- Sen. John McCain argued Wednesday that Americans need to get past Vietnam, spreading blame for the bitter political debate among both presidential candidates, a federal agency and a veterans group attacking Sen. John Kerry's combat record.
"I'm sick and tired of re-fighting the Vietnam War. And most importantly, I'm sick and tired of opening the wounds of the Vietnam War, which I've spent the last 30 years trying to heal," the Arizona Republican said at a lunch with USA TODAY and Gannett News Service. "It's offensive to me, and it's angering to me that we're doing this. It's time to move on."
McCain said Kerry may have opened himself to criticism by focusing on Vietnam. In his own primary campaign in 2000, McCain said, he didn't have to because everyone knew he'd been there. For Kerry, "it's clearly a tactical or strategic move" to shield him against "charges of being too liberal and soft on defense."
As the ad opens, McCain is seen in a grainy black-and-white recording lying on a cot, smoking a cigarette.
"What's your name," an interrogator asks, putting a microphone close to McCain.
"McCain," he replies.
"How old are you?"
"Thirty-one," he says, drawing on the cigarette.
"In which school were you educated?"
"The Naval Academy."
"What is your rank?"
"Lieutenant commander in the Navy."
"And your official number?"
"624787," McCain replies.
The ad comes the same week that McCain became eligible for matching federal funds for his campaign. He's trying to climb out of dire financial straits.
To be clear I think it's fine for McCain to use whatever he wants in his biography for the campaign and I don't think by doing so he opens himself up to people going on Hardball every night to lie about his service if he does so.