Swift Vets and POWs for Truth
Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, formerly known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), was a political group (527 group) of United States Swift boat veterans and former prisoners of war of the Vietnam War, formed during the 2004 presidential election campaign for the purpose of opposing John Kerry's candidacy for the presidency. The campaign inspired the widely used political pejorative "swiftboating", to describe an unfair or untrue political attack. The group disbanded and ceased operations on May 31, 2008.
SBVT asserted that Kerry was "unfit to serve" as President based upon his alleged "willful distortion of the conduct" of American servicemen during that war, and his alleged "withholding and/or distortion of material facts" as to his own conduct during that war. SBVT stated that "Kerry's phony war crimes charges, his exaggerated claims about his own service in Vietnam, and his deliberate misrepresentation of the nature and effectiveness of Swift boat operations compel us to step forward." The group challenged the legitimacy of each of the combat medals awarded to Kerry by the U.S. Navy and the disposition of his discharge. (See John Kerry military service controversy.) Further, SBVT said that Kerry's later criticism of the war was a "betrayal of trust" with other soldiers, and that by his activism he had caused direct "harm" to soldiers still at war.
These claims caused tremendous controversy during the election, particularly because most of the organization's members had not been in a place to assess Kerry, while most of the Vietnam veterans who had served with him supported Kerry's version of events.
Registered under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, SBVT publicized its criticisms of Kerry during the election campaign in a book, in television advertisements that the group ran in swing states and in the media coverage some members received. The group was the subject of several complaints to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). After the election, the group was credited by media and praised by conservatives as contributing to Kerry's defeat. The group's tactics are considered an example of a successful political smear campaign for its widely publicized and later discredited claims.
- 1 Membership
- 2 Media activities
- 3 Controversy
- 4 Discredited
- 5 "Swift Boating"
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
SBVT was formed in 2004. Membership was initially limited to veterans of the Vietnam War who at some point served in a Swift boat unit, as did Kerry.
Of the 3,500 Swift boat sailors who served in Vietnam, the names of some 250 appeared on the group's statement against Kerry; most did not serve at the same time or in the same place as Kerry. Founding members of SBVT include Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann (retired), a former commander of Swift boat forces; Colonel Bud Day, who earned the Medal of Honor; Houston attorney John O'Neill, an officer who became commander of Swift Boat PCF 94 several months after Kerry's departure in 1969 and who appeared opposite Kerry in a televised 1971 debate between them on The Dick Cavett Show; and 13 other named veterans. Several of those who joined SBVT during the 2004 campaign were officers who had previously praised Kerry's conduct during the Vietnam War. These included Division Commander Grant Hibbard, who wrote positive evaluations of Kerry, and Commander George Elliott, who submitted Kerry for a Silver Star. SBVT asserted that it included, in total, 16 officers who served with Kerry in Coastal Division 11 as members. Despite SBVT's statements that Kerry's "entire chain of command" belonged to the group,  Joseph Streuli, former commander of Coastal Division 13, Charles Horne, former commander of Coastal Squadron 1, and Art Price, former commander CTF 116, who are described in "Unfit for Command" as part of Kerry's chain of command, were not affiliated with the group.
The group's initial letter against Kerry stated "It is our collective judgment that, upon your return from Vietnam, you grossly and knowingly distorted the conduct of the American soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen of that war (including a betrayal of many of us, without regard for the danger your actions caused us). Further, we believe that you have withheld and/or distorted material facts as to your own conduct in this war." However, Kerry had posted over 100 pages of his military records at his website nearly two weeks before the issuance of the SBVT letter, and had also made his military medical records available for inspection by reporters (and provided a summary from his doctor).
Not all SBVT members said that they were signing the letter for the same reason. For example, from an interview published the day before the letter was made public: "'[Kerry] earned his medals, he did what he was supposed to do in Vietnam,' said retired Coast Guard Captain Adrian Lonsdale, who was in the chain of command above Kerry and oversaw various operations dealing with Navy swift boats of the type Kerry commanded. 'But I was very disappointed in his statements after he got out of the Navy.'"
Of those who served in Kerry's boat crew, only Stephen Gardner joined SBVT. He was not present on any of the occasions when Kerry earned his medals, including his Purple Hearts. Gardner appeared in two of the group's television advertisements.
All other living members of Kerry's crew supported his presidential bid, and some frequently campaigned with him as his self-described "band of brothers". Kerry crew members have disputed some of SBVT's various allegations, calling them "totally false" (Drew Whitlow), "garbage" (Gene Thorson), and "a pack of lies" (Del Sandusky).
No members of SBVT were aboard Kerry's boat during any of the incidents for which he was decorated. The only member of SBVT who was present at the Silver Star incident, Rood's crew member Larry Clayton Lee, praised Kerry's tactics and stated that he earned his Silver Star. However, he stated that based on discussions with other SBVT members, he came to question whether Kerry deserved other medals for incidents at which he was not present.
On September 29, 2004, SBVT announced that it was joining forces with a group of American prisoners of war who were held captive by the North Vietnamese during the war to form the new group, "Swift Vets and POWs For Truth".
SBVT produced several television advertisements created by Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm attacking Kerry's actions both in and after Vietnam. For a detailed discussion of SBVT's allegations about Kerry's service in Vietnam, see John Kerry military service controversy.
First television advertisement
SBVT first went public with a May 4, 2004, press conference declaring opposition to Kerry. When the press conference garnered little attention, the organization produced television advertisements. On August 5, 2004, SBVT began airing a one-minute television spot in three hotly contested states in the ongoing presidential election. The advertisement, entitled "Any Questions?", was a collage of short clips of 13 SBVT members, many of whom stated they served with John Kerry or had direct contact with Kerry during his service in Vietnam. The veterans appearing in the ad said Kerry was dishonest, unreliable, unfit to lead, and had dishonored his country and fellow veterans. Only one of the men in the advertisement (Steve Gardner) served under Kerry, but some sailed on other boats grouped with Kerry's.
Among the first to denounce the first ad was Republican Senator John McCain, a Bush supporter, Vietnam veteran, and former POW. He said, "I condemn the [SBVT] ad. It is dishonest and dishonorable. I think it is very, very wrong". Senator McCain would be criticized four years later during his own presidential campaign for accepting money and support from many of the same Swiftboaters.
SBVT founder and spokesman John O'Neill and Jerome Corsi are listed as coauthors of the book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, published by Regnery Publishing. A best-seller upon its release in August 2004, it criticized Kerry's judgment in battle, his truthfulness, his entitlement to certain medals, and his later anti-war activities. The book was based in part on interviews with veterans who served in or with Kerry's division, and also on biographies of Kerry. Several members of Kerry's crew stated that O'Neill failed to interview them; some veterans who were interviewed asserted that their statements were edited to strip out material favorable to Kerry. Neither O'Neill nor Corsi had any firsthand knowledge of Kerry's service. O'Neill served on the Swift boats after Kerry left Vietnam, and Corsi never served in Vietnam.
After controversial statements made by Corsi became public, O'Neill denied Corsi's coauthorship of the book, saying that Corsi was "simply an editor and not really any sort of co-author." However, portions of the book contain material also found in articles posted under Corsi's name at a website critical of John Kerry, and O'Neill is cited in a later book as describing Corsi as helping to write "Unfit for Command," and urging him to back out of media appearances after the controversial comments became public.
Second television advertisement
On August 20, 2004, SBVT released a second television advertisement featuring a portion of Kerry's 1971 testimony, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry, testifying as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), had criticized U.S. policy in Vietnam. He had also described VVAW's 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation, in which more than 100 soldiers and civilians said they had seen or committed atrocities carried out by U.S. forces in Vietnam. Kerry's Senate testimony presented a summary of these men's statements; he did not, however, say that he had any personal knowledge of these atrocities. The SBVT advertisement alternated clips of Kerry's summary of these statements with charges from Vietnam veterans, particularly former POWs, that Kerry's "accusations" had demoralized and "betrayed" soldiers in Vietnam.
Third television advertisement
A third television advertisement began airing on August 26, 2004, attacking Kerry's past statements that he was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968. This advertisement featured Stephen Gardner stating, "I spent more time on John Kerry's boat than any other crew member. ... John Kerry claims that he spent Christmas in 1968 in Cambodia and that is categorically a lie. Not in December, not in January. We were never in Cambodia on a secret mission, ever."
However, Gardner was only a member of Kerry's crew for a month and a half, from December 6, 1968 to approximately January 22, 1969; crew directories and first hand accounts indicate that other crewmembers served as long or longer under Kerry's four-month-long command.
In addition, Kerry had never said that the Christmas Eve incident was a "secret mission," but happened during a routine patrol; furthermore, he stated at least two weeks prior to the ad's appearance that he had been patrolling at or near the border at the time and subsequently ambushed. The account of the patrol appears in Douglas Brinkley's Tour of Duty, [pp. 209–219] and Cmdr. Elliott noted in Kerry's fitness report that his boat was ambushed during the Christmas truce of 1968. Moreover, Kerry's biographer, Douglas Brinkley, has stated that Kerry "went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions".
Fourth television advertisement
On August 31, 2004, a fourth advertisement was released by SBVT. The advertisement described Kerry as a man who "renounced his country's symbols," a reference to a Vietnam War protest where Kerry threw war decorations over the fence of the U.S. Capitol building on April 23, 1971. The advertisement also contained edited video clips of Kerry from a WRC-TV program called Viewpoints, in which he stated that he gave back "six, seven, eight, nine" (in response to a question: "How many did you give back, John?"); it then included a clip from another part of that interview where Kerry stated "and that was the medals themselves," although in the interview it was not in reference to the decorations he returned.
Truth of allegations
Early in the advertising campaign, Time magazine surveyed public credence in the SBVT advertisements among those who viewed them. The poll, conducted August 24 through 26, showed that about one-third of viewers believed there was at least "some truth" to the allegations. Among swing voters, about one-fourth felt there was any truth to the ads.
A major part of the SBVT controversy centered on the group's testimony. The SBVT statements were accompanied by affidavits. One affiant, Alfred French, acknowledged he had no firsthand knowledge of the events to which he had sworn.
In May 2006, The New York Times reported that an early member of the group, Steve Hayes, stated that he came to believe that the group was twisting Kerry's record, and broke with the group and voted for Kerry. Hayes told the Times:
The mantra was just 'We want to set the record straight'... It became clear to me that it was morphing from an organization to set the record straight into a highly political vendetta. They knew it was not the truth.
First television advertisement
The first SBVT ad was contradicted by the statements of several other veterans who observed the incidents, by the Navy's official records, and, in some instances, by the contemporaneous statements of SBVT members themselves.
Several major newspapers were also skeptical of the SBVT allegations. For example, a New York Times news article stated, "on close examination, the accounts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth prove to be riddled with inconsistencies." Regarding the medal dispute, a Los Angeles Times editorial stated, "Not limited by the conventions of our colleagues in the newsroom, we can say it outright: These charges against John Kerry are false." The editorial argued this position on the basis that "Kerry is backed by almost all those who witnessed the events in question, as well as by documentation." On August 22, 2004 The Washington Post reported: "An investigation by The Washington Post into what happened that day suggests that both sides have withheld information from the public record and provided an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of what took place. But although Kerry's accusers have succeeded in raising doubts about his war record, they have failed to come up with sufficient evidence to prove him a liar."
The ABC television show Nightline traveled to Vietnam and interviewed Vietnamese who were involved in the battle for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. These witnesses disputed O'Neill's charge that there "was little or no fire" that day; they said that the fighting was fierce. SBVT supporters question whether these witnesses are reliable because they spoke "in the presence of a Communist official", but their account of enemy fire is substantially the same as that previously given by another former Viet Cong to an AP reporter and by the American witnesses, including the only SBVT member who was actually present that day, Larry Clayton Lee. ABC News's The Note opined, "the Swift Boat ad and their primary charges about Kerry's medals are personal, negative, extremely suspect, or false."
Book, other media statements
Jerome Corsi has said that a picture of Kerry's 1993 visit to Vietnam hangs in the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City as a gesture of "honor" by the Communists "for his contribution to their victory over [the] United States", and John O'Neill has stated that Kerry "is in the North Vietnamese war museum as a hero... . one of the heroes who caused them to win the war in Vietnam". The statement is also repeated in "Unfit for Command" (pp 167–174). However, Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun stated in this regard:
While the museum clearly honors opponents of the war from America and other countries, it is not clear that the photo of Mr. Kerry is part of that tribute. The picture of the senator hangs among a set of photos devoted to the restoration of diplomatic relations between America and Vietnam in the 1990s. The picture apparently was taken as Kerry took part in a delegation President Bill Clinton sent to Hanoi in 1993. Other photos nearby show visits during that period by former American officials who played key roles in the Vietnam War, including a Navy admiral who has since died, Elmo Zumwalt, and a defense secretary, Robert McNamara. A secretary of state during Clinton's term, Warren Christopher, is also shown meeting Vietnamese officials— Josh Gerstein
In this connection, the web page Corsi and another anti-Kerry veteran originally published on the Kerry museum photo contained the picture of Robert McNamara's 1995 meeting with General Giap, who was misidentified as "Mao Tse-Tung". (Photo #10).
In addition, John O'Neill said that in 1971 John Kerry "wanted to abandon ship and leave the POWs [in Vietnam]" and that "[o]n the Dick Cavett show and elsewhere, John Kerry‘s position was that we should accept the Madame Binh seven-point proposal, which called for unilateral withdrawal, setting a date after which at some future time, we'd negotiate the return of the POWs. So we would set a date. We would withdraw and then we would begin to discuss how to bring them home". However, in the Cavett debate, Kerry actually said:
Now, if we were to set a date for withdrawal from Southeast Asia, we can – the Vietnamese, first of all, have said it will be settled prior to the arrival of that date, but we can set a time limit on that. If the prisoners of war aren't back prior to the arrival of that date, then I think we would have – for the first time in all of our history in Vietnam we would have a legitimate reason for taking some kind of reaction to it.— John Kerry
Connections with Republicans
SBVT characterized itself as a non-partisan group both in the legal sense and in spirit, yet several prominent individuals who assisted SBVT also have had close ties to the Republican Party. According to information released by the IRS on February 22, 2005, more than half of the group's reported contributions came from just three sources, all prominent Texas Republican donors: Houston builder Bob J. Perry, a longtime supporter of George W. Bush, donated $4.45 million, Harold Simmons' Contrans donated $3 million, and T. Boone Pickens, Jr. donated $2 million. Other major contributors included Bush fundraiser Carl Lindner ($300,000), Robert Lindner ($260,000), GOP contributor Aubrey McClendon ($250,000), George Matthews Jr. ($250,000), and Crow Holdings ($100,000).
The initial communications consultant for SBVT was Merrie Spaeth, a Reagan administration press officer and a volunteer consultant to Ken Starr in the Clinton impeachment; she was also a spokesperson for "Republicans for Clean Air," a 527 group opposing John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign and funded by Bush supporters who also helped fund SBVT. John E. O'Neill — the primary author of Unfit for Command and a key player in the formation of SBVT — donated over $14,000 to Republican candidates. He co-operated with the Nixon White House in opposing Kerry in 1971, and seconded Nixon's nomination at the 1972 Republican national convention.
Retired Admiral William Schachte, a principal source for the SBVT allegations about Kerry's first Purple Heart, has donated to both of Bush's presidential campaigns. Schachte was also a lobbyist for FastShip, a firm that recently announced it was receiving $40 million in federal funding for one of its projects. In addition, Schachte's lobbying firm associate, David Norcross, was chairman of the 2004 Republican convention. Chris LaCivita, Political Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2002, works as a private contractor providing media advice for SBVT.
Republican activist Sam Fox's donation of $50,000 to SBVT during the 2004 campaign caused a controversy when Bush nominated him to the position of ambassador to Belgium. Because the Democratic members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee indicated that they would not support his nomination, Bush withdrew the nomination; he appointed Fox to the position on April 4, 2007, while Congress was in recess.
Connections with the Bush campaign
The Bush campaign became part of the general SBVT controversy when McCain condemned the first SBVT ad, and said, "I hope that the president will also condemn it." The Bush campaign did not condemn SBVT or the SBVT ads. The campaign did not endorse the group either, stating "We have not and we will not question Senator Kerry's service in Vietnam." Kerry was dismissive of this statement, saying, "Of course, the President keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that." Kerry also alleged that SBVT was "a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won’t denounce what they’re up to tells you everything you need to know—he wants them to do his dirty work". When pressed on the issue, President Bush called for an end to all 527 group political advertisements, and challenged Kerry to do the same.
Critics and the Kerry campaign pointed to several specific connections between SBVT and the Bush campaign. The Kerry campaign asserted that Bush campaign headquarters in Florida distributed fliers promoting SBVT events, a charge the Bush campaign denied. Kenneth Cordier, former vice-chair of Veterans for Bush/Cheney (in 2000) and volunteer member of the Bush campaign veterans steering committee, appeared in the second SBVT advertisement. The Bush campaign asked him to resign and stated that it had been unaware of his SBVT involvement.
On August 25, 2004, Benjamin Ginsberg, the top election lawyer to the Bush campaign on campaign finance law, also resigned after it was learned that SBVT was one of his clients. Ginsberg stated that he was withdrawing to avoid being a distraction to the campaign. He declared that he had acted "in a manner that is fully appropriate and legal," arguing that it was not uncommon or illegal for lawyers to represent campaigns or political parties while also representing 527 groups. He also maintained that he did not disclose to the Bush campaign that he was simultaneously representing the SBVT group. After leaving the Bush campaign, Ginsberg retained his status as counsel to SBVT.
In January 2005, Governor Jeb Bush, the President's brother and Florida chairman for his 2004 campaign, sent a letter to SBVT member and former POW Bud Day, thanking him for his "personal support of my brother in his re-election." In addition, Governor Bush said of the SBVT:
Federal Election Commission filings
FEC Cases #5511 and #5525
On August 10, 2004, three campaign finance watchdog groups — Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center, and the Center for Responsive Politics — jointly filed an independent complaint with the Federal Election Commission (Case #5511). The complaint alleged that SBVT's sources of funding were in violation of federal election law in that "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) is registered with the IRS as a section 527 group but is not registered with the Commission as a political committee. However, SBVT is, in fact, a federal political committee."
On August 20, 2004, the Kerry campaign filed a complaint with the FEC (Case #5525) alleging that SBVT and 20 additional named respondents had conducted campaign activity that "has been coordinated with the Bush campaign and the Republican Party from the outset." Under federal election law, SBVT, as a nonpartisan 527 group, was barred from coordinating with any political campaign. The complaint, citing the "ties" noted above, claimed a "web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures, and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove".
The Bush campaign dismissed charges of ties and asserted there was no co-ordination between SBVT and the campaign. Editorial opinion on the evidence for co-ordination varied. ABC News' The Note stated, "There is no evidence that the Bush campaign is orchestrating the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." In contrast, the New York Times opined that the SBVT attacks were "orchestrated by negative-campaign specialists deep in the heart of the Texas Republican machine."
FEC Findings – Cases #5511 and #5525
On December 13, 2006, in a consolidated finding, the FEC ruled against the Kerry campaign allegations (Case #5525) finding that...
Following an investigation, the Commission concluded that Swiftvets did not unlawfully coordinate its activities with, or make excessive in-kind contributions to, any federal candidate or political party committee.
The FEC did, however, find for the joint complainants (Case #5511) in that the SBVT failed to register and file disclosure reports as a federal political committee, and accepted contributions in violation of federal limits and source prohibitions. SBVT was assessed a fine of $299,500.
The conciliation agreement between the FEC and the SBVT also stated, in part:
Indeed, the Commission has never alleged that the SwiftVets acted in knowing defiance of the law, or with the conscious recognition that their actions were prohibited by law, made no findings or conclusions that there were any knowing and willful violations of the law in connection with this matter, and, thus, does not challenge SwiftVets' assertion of its good faith reliance on its understanding of the law.
Solely for the purpose of settling this matter expeditiously and avoiding litigation, without admission with respect to any other proceeding, and with no finding of probable cause by the Commission, SwiftVets agrees not to contest the Commission's conclusions ....
In addition, as part of the conciliation agreement, SBVT stated that upon completing its obligations under the agreement, it "intends to cease operations as an IRC Section 527 organization and to donate the remainder of its funds to a charity supporting the families of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen killed or wounded in the War in Iraq."
Disclosure of documents
During the campaign, SBVT criticized Kerry for not signing a Standard Form 180 authorizing general public access to his Navy personnel records. Kerry responded that the documents were posted on his website. In May 2005, Kerry confirmed his signing of the SF-180 form permitting release of his service records and medical records to reporters from the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the Associated Press; he refused a request by the New York Sun for access to the records. The Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times reported that the records largely duplicated what Kerry had released during the campaign.
SBVT members also criticized Kerry for not releasing his own private journals and letters. However, SBVT members themselves refused to release documents. For example, a journal by another of the Swift boat commanders and the relevant Navy records of some of the SBVT members involved in specific allegations have not been released.
The White House refused to release records detailing any Bush administration contacts with prominent individuals associated with SBVT. The denied Freedom of Information Act request was filed on August 24 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The claims of the group were discredited, and most of the Vietnam veterans who served alongside Kerry or under his command disputed the criticisms and supported Kerry's version of events and his presidential aspirations.
Since the 2004 election, the term "Swift Boating" (or "swiftboating") has become a common expression for a campaign attacking opponents by questioning their credibility and patriotism in a dishonest manner. The term is most often used with the pejorative meaning of a smear campaign.
- "Swiftboat Vets and POWs for Truth". Swift Vets and POWs for Truth. 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- "Swift Veterans Letter to John Kerry". Swift Vets and POWs for Truth. 2004-05-04. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
- "Swift Vets and POWs for Truth home page". SwiftVets.com. 2004. Archived from the original on August 26, 2004. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- "Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry's War Record". FactCheck.org. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
- Lehigh, Scot (2004-08-20). "Kerry comrades have credibility on their side". Boston Globe.
- Dobbs, Michael (2004-08-22). "Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete". Washington Post. pp. A01. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- VandeHei, Jim (2004-07-29). "Kerry returns home with 'band of brothers'". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- Coile, Zachary (August 6, 2004). "Vets group attacks Kerry; McCain defends Democrat". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Zernke, Kate (May 28, 2006). "Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
- Akers, Mary Ann (June 20, 2008). "John Kerry's Vietnam Crew Mates Still Fighting Swift Boating". The Washington Post.
- Vlahos, Kelley Beaucar (2005-02-16). "Conservatives Laud Swift Boat Veterans". Fox News. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
- Allen, Michael Joe (2009). Until the last man comes home: POWs, MIAs, and the unending Vietnam War. Univ of North Carolina Press. pp. 294–299. ISBN 0-8078-3261-8.
- Zernike, Kate (2008-06-30). "Veterans Long to Reclaim the Name 'Swift Boat'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
- Donaldson, Gary (2009). The Making of Modern America: The Nation from 1945 to the Present. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 333. ISBN 0-7425-4820-1.
- Conason, Joe (May 4, 2004). "Smear Boat Veterans for Bush". Salon.com.
- Boehlert, Eric (2006). Lapdogs: How the Press Lay Down for the Bush White House. Simon & Schuster. p. 198. ISBN 0-7432-9916-7.
- Cogan, Brian; Kelso, Tony (2009). Encyclopedia of Politics, the Media, and Popular Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 187. ISBN 0-313-34379-9.
- Casey, Leo (Spring 2009). "No redemption song: The Case of Bill Ayers". Dissent. University of Pennsylvania Press. 56 (2): 107–111. doi:10.1353/dss.0.0041. ISSN 0012-3846.
In recent elections, the patriotism and good names of Democratic war hero candidates, from John Kerry to Max Cleland, had been impugned so successfully that a neologism for such smears—to 'swift boat'—was coined out of the assault on Kerry.
- "University of Pennsylvania National Annenberg Election Survey". PollingReport.com. conducted August 9–16, 2004. Retrieved 2007-03-30. Check date values in:
- Cogan, Brian; Kelso, Tony (2009). Encyclopedia of Politics, the Media, and Popular Culture. ABC-CLIO. pp. 155, 187, 335. ISBN 0-313-34379-9.
- Thomas, Evan (14 Nov 2004). "THE VETS ATTACK". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 6 Feb 2013.
- "Swift Boat Sailors' Association".
- "Swift Vets and POWs for Truth".
- "Coastal Squadron One Directory".
- "'Any Questions?' cover letter for TV station managers". 2004-08-08. Archived from the original on September 15, 2005.
- "Swift Veteran Quotes". SBVT website. 2004-10-09. Archived from the original on October 3, 2004.
- "Swift Veterans Letter to John Kerry". SBVT website. 2004-06-29. Archived from the original on September 15, 2005.
- Glionna, John M. (2004-04-21). "Kerry Camp Posts His Military Records". LA Times. pp. A17. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- "Kerry Doctor Issues Summary of Military Medical Records". U.S. Newswire. 2004-04-23. Archived from the original on 2005-11-07.
- "Military Records". Official Kerry website. 2004-12-09. Archived from the original on 2004-12-09.
- Johnson, Glen; Kranish, Michael (2004-05-04). "$25m ad campaign showcases Kerry's career". Boston Globe.
- Brinkley, Douglas (2004-03-09). "The Tenth Brother". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- "McCain assails attacks on Kerry wartime record". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2004-08-06.
- Coile, Zachary (2004-08-06). "Vets group attacks Kerry; McCain defends Democrat". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Kerry crewmates defend his record". Kinston Free Press. 2004-08-29.[dead link]
- "But other veterans of the "brown water navy" who witnessed the fighting, along with Navy documents from that time, have backed Kerry's version of events." Viet Cong Vets Puzzled Over Attacks on Kerry - latimes September 05, 2004. Margie Mason. Associated Press Writer]
- Dobbs, Michael. Records Counter a Critic of Kerry: Fellow Skipper's Citation Refers To Enemy Fire Washington Post. August 19, 2004; Page A01
- Gerth, Joseph (2004-08-26). "Kentucky veteran involved in ambush backs Kerry account". Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY). Retrieved 2007-04-22.
- Hume, Brit (2004-08-26). "Political Grapevine". Fox News Channel. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
- "Swift Boat Veterans Join Forces With POWs, SBVT website". 2004-09-29. Archived from the original on 2004-10-24.
- "Any Questions (script)". SBVT website. 2004-10-12. Archived from the original on October 2, 2004.
- "Any Questions (video)". SBVT website. 2004-11-08. Archived from the original (WMV) on 2004-11-30.
- "Broken Heroes on a Last Chance Power Drive". August 6, 2004. Archived from the original on April 17, 2005.
- John McCain and "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth"; Huffington Post; Joseph A. Palermo; July 10, 2008
- Amazon.com: Unfit For Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry (9780895260178): John E. O'Neill, Jerome R. Corsi: Books
- "Book Details - Unfit for Command". 2008-08-17.
- Zernike, Kate; Rutenberg, Jim (August 20, 2004). "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad". New York Times. Archived from the original on May 24, 2006.
- "Scarborough Country," MSNBC, 2004-08-10
- "John O'Neill Interview with Wolf Blitzer," CNN, 2004-08-11.
- "Excerpts from Unfit for Command". Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- Corsi, Jerome (2004-07-27). "Communist Vietnamese honor John Kerry, the war protestor, as a hero in their victory over the United States in the Vietnam War –Part II". WinterSoldier.com. Archived from the original on 2005-03-24. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- Corsi, Jerome (2004-05-03). "Coordinating with the enemy: Vietnam Veterans Against the War in Paris and Hanoi". WinterSoldier.com. Archived from the original on 2005-03-05. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- "To Set the Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWS and the New Media Defeated John Kerry," by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, pp. 120–124
- "Sellout (script)". SBVT website. 2004-10-12. Archived from the original on December 5, 2005.
- "Sellout (video)". SBVT website. 2004-11-08. Archived from the original (WMV) on 2004-12-04.
- "John Kerry 1971 Senate Testimony (audio)". Democracy Now!. 2004-08-25. Archived from the original (MP3) on 2004-08-25.
- "Gunner (script)". SBVT website. 2004-10-12. Archived from the original on August 26, 2004.
- "Gunner (video)". SBVT website. 2004-11-08. Archived from the original (WMV) on 2004-11-30.
- Wasikowski, Lawrence J. "Coastal Squadron One Swift Boat Crew Directory". self-published. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Kranish, Michael (2003-06-16). "Heroism, and growing concern about war". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Canon, Scott (2004-08-05). "Kerry's Cambodia account challenged by ex-commander". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- Kaplan, Fred (2004-08-23). "Holiday in Cambodia". Slate.com. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- Kerry, John. "John Kerry Fitness Reports" (PDF). JohnKerry.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-07-16. Retrieved 2007-10-20.
- Rennie, David (2004-08-13). "Kerry's confusion over Cambodia". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Barone, Michael (2004-08-30). "Winter in Cambodia?". U.S. News. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- "Medals (script)". SBVT website. 2004-10-12. Archived from the original on September 16, 2004.
- "Medals (video)". SBVT website. 2004-11-08. Archived from the original (WMV) on 2004-11-30.
- Brian Ross; Chris Vlasto; Madeleine Sauer (April 26, 2004). "Did Kerry Discard Vietnam Medals? Videotape Contradicts John Kerry's Own Statements Over Vietnam Medals". ABC News. Archived from the original on June 10, 2004.
I threw my ribbons. I didn't have my medals. It is very simple.
- Schulman, Mark (2004-08-28). "Kerry Slips Slightly as GOP Heads for NYC". Time. Archived from the original on 2004-08-31. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- "Vets call for resignation of Clackamas prosecutor in Swift Boat ad". KGW. 2004-08-23. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30.
- Zernike, Kate (2006-05-28). "Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss". NY Times. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
- Zernike, Kate; Jim Rutenberg (2004-08-20). "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad". NY Times. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. Retrieved 2007-03-28.
- "Battle Over Kerry's Record Continues". editorial. LA Times. 2004-08-24. pp. B10. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- Dobbs, Michael (2004-08-22). "Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete". Washington Post. pp. A01. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
- Morse, Andrew (October 14, 2004). "What Happened in Kerry's Vietnam Battles?". ABC News. Archived from the original on November 12, 2004.
- Sowell, Thomas (October 20, 2004). "ABC News or ABC spin". Townhall.com. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
- Mason, Margie (2004-09-01). "Former Viet Cong recalls fierce fighting along Mekong Delta waterways where Kerry served". Associated Press.
- Rood, William B. (August 22, 2004). "FEB. 28, 1969: ON THE DONG CUNG RIVER; 'This is what I saw that day'". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, IL: Chicago Tribune Company. p. 2, para. 18. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
There were three swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago...
- Upton, Peter N. (2004-07-25). "Kerry's Leadership Is Battle Tested" (PDF). editorial. Hartford Courant. pp. C01,06. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Tour of Duty, pp. 290–292
- John F. Kerry, The Complete Biography, (Boston Globe), pp. 100–103
- "Wise Counsel". The Note. ABC News. August 25, 2004. Archived from the original on April 17, 2005.
- "Nightline with Ted Koppel". TV broadcast. ABC News. 2004-10-14. Retrieved 2007-04-01. Self-published transcript URL.
- Gerstein, Josh (2004-08-16). "Kerry's Photo Raises Eyebrows In Museum In Ho Chi Minh City". NY Sun.
- "Museum Photo Documented". Tinyvital.com. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
- "Scarborough Country". transcript. MSNBC TV. 2004-10-22. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- "Dick Cavett Show". transcript. ABC TV. 1971-06-20. Retrieved 2007-04-01. Transcript URL is self-published
- "Swift Vets Top Contributors, 2004 Cycle". opensecrets. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Frank, John (2004-10-05). "ELECTION 2004 / 2 Texans dig deep for boat vet ads / Pair from Dallas kick in $3 million for group's coffers". Houston Chronicle. pp. A8. Retrieved 2007-04-01. Registration required.
- "Bob Perry - The Man Behind Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". fact sheet. Texans for Public Justice (self-published). Archived from the original on 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Yost, Pete (2004-08-23). "Bush urges end to TV attack ads by outside groups, whatever their target". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- Williams, Brian (2004-03-16). "Nixon targeted Kerry for anti-war views". NBC Nightly News. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Dobbs, Michael (2004-08-28). "After Decades, Renewed War On Old Conflict". Washington Post. pp. A01. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Milbank, Dana (2004-08-31). "A Swift Shift in Stories". Washington Post. pp. A19. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Appleman, Eric M. (2003). "Republican Committees-Organization and Finances, 2002 Election Cycle". Democracy in Action. Retrieved 2007-04-01. Self-published?
- Rutenberg, Jim; Kate Zernike (2007-08-25). "Bush Campaign's Top Outside Lawyer Resigns". NY Times. Archived from the original on 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2007-04-01. Registration required.
- Conason, Joe (2004-08-28). "Sailing buddies". opinion. Salon. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- "Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth "527" Political Organization Filing Information". pub info retrieval. CampaignMoney.com. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
- "Bush withdraws nomination after Swift Boat criticism". 2007-03-28. Archived from the original on 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2011-05-26.
President Bush on Wednesday withdrew the ambassadorial nomination of businessman Sam Fox after Democrats denounced Fox...
- Hananel, Sam (March 28, 2007). "White House Withdraws Ambassador Nominee". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
More than two years after losing his bid for the White House, Democratic Sen. John Kerry exacted a measure of revenge
- Flaherty, Anne (2007-04-05). "Dems call for review of Bush appointment". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.[dead link]
- Conason, Joe (2004-08-06). "Republicans' Dishonorable Charge". opinion. Salon. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Clift, Eleanor (2004-08-27). "Fighting a Phony War". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- "Bush Advisors Say Campaign Won't Question Kerry's Service". US News & World Report. 2004-08-16. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Kerry Strikes Back Against Vietnam Criticism". Fox News. Associated Press. 2004-08-20. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- Fournier, Ron (2004-08-19). "Kerry accuses Bush of relying on front groups to 'do his dirty work' on Vietnam". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Bush urges Kerry to condemn attack ads". CNN. 2004-08-24. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- "Volunteer links 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' flier to Bush". USA Today. 2004-08-24. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- Milbank, Dana (2004-08-02). "Bush Campaign Drops Swift Boat Ad Figure". Washington Post. pp. A13. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "President George W. Bush-Campaign Organization, Florida". Democracy in Action. Retrieved 2007-04-30.
- Bush, Jeb (2005-01-19). "Dear Colonel Day". letter. thedemocraticdaily.com. Archived from the original (jpg) on August 12, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-30.
- Democracy 21; et al. (2004-08-10). "Complaint against Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT)" (PDF). complaint. FEC. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Campaign watchdog groups file complaint over anti-Kerry ad". USA Today. 2004-08-10. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- Kerry-Edwards 2004 (2004-08-23). "Complaint against SBVT, President George W. Bush, etc" (PDF). complaint. FEC. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Kerry files FEC complaint against swift boat group". CNN. 2004-08-21. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Speaking of the Truth". The Note. ABC News. August 23, 2004. Archived from the original on April 17, 2005.
- "Swift Boats and the Texas Nexus". NY Times. 2004-08-25. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
- Federal Election Commission (2006-12-13). "Conciliation Agreement - MURs 5511 and 5525" (PDF). ruling. FEC. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "FEC collects $630,000 in civil penalties from three 527 organizations" (Press release). Federal Election Commission. 2006-12-13. Archived from the original on 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". self-published. Swift Vets and POWs for Truth. 2004-06-30. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Scarborough, Rowan (2004-10-18). "Records indicate Kerry did his duty". Washington Times. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "The caveat emperor". The Boston Globe. 2005-06-24. Archived from the original on 2005-05-26. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Gerstein, Josh (2005-06-21). "Kerry Grants Three Reporters Broad Access to Navy Records". NY Sun. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Kranish, Michael (2005-06-07). "Kerry allows Navy release of military, medical records". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Braun, Stephen (2005-06-08). "Kerry Makes His Military, Medical File Available". LA Times. pp. A17. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
- "CREW FOIAs White House Contacts With Swift Boat Veterans Group". Citizensforethics.org. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
- "The Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan" Editorial by Frank Rich, August 21, 2005 New York Times
- O'Neill, John and Jerome Corsi, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, Regnery Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0-89526-017-4
- Swett, Scott and Tim Ziegler, To Set The Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, New American Media Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9799841-5-0