WH: Kerry, Dems in orchestrated smear

Sept. 15, 2004 at 12:49 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The White House accused Democrats and the Kerry campaign Wednesday of an orchestrated smear effort against President George W. Bush.

The effort, centered around Bush's National Guard record and possibly forged documents purporting to show Bush shirked his duty, was being pursued because "John Kerry has fallen behind in the polls," spokesman Scott McClellan said.

"It's really because Sen. Kerry cannot win when the discussion is on the issues and the future for the American people," he said. "There is no question about the timing (of the attacks) and there is no question that this is an orchestrated effort by the Kerry campaign and Democrats to bring down the president."

The documents were aired on CBS New's "60 Minutes" and indicate Bush disobeyed a direct order to take a flight physical. Handwriting, document and printing experts, however, quickly questioned their authenticity, as did the secretary, widow, son and colleagues of the now deceased officer who allegedly wrote them.

The Democratic National Committee and pro-Kerry groups immediately bannered the suspect papers and their contents to accuse Bush of deceit in past and deceit now over Iraq and other policies.

CBS has not disclosed who gave them the documents.

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