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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Voters' views: Linda Alston
In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of BBC News Online users to share their views. Here, we asked them for their thoughts on the row over negative campaign ads and John Kerry's war record.

Linda Alston
Linda Alston:
Madison, Wisconsin

Neil Sherman
Neil Sherman:
Germantown, Tenn.

Jorge Caspary
Jorge Caspary:
Tallahassee, Florida
Chase Erwin
Chase Erwin:
Austin, Texas

Jim Hill
Jim Hill:
Sudbury, Mass.

Rhonda Buie
Rhonda Buie:
San Diego, California

Linda Alston

Linda Alston
Name: Linda Alston
Age: 48
Lives: Madison, Wisconsin
Works: Publications co-ordinator, currently unemployed
Current voting intention: Democrat
10 words or less: "Intuitive and analytical, often right but not always"

Dirty politics is an American tradition, so I was not surprised by the SBVT ad impugning John Kerry's war record.

What is surprising is the blatancy of the campaign.

The SBVT has launched a smear campaign which it claims is non-partisan. Don't believe it.

Calling John Kerry a liar and trying to detract from his war record is a reaction to Kerry's own blatant and repeated promotion of his service record, which itself is a stinging slap in the face to our current Commander-in -Chief, George W Bush.

I am glad that Kerry is finally making an aggressive response to the attack because whatever you may think about the SBVT ad, it is not ineffective.

Fortunately the evidence that has come to light since the accusations began has refuted them.

Our panel: Where they live

Naval records and the accounts of men who actually served with Kerry on his boat attest to his heroism.

Furthermore, several of Kerry's one-time senior officers who are now part of SBVT are on the official record as lauding Kerry for heroism and recommending him for the medal he was awarded.

That George Bush has not condemned the SBVT is par for the course.

Bush has had something to say about 527-funded organisations [independent non-profit groups], but that is due to previous scathing anti-Bush ads.

In the long run, I am hopeful the type of ploy used by SBVT will be seen for what it is: despicable.

Send us your comments on Linda's views using the form below.

Your comments:

Democrats have a lot of nerve trying to claim the moral high ground here
Heather, Moncks Corner, SC, USA
Democrats have a lot of nerve trying to claim the moral high ground here. For the last few months several Democratic leaning organisations have attacked Bush repeatedly in the media. Let us also not forget Michael Moore and his personal vendetta against a sitting president which he spent millions to put on celluloid. So, before the Dems get too far off on this tangent about poor John Kerry being attacked about his war record, perhaps they should be asking why is the war record of someone who served less than a year, some 30 years ago, relevant to this election? Answer: It isn't.
Heather, Moncks Corner, SC, USA

She is right. These attacks by the SBVT are an out and out disgrace! And let me add that I think George Bush and the Republican Party are behind this. Bush et al will stop at nothing to discredit Kerry's war record, because the president's own military record indicates that he is the one who is "unfit for command", since he never saw active duty at all!
Jeanette Wirth, Seattle, WA, USA

Kerry himself chose to make his (ancient) war record the centrepiece of his campaign. If that strategy has now backfired, he has only himself to blame.
Mark, AZ, USA

It is still difficult to discern whether Bush and co's policy of muckraking is having the adverse effect desired on Kerry's presidential campaign. But with such polarised public opinion, these attacks can only do harm.

Kerry's team wants Bush to condemn the SBVT ad. Bush called for an end to all soft-money supported ads, citing that they aren't good for the election process. Kerry's team then says "oh no, not all ads, just the ones that are critical of us." The truth is that the Bush smearing ads by Kerry-affiliated groups have far outspent the SBVT ads. The Democrats can't have it both ways. This just reinforces my opinion of the Democrats and liberals in general, that they can dish out a lot of criticism, but they can't take it when it's directed at them.
Chuck Sherer, Aurora, IL, USA

Every time I hear a complaint from the Democrats about the recent Swift Boat allegations, I shake my head. Am I missing something very obvious? Where were all these people when the attack ads on George Bush were being aired? Newspapers are full of attack ads funded by the likes of MoveOn.org. It's like the Democrats are pretending that those other ads never took place.
Andrea, NY, USA

Linda is right, these attacks are disgraceful. We keep hearing that Kerry attacked Bush's war record first. What war record?
Sandra, St Louis, USA


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