiwar group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).

“There is a disbelief in the American Dream,” Mr. Kerry was quoted as saying. “People are questioning if it is really a dream or if the dream still exists,” he told the students gathered in the school’s Weimer Lecture Hall.

Two weeks after his appearance at Bethany College, Mr. Kerry resigned as a leader of the VVAW during the group’s meeting in Kansas City. That’s the same meeting in which VVAW members reportedly discussed the possibility of assassinating U.S. senators still committed to the American war effort in Vietnam.

During his speech to Bethany College students, Mr. Kerry was quoted as saying that communism did not pose any kind of threat.

“The soldier went to Vietnam to defend the country from aggressive communism in the tradition of World War II,” Mr. Kerry said. “But the soldier learned he was not fighting communism. Communism was not a threat to our country and the war was not moral.”

Flipper stalks Kerry

“Democrats once used a person in a chicken costume to stalk former President G.H.W. Bush during the 1992 campaign. In this year’s presidential race, Pennsylvania Republicans are using a person in a dolphin costume to stalk John Kerry,” Capitolwire.com reports.

“Flipper, a brainstorming idea from the Pennsylvania GOP, made his first appearance Friday in Pittsburgh, where the Democratic candidate had a rally. ‘John Kerry has flip-flopped his way through this campaign,’ said Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Alan Novak. ‘He has a bad habit of saying one thing and then changing his opinion to appease one particular group or another. Americans need a leader, not someone who lacks the conviction to take firm positions on the critical issues facing our nation.’ Novak said this was the first of a series of appearances Flipper will make at Kerry events in Pennsylvania.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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