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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 September, 2004, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Is political advertising in the US getting dirty?
Kerry receives military decoration during Vietnam
US President George Bush has criticised a TV commercial that accused Democrat rival John Kerry of inflating his Vietnam War record.

President Bush said Senator Kerry served "admirably" and called for attacks by external campaign groups to be banned.

The adverts, by a group calling itself the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), alleged that Mr Kerry had exaggerated his valour in combat.

President Bush called on Mr Kerry to join him in condemning partisan adverts paid for by groups not directly allied to the Republicans or the Democrats.

Should groups like SBVT be allowed to campaign against candidates? Will they affect the presidential campaigns? Is political advertising in the US getting too dirty? Send us your views.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Dave M, USA/UK:
How are independent groups like SBVT contributing to the health of the American political system?

Let's face it, there is little difference between Bush and Kerry. This mud wrestle is just a political tie-breaker to see who gets the title. Surely that is enough to convince people that a third party is desperately needed.
AC, New York, USA

Oh come on, political advertising in the US has been "dirty" for at least as long as I've been alive (I was born during Watergate). I've even seen dirty ads from McKinley's 1896 campaign. It's a grand old American tradition like Fourth of July fireworks, mom and apple pie, and pretty darn entertaining too!
Chris, Colorado, USA

I am tired of hearing about "character issues". 95% of politicians have skeletons in their closets. They do not get to where they are by playing nice. Politics is dirty and "nice guys" don't go far, with the exception of Jimmy Carter. My attitude is that I am voting for the person who is most likely to deliver what I think is best for my country.
Shiv, USA

Politics, as well as journalism has always been dirty. Power, money and prestige are a powerful narcotic for the "chosen few". Nothing has changed in respect to politics in several thousand years, we are just better informed.
James Smith, Arley, Alabama, USA

As a voter I pay absolutely no attention to the ads
Stephen M. Hall, Concord, CA, USA
Political advertising in the US has been "dirty" and full of lies for years - this year it is especially bad because all the republicans have is lies! As a voter I pay absolutely no attention to the ads.
Stephen M. Hall, Concord, CA, USA

Yes. but it always has been dirty. Lincoln was compared to a monkey is his day. Further back, Jefferson and Adams hated each other and didn't become friendly 'till long out of office. This is coming up now because of the anti-Kerry ads being run by people who want to refight the rightness of the Vietnam war.
Gary W. Duncan, Boston, USA

Why, can't these two men understand that people are sick of all politics? Just once I would like to see someone in office fix our problems at home.
Diane Johnson, White Lake, Mi, USA

The mere fact that people find it acceptable that both sides hit one another under the belt clearly shows that politics in the US has taken a huge downward plunge. Both sides should begin to discuss the real issues that matter to the country, not all this nonsense being thrown around these days. I personally think the US media is to blame for the fact that election politics has degraded so drastically. The media should show less bias by doing more of an effort to remain objective and neutral. Perhaps then people will wake up and begin to initiate discussions on some of the more meaningful current issues such as health care, energy policy and the environment and not just defence.
Aram, New York, NY

think the time has come for each party to be prohibited from accepting private funds for political campaigns
Nick Fraser, Jordan
American electoral campaigns are a ludicrous charade in which the candidate with access to the largest pot of campaigning funds (and thus media/advertising exposure) usually wins the contest. I find it amazing that the 'world's greatest democracy' continues to tolerate the status quo, a system which allows corruption to flourish and even tacitly encourages it as both major parties compete to secure the backing of 'special interest groups'. I think the time has come for each party to be prohibited from accepting private funds for political campaigns and instead receive a fixed sum for campaigning direct from federal coffers. The fact that 'big money' is totally warping America's political culture is something which is impacting people's lives across the globe - it must be challenged.
Nick Fraser, Jordan

Only a little over two months to go and both sides can make it to the election without discussing the real issues confronting the nation. Isn't American politics wonderful? To an outsider, it must seem like they've fallen down a rabbit hole or walked through a looking glass. To them it gets more and more curious. To us it's all perfectly normal.
Mark, USA

Bush knows that the ads attacking Kerry are false.
Saul, Tel Aviv, Israel
The reason the democrats are not against Michael Moore and Howard Dean statements is because those statements are true. Bush knows that the ads attacking Kerry are false. Yet the movies like Fahrenheit 9/11 are filled with facts, so how can one ban the truth?
Saul, Tel Aviv, Israel

If it is true, tell it. If it is false, expose it. Let the ads air.
C. Swanberg, Farmington, MI, USA

It's truly scary to read some of the U.S. resident's feedback and realizing just how much a stranglehold the Republicans and conservative organizations have over the hearts and minds of so many people. I'm certain the success of Fox News and consequently the pervasive conservative idology in the media has brought this situation about. The SBVT ad is a prime example of the lengths the right-wing will stoop to. Stop parroting the 'echo chamber' and do some research of your own!
Mike, Guelph, ON, Canada

Advertising has taken an ugly turn in this country for some now. My problem with this issue is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the real problems, who cares who got a purple heart and who didn't? Both candidates are evading the real issues with cute words and clever statements. The focus should be on a sound plan to put the country back on track, that is what I what to hear.
Loren, Chicago, Illinois USA

To Jim in Miami, sounds like YOU are whining; but yeah, let's talk about Abu Ghraib or something more relevant. Although, I am concerned that coincidently there may suddenly be a raised terror alert to distract the public next.
Julie, St. Louis, USA

When will folks realize that Chuckie Dean, Al Gore and Michael Moore are part of the game too? Why is there no hue and cry to terminate their blathering?
Mike, California

Did John Kerry denounce Fahrenheit 911 for its slanderous lies? Did John Kerry denounce the MoveOn.org ads depicting President Bush as Hitler? Democrats are the biggest hypocrites known to man. Stop your whining! Both sides hit under the belt. Difference is that Republicans don't cry about it.
Jim, Miami, USA

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
Mirek Kondracki, American in Poland

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Ad-campaign is a non-issue. The incredible length of the election campaign and the outrageous amount of money spent by all candidates is. Will something be done about it? Don't hold your breath!
Mirek Kondracki, American in Poland

Just when you think we've hit the bottom of the barrel, that cabal in Washington is able to find yet another handful of mud to sling.
Roger Winter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The stakes are really high. The President's executive powers are huge and this is the top of the political game. The slander was even greater during the revolutionary days. Thomas Jefferson paid off a columnist to lie about and slander John Adams.
Madeleine, New York, USA

I turn off the noise but am aware of the flavour. Bush has been getting bashed by prominent Dems and 527s since the democratic primary race began over a year ago. Over the year I see a clear distinction of how the Republicans present themselves with dignity whereas the Democrats feed on the frenzy and emotion. I agree with president Bush - let's get rid of all these unauthorized 527s and baseless attacks!
Bob, Idaho, USA

Political advertising in the US is an absolute joke. There is no real discussion of the issues, just quick, choreographed sound-bites. The entire election process is so far removed from our founding fathers' intentions it is no longer recognizable as the American Republic that formed 228 years ago. The sad reality is that the election will be decided by the group that controls the electronic voting machines (currently the Republican Party). I have lost all faith in our system. I have no pride in our nation of corporations. I think it may be time for another revolution.
Mike Stassi, Los Angeles, USA

It's easy for Bush to call for an end of negative attacks by external campaign groups. He has only to gain from it. Kerry has already stated that he would not run smear ads against Bush. Meanwhile, Bush continues to run smear ads against Kerry. Translation: only George Bush will benefit from stopping third party smear-ads. Long live free speech for all groups, not just Presidential candidates!
Brett, USA

Bush isn't behind these ads. They are an independent 527 group or whatever you call it. They are all Vietnam vets who have earned their right to speak about Kerry because they served in Vietnam with Kerry. If Kerry didn't want his record looked at so much he shouldn't have played it up so much.
Michael, Texas

You all are such elitists! This is a democracy where free speech is allowed - thank God! Being president of this Republic is not like being the president of a stinking debating society! This is the real world. It's a tough country and we need to have a tough leader who is not above the people and what interest them... no matter how muddy and slimy it may seem. I want to see who can outsmart the other, sling the most mud... and be the toughest. Keep your elitist rhetoric to yourself. Let loose the dogs of election advertising war!
Chris, USA

I believe these ads should motivate people to go out and find the truth.
Jon B, MN, USA
I love watching this stuff. Being in Minnesota, a dominantly Democratic voting state, we never got any of the so called dirty ads. They are all very entertaining. Now that we get them, I love to watch them and see each sides spin. I believe these ads should motivate people to go out and find the truth. People need to dig for the facts. However, the sad thing is that we Americans are lazy and wait for TV and the Media to tell us the truth. So the ads will continue. So pop some popcorn and enjoy the ride.
Jon B, MN, USA

The advertisements have been getting worse and worse over the years. Last election the Bush called Gore a rat. Now this, what's next?
Bijan Sarlati, Naperville, USA

Stop watching TV, start reading a newspaper and listen to public radio. Elections suddenly become almost tolerable. There don't seem to be anywhere near as many attack ads by either side in these other news media.
Chris, Seattle, USA

The saddest part about this is that it casts doubt, not only on John Kerry but the entire medal system of the United States. This SBVT ad has cheapened every medal ever awarded to an American soldier by suggesting they can be politically motivated.
Philip, Ottawa, Canada

However, while the advertising has gotten worse, the real problem in the campaign is money
Steve Brown, San Francisco

Total reform is needed. People think that the election process can not be changed because of free speech. But they are wrong. The government can limit speech, even based on the content of that speech, if the reasons are important enough. We should limit elections to three months, ban all soft money, force all candidates to take responsibility for what is put out by their campaigns, and be forced in direct statements to answer a media questionnaire on the hot topics of the day, and that should be used as an affidavit on what they will work toward when in office. However, while the advertising has gotten worse, the real problem in the campaign is money. The government should ban all giving from every business toward any government official or campaign.
Steve Brown, San Francisco, USA

The mud slinging and sound bites haven't started yet. There's still over two months to go. Its can be pretty boring, being a Brit over here, how the average US citizen puts up with the scandal driven Media and by interest groups I have no idea. What has happened to democracy here? It seems that it has been high jacked.
Iain Steven, Houston, Texas (normally UK)

How do you define dirty in a country where "win at all costs" is standard practice?
Gary Chiles, Wellington, New Zealand

There is nothing dirty in SBVT ads. After all, those ads and Moveon.org ads are direct, whether they speak truth or not. The dirtiest thing in this election is making use of innocent victims of 9/11 at New York City. The subtle but strong exploit of a national tragedy to garner support for the President who, in fact, has not yet caught Osama!
Kadavul, Santa Clara, California, USA

Where was the outrage when MoveOn compared Bush to Hitler? The only real change this election has been the complete alignment of the mainstream and foreign media for Kerry. That is how we get to now where innuendo, false ads, and propaganda wrapped as documentary can be aired for months without raising an eyebrow, but 1 ad by a small independent group can raise questions like this. The media is consuming its accumulated balance of goodwill at a rapid rate, and I believe it will come back to haunt them.
Jim, Seattle, USA

The issue of free speech is what is at stake here. Kerry's attempt to use law suites to quiet his critics is what is alarming about this episode! Oddly enough, if these ads by the swift boat veterans had not contained any real threat the Kerry campaign would not be reacting so violently to the ads. The Democrats have been using these "dirty" ads for over a year, yet Bush has treated them as a joke. However, damage has been done on both sides with these "independent" groups offering these ads to generate spin for their cause. The root problem here is the campaign finance legislation that was passed by congress a couple of years ago. These kinds of attack groups are completely without oversight and can do anything and say anything they like. We need to force congress to rework the legislation to eliminate these campaign-financing loopholes!
Gordon, Tacoma, USA

Political Advertising has been at a low for quite some time now.
Michelle, Columbia, SC
You had better believe it is dirty. Political Advertising has been at a low for quite some time now. No longer will we hear the presidential candidate's stance on pressing issues effecting America and the rest of the world. We are left to watch them take the easy road out when they choose not elaborate on their stance on issues. We the voters are left to hope we make the right choice on election day.
Michelle, Columbia, SC

The ads in American have always been exaggerated but the Bush Team has hit a new low. I only hope other Americans will see between the ads to the truth. Bush does not want to talk about issues. He has nothing going for him and his administration except the war. And a lot of us are now reading between the pipelines.
Rhysa Davis, Torrance, CA

Getting Dirty? We have been subjected to dirty politics since I can remember. I know that I can speak for others that I am sick of it. Even though it is perfectly legal, it is not always ethical. That is where the law and ethics contradict each other. And who runs this country? Lawyers- that's who!
GG, Vancouver, WA, USA

You think that's dirty? Come and have a look at Brazilian ads.
Ricardo, Brazil

It's strange to see the left's outrage now that John Kerry is the subject of personal scrutiny and attack. Now the left claims that this sort of rhetoric has no place in the political process. Really? Where was the left's outrage over the last year as Bush has been endlessly maligned by their smear machine? What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.
Nathaniel, Houston, USA

Honestly, the fact that Vietnam is being used as a political weapon at all is laughable
Luke Dawson, UK
Honestly, the fact that Vietnam is being used as a political weapon at all is laughable, considering it happened so long ago and was by many peoples' standards a failure. All of this is just a convenient diversion away from more important issues. If this is the best they can do, then it has to be asked whether either of the two parties is fit for office. We complain about British politics, yet at least we're not arguing over who did what 30 odd years ago!
Luke Dawson, UK

The stridency of the ads on both sides are an indication of how deeply divided the country has become. The swift boat series, however, are a new low. One honour could be a mistake, but three? The sad thing about these commercials is that if remotely accurate, they call into question all medals issued to those who served honourably and bravely. That is a terrible thing to do!
RL, Philadelphia, PA,US

This is not Africa, Banana Republics or any Asian country resorting to undemocratic ways of campaigning for an election. This is the world's foremost superpower and a country commanding respect from the rest of the world. I suppose Americans are intelligent enough to understand what goes on. Tactics such as this coming through 3rd parties from Bush camp manipulations will not prevail but certainly would backlash. His dad did the same and did it work? This kind of dirty stuff wouldn't work in Canada without severe backlash. Wake up Americans, wake up!
Chris Kahandaliyanage, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Bush has dishonoured all Vietnam veterans, and all veterans who have served in the US military by condoning this pack of obvious lies against Kerry.


Dennis, Philadelphia, USA
Bush has dishonoured all Vietnam veterans, and all veterans who have served in the US military by condoning this pack of obvious lies against Kerry. This is not politics as usual. Just as the attacks on McCain in the 2000 primary, and the attacks on Max Cleland, the triple amputee senator from Georgia. It is time for people to put a stake in the dirt and say that the litmus true test of a card carrying Republican is that they never ask "does the end justify the means".
Dennis, Philadelphia, USA

Of course it's dirty. To all the Bush defenders, let me ask you: If Kerry's such a liar, why did Jim Rassman, the man whose life Kerry saved, write a column defending Kerry in the Wall St. Journal? Was Rassman's foot blown off by imaginary enemy fire? Why do the Swift Boat Veteran's for (so-called) "Truth's" own military records contradict them? Why have two of your own, John McCain and Terry Musser, a Republican state rep, long-time chairman of the Assembly Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, and the co-chairman of Wisconsin Veterans for Bush, denounced the SBVT's ads as lies? Wake up - Bush and his cronies have lied to our country long enough!
Jerry, Cincinnati, USA

This is a clever move from Bush's speech writers: calling for fair play on his opponent. But this shouldn't detract from the fact that GW Bush dodged his service and Kerry didn't. Could the Bush camp be lurking in the background of SBVT? I wonder...
Chris Petts, London, England

Is political advertising in the US getting dirty? Yes, the political advertising in the US is getting dirty. In fact for the last 16+ years there has been too many negative political advertising. And too many politicians more interested in winning elections and nominations at all costs - even damaging their opposition. Moreover, when elected they are more concerned about their position and hurting people who are on the opposite party (e.g. Republicans out to destroy Clinton and the Democrats out to destroy both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush) than doing what is good for the USA/Rest of the World. Worse of all it seems to me that the USA is living in a cold civil war (Democrats against Republicans) and we the citizens of the USA and the citizens of this planet (regardless of gender, religion, nationality, and race) are all suffering.
John C. McCreery, New York, USA

While we and other countries Those that refused to go now question those that did. My husband, whose father received a bronze star in Vietnam saving others, is being told at his work place that he is dishonouring his father by supporting John Kerry by more Republicans that didn't serve. The ads are showing only what he heard in Detroit. But Bush/Rove is doing the Texas two step by misdirecting the media and they follow like lemmings. Let both men run on their record.
Jan Swann, Corpus Christi, USA

The Swift Boat Veterans earned the right to speak with their service, their experiences and their blood.
Doc Farmer, Indiana, USA
The Swift Boat Veterans earned the right to speak with their service, their experiences and their blood. They've not broken any laws, and in fact are running a much cleaner campaign than Kerry or George Soros, his $12.7 million financier. The fact that the Veterans are telling the truth about Kerry's "service" infuriates them, and flies in the face of their constant stream of lies and invective. All this is doing is showing Kerry and the democrats to be the hypocrites I always knew them to be.
Doc Farmer, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

Politics in the US has been lowered to the level of the tabloid rags. It's easy to blame the political parties, but if the public didn't tolerate it, even delight in it, the nastiness wouldn't exist. Unfortunately, too many Americans pay altogether too much attention to the trivial and superficial while real issues go unaddressed. This is true of both parties, but the Republicans have become masters at misdirection and smear tactics.
Lane Brisendine, Birmingham, Alabama, US

President Bush now calls for all 527 group Ads including the swift boat Ad to stop, now that he has benefited from all the publicity this Ad has received in the last three weeks, Bush now wants to condemn it. This is because he knows the 527 groups in support of Kerry will now hit back at President Bush, and hard for allowing the swift boat Ads to continue without condemning them right away. John Kerry knows that the damage from this Ad has already been done, and therefore should let the 527 groups do the same thing to George Bush that the Republican supported Ad did to Kerry, and that is to put out Ads that fabricated stories about Bush and lets see how fast the Bush people protest about dirty campaigning. As the good book says (Do unto them, as they would do unto you)
Robin Little, Atlanta, GA USA

Kerry's campaign if hypocritical Their 527 external campaign groups which have ran over $60 million in mudsling ads against Bush. Kerry, not one time, denounces them when they were working in his favour. I believe all of the ads should be shown or none of the ads should be shown. Kerry cannot have it both ways - like he typically tries to do! Bush has asked him from the beginning to denounce them, but Kerry did not. Now that those groups are going against, he has the gall to whine.
Jen, Indiana

Yes I have to say it is dirty. Both sides are showing how they have no real integrity. I find it a bit sickening that it is these kinds of people that we have to choose from. The only thing I have to say I am starting to get very disgusted with what these corporate puppets are doing to America. Kind of make me think about being Canadian.
Shad Eiland, Texas, USA

All Americans should be concerned when any of the two major political parties try to shut down free speech when it doesn't favour them. I'm even more perplexed at the Kerry campaign, which is bullying the book publishers and TV stations from showing the adverts of 65 brave Vietnam veterans, who fought and bled for free speech. If the Kerry campaign will go this far to silence their critics when they aren't the occupants of the White House, what will they do if they occupy the White House? At least George Bush had the effrontery to swallow all the Bush Bashing/Michael Moore festivities. I'm truly frightened and so should the rest of the free world.
Ife Ebenuwa, Urbana Illinois USA

Yes, very definitely and all blame and consequences can be laid squarely at he feet of the Bush - Cheney clique. Obsession with money and power dominate the Republican cause this year.
Dave, New Mexico, USA

Freedom of speech is one of the rights which many Americans have fought and died for. Too many Americans forget that, because they never where there!
JT Wagner, Phoenix

The whole election system is a sham and neither party is able to do anything about it.


Bucky Montano, USA
The whole election system is a sham and neither party is able to do anything about it. The biggest symptom of the broken system is the fact that half the electorate don't even bother to vote.
Bucky Montano, Washington DC, USA

The Swift Boat Veterans ads are clean, because they simply restate Kerry's own words that are well documented on video. Is it his admission then that he spilled a lot of dirt on these veterans?
Jim, Houston, Texas

The liberals have been spilling buckets of dirt on Bush for the past year, but now they tasted a drop of their own medicine, and they are outraged and cry foul. I think that is dirty. Let Kerry condemn the MoveOn.org and other liberal outlets that spew hatred against Bush.
George, New York, USA

The first amendment to the USA constitution gives groups every right to have their say. Lies should be a different matter. However, it seems lies are being cleverly camouflaged as opinions or hearsay. Many in the media seem less interested in getting to the facts than in stirring up the opinions of the parties reacting to scuttlebutt. Our legal system won't have time to react to lies before a president is inaugurated. So the lies will continue. What is at stake here? What ends justify such means?
Jeanne, Montgomery AL USA

Whether true or false, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have successfully shifted the presidential debate from current issues to some obscure events 35 years ago.
Jeanne, Montgomery, USA
Whether true or false, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have successfully shifted the presidential debate from current issues to some obscure events 35 years ago. Hey everybody, let's focus on what's been happening these most recent three and a-half years. Let's put the focus back where it belongs - liberty, economy, world relationships and our future.
Jeanne, Montgomery, AL USA

Yes, but it's always been dirty, it just gets in more faces now, and is less accurately reported by a "free" press with private agendas. When Gerald Ford was picking up the pieces of a smashed Nixon administration, Jimmy Carter & Co. were trashing him. Unfair? Yes, but successful. And that's what counts in the U.S.; get elected, any way you can, and stay in office, any way you can.
Keith, Branchburg, USA

Dirty is one thing, openly lying is another. That's the difference between the SBTV ad, for example, and Fahrenheit 9/11. The first is an outright lie and should be treated as such. The second is a documentary that puts its own spin on facts.
Marton, Munich, Germany

What bothers me about political campaigns now is that it's gone from trying to persuade the people to pick the best candidate for the job to trying to persuade the people to pick the "least-worst" candidate. The majority of campaign ads for most all mediums are about slamming the competition rather than praising the candidate that the organization is trying to support. This is probably due to the fact that the nation is so split on so many issues that it's easier to make the other person look bad than to show your own stance on controversial issues that may not help get the electoral vote. Even still, it feels like the presidential campaigns have lost a sense of honourable competition in exchange for a "win at any cost" attitude, including further dividing the people and degrading the view of all the candidates who may lead our country.
Andrew, DE, USA

Political Advertising has always been dirty. There is no true democracy anymore either; a man buys himself the Presidency. This is the greediest Country in the nation, and the one who spends the most money wins.
Mike , Lawrence, MA USA

The difference between a group like SBVT and Michael Moore is truth. There is no evidence for the claims made by SBVT. Moore's movie uses real footage of the president and a series of facts. Everyone already knows everything from Moore's movie. If you don't, Moore has the back up evidence for every fact listed on his website. Do we want a leader that backs unsubstantiated smear attacks, pre-emptive wars, dodges the draft and lies or do we want a decorated war hero who stands up for what he believes in? Easy choice. We don't have to send Bush back to Texas. He's already there on vacation most of the time.
Jim, SJ, USA

They've already got their voters. Half of the U.S. believes Bush is pure evil, while the other half sees Bush as their personal messiah. This American believes that the Republican Party failed to look after America by backing up the present administration. In turn, the Democrats should tell Kerry to "dumb it down", so most of America can understand him. It works for Bush - he speaks to the ignorant, radical, extremist groups in this country. These people do not think for themselves, and have grown tired of waiting for Jesus, so they turn to a madman and a bully administration. America is a young adolescent who is throwing a tantrum in the world. I'm disgusted with the loud-mouth, cowboy mentality that claims to be the USA.
Pete Allcorn, Winston-Salem, NC USA

Yes, groups should be allowed to campaign against candidates. In many cases it is the only way to hear the truth. Most of the news media reports liberal cause related items and slanted editorialized information. Kerry turned against his country once and now someone is calling him on it, and it is beginning to effect his campaign and so they are attempting to silence that group.
J. Spencer, Arlington, TX

The SBVT ads are dishonest and border on absolute libel. It is a damn shame that politics have gotten to a point in this country that the veterans of wars are being ideologically divided for political gain. These slander campaigns are an embarrassment to responsible, American politics. Now it comes to light that SBVT may have shadowy ties to a certain re-election campaign!
MkB, Worcester, MA, USA

Where was Kerry when the propaganda of Michael Moore was released earlier this year? Why is the mainstream media condemning the SBVT and not Moore's non-commentary proven to be full of misleading clips and innuendos? This obvious bias is again proving the double standard given to the left. Kudos to George for taking the high road here!
Michael Boese, Dallas, TX

To point out a rival's record is fair game.
Mike Daly, Miami, USA
I don't think you can call it all dirty. When the Bush campaign point's out John Kerry's voting record in the US Senate, it's called a negative ad-which I don't think it is. To point out a rival's record is fair game. I do think this whole thing with Vietnam should just be put to bed. 12 years ago, it was these same Democrats that said Bill Clinton was the man to be President and he was a draft dodger. However, the dirtiest move ever was George W. Bush attack on John McCain, who if the rest of the world was exposed too - would understand why many people wished was running for President.
Mike Daly, Miami, Fl, USA

I think it is less that political advertising is getting dirty, then it always has been a filthy and deplorable business. The real shame of this recent outbreak of mud slinging is the blatant lack of any grace or tact. The most alarming fact is that these topics provide an escape hatch for the two parties involved to avoid saying anything about the issues that are of real importance.
Rick, Charm City, MD

You call this dirty? Local race political ads are far worse. American politics at its finest!!!
John, Bloomfield, NJ, USA

If there ever was a good argument for real campaign reform this is it.


Abraham, Oxford, USA
If there ever was a good argument for real campaign reform this is it. Ideally, each candidate would be given a set amount of TV time for their commercials, a set number of pages in newspapers, debate attendance would be mandatory and outside of the debates, candidates would be forbidden to state anything but their campaign promises and their views on specific issues. Except for signs limited to the candidate's name, party affiliation and the position they are vying for, no other political advertising should be legal. All this needs to work is for the American public to participate in the process and the US Congress to disobey their sponsors/benefactors.
Abraham, Oxford, USA

And for the last year, we've had to listen to the left bash Bush for everything. I'm tired of them all, but it's funny that now that the shoe is on the other foot, the left wants them yanked.
Elena George, McAllen TX USA

In short, yes. Political advertising is dirty, getting worse, and brings out the worst in politics. The Dems and Republicans are both guilty of this immoral behaviour. And the rest of the world wonders why Americans don't get more involved in domestic affairs.
Brian Quinn, Pittsburgh, USA

The candidates are busy responding to accusations and have very little time to address the issues that are of concern to a majority of the voters.
Tony, USA
The political mudslinging has ventured way off of the conventional path. The candidates are busy responding to accusations and have very little time to address the issues that are of concern to a majority of the voters. I have not heard any of the candidates address any issue of importance outside of the conflicts in Iraq and a brief mention of Afghanistan. I am undecided about whom I will vote for since none of my concerns have been addressed i.e. immigration and the nations economy.
Tony, USA

I can't believe the whining and hypocrisy coming from the Kerry campaign. As soon as the Swift Boat Veterans, those that served with Kerry, came out and said he was unfit to command the Kerry camp called foul. But the Democrats certainly courted Michael Moore films which are known to show downright lies in regards to Bush and conservatives.
Paul, Memphis, USA

Yes it is. It gets to the point where both candidates forgot their prime duties which is to unite the country. I personally do not care about the candidate's war record; I do care more about the economy, the health care and the education. I will graduate from college and I have little hope that I will get a job soon after I graduate. Both the presidential candidate are interested more about the war that happened almost 40 years a go than to the "will be unemployed soon" like myself.
Mary, MA, USA

If one goes back to study the campaigns of George W. Bush starting from his first race for US Congress in 1980s to Governor of Texas to US Presidency in 2000 to this one in 2004; W. always uses his cronies to get dirty for the sake of his cause i.e. get elected and change the landscape more tilted towards Republican Party and "compassionate conservatism." W. says or not in public, this whole "swift boat ads" is explicitly his intentions to shave and shake the veterans support from Kerry's Column and indeed, he has been pretty successful; if one looks at recent polling numbers. What matters to W. is 4-more years? Any way possible using his well oiled campaign machinery. He doesn't care about dirt, campaign ethics or anything else. Period.
Sunny, Washington D.C.

Why people get off their sleep after years. Till yesterday none came up with anything about Kerry but today when he is fighting for a place they come with these things, where were these people when he was receiving his awards?
Saurav Tater, London, U.K.

There is a double standard. Democrats were running negative ads for months. Where was the outcry?.
Paul, St Leo, Florida
There is a double standard. Democrats were running negative ads for months. Where was the outcry?. Kerry should stop whining.
Paul, St Leo, Florida

Getting dirty? Half of what goes on in the US electoral process would be considered corruption in any other western democracy. That it's legal and accepted there makes it all the more bizarre. So yes, it's dirty.
Matthew Becker, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Well it is not just getting dirty, it is getting dirtier. I watched George Bush basically telling news reporters he thought Kerry was a patriot, but at the same time refusing to condemn the group initiating the campaign. Sort of like a latter day Pilate washing his hands? Anyway shame on GWB and shame on the Republican Party. George's Vietnam "heroism" passed by in a haze somewhere in Texas, Alabama or only he knows.
Mike, Brisbane, Australia

There is very little political advertising that is anything like 100% true. The best evidence that the anti-Kerry advertising is demonstrably completely wrong is that it is beginning to harm Bush. Bush appears to be getting worried about it.
J Westerman., Leeds UK

This is just dirty business as usual. The interesting thing is no one in the major liberal media seemed upset when Kerry's supporters claimed Bush was AWOL or compared him to Hitler. They didn't start foaming at the mouth until Kerry was attacked.
Steve Foote, Memphis, USA

What a nasty way of diverting public attention away from the real issues. 965 US soldier died so far, but that is not news! Oil price has gone up - that is not a real issue! Welcome to American politics!
Sudra, New Delhi, India

The question implies that political advertising has never been dirty before.


KM, Virginia, US
The question implies that political advertising has never been dirty before. What about advertising against JFK, which implied that as (the first and only U.S. Catholic) President he would take his orders from the Pope? U.S. political advertising has always been dirty. It is as predictable as politicians inflating their pasts to become more heroic. Example: Davey Crockett wrestling and killing a bear as a child, Teddy Roosevelt sparing a black bear (hence the Teddy Bears), George Washington and the cherry tree (he never told a lie), the list goes on..
KM, Virginia, US

This is the same tactic that senior Bush used when he ran for office. He let others smear his opponent until it got out of control and then he denounced the vulgarity of it all. But the damage is done. I don't know what happened 35 years ago. It means little today. But I do know that Kerry was in Vietnam when it was supposed to have happened and Bush was somewhere in the US. Go figure.
George Laposay, Warrenton, USA

Yes it is getting dirty. Both sides have started calling on third parties to stop their negative ads, and I'm glad for that. Hopefully we can get back to the issues sometime soon. The general consensus for many here is that our options are already subpart this election season. These two main contenders seem focused on making the population even less enthusiastic about putting one in power.
Joshua Splinter, USA




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