Source: MATT DRUDGE // DRUDGE REPORT 2004


   KERRY RESPONDS ON 'GMA'
   Mon Apr 26 2004 09:04:52 ET
   ABC NEWS GOOD MORNING AMERICA'S CHARLIE GIBSON: Now joining us from West Virginia
   is himself senator John Kerry. He's in the town of Glen Easton, West Virginia,
   today. Good to have you with us.
   SEN. JOHN KERRY: i'm glad to be with you. i really am.
   GIBSON: 1984, senator, to the present. you have said a number of times, as brian
   pointed out as recently as friday with the ""los angeles times,"" have you said a
   number of times that you did not throw away the vietnam medals themselves. but now
   this interview from 1971 shows up the in which you say that was the medals
   themselves that were thrown away.
   KERRY: no, i don't.
   GIBSON: can you explain?
   KERRY: absolutely. that's absolutely incorrect. charlie, i stood up in front of
   the nation. there were dozens of cameras there, television cameras, there were --
   i don't know. 20, 30 still photographers. thousands of people and i stood up in
   front of the country, reached into my shirt, visibly for the nation to see, and
   took the ribbons off my chest, said a few words and threw them over the fence. the
   file footage, the reporter there from the ""boston globe,"" everybody got it
   correctly. and i never asserted otherwise. what i said was and back then, you
   know, ribbons, medals were absolutely interchangeable . senator simmington asking
   me questions in the committee hearing, look ad at the ribbons and said what are
   those medals? the u.s. navy pam let calls the medals, we referred to them it is a
   symbols, representing medals, ribbons, countless veterans through the ribbon --
   threw the ribbons back. everybody did. veterans threw back dog tags. they threw
   back photographs, they th rew back their 14's. there are photographs of a pile of
   all of those things collected on the steps of the capitol. so the fact is that i
   have -- i have been accurate precisely about what took place. and i am the one who
   later made clear exactly what happened. i mean, this is a controversy that the
   republicans are pushing , the republicans have spent $60 million in the last few
   weeks trying to attack me. and this comes from a president and a republican party
   that can't even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the national guard.
   i'm not going to stand for it.
   GIBSON: senator, i was there 33 years ago and i saw you throw medals over the
   fence and we didn't find out until later -
   KERRY: no, you didn't see me throw th. charlie, charlie, you are wrong. that's not
   what happened. i threw my ribbons across. all you have to do -
   GIBSON: someone else's medals, correct in?
   KERRY: after -- excuse me. excuse me, charlie. after the ceremony was over, i had
   a bronze star and a purple heart given to me, one purple heart by a veteran in the
   v.a. in new york and the bronze star by an older veteran of world war ii in
   massachusetts. i threw them over because they asked me to. i never --
   GIBSON: let me come back to the thing just said which is the military --
   KERRY: this is a phony -- charlie, this is a phony controversy.
   GIBSON: the military makes no distinction between ribbons and medals but you are
   the one who made the distinction. in 1984 --
   KERRY: no . we made no distinction back then, charlie. we made no distinction.
   GIBSON: senator, i don't want -- i just want to ask the question. in 1984 when you
   were running for the senate, that was the first time that you called someone in
   from labor because they were upset that you had thrown ribbons away.
   KERRY: no.
   GIBSON: you called them and you made the distinction and said i didn't throw my
   medals away. i just threw the ribbons away. you made the distinction.
   KERRY: i was asked specifically in greater detail about what took place. i
   answered the question truthfully. which is consistent with what happened in 1971.
   i mean, charlie, go back and get the file footage. there are were millions of
   people watching. i took my ribbons off my chest just as other veterans did. this
   is a phony controversy. this is being pushed yesterday by karen hughes of the
   white house on fox. it shows up at a several different stations at the same time.
   the republicans are running $10 million this week to attack my credentials on
   defense. this comes from a president who can't even show or prove that he showed
   up for duty in the national guard.
   GIBSON: senator --
   KERRY: i'm not going to stand for it. i'm in the going to stand for it.
   GIBSON: i-understand you are feeling politics is behind this. but i ask you, is it
   not --
   KERRY: i know politics is behind this.
   GIBSON: when trying to appeal to the anti-war people in 1971, you said as in that
   interview, it was the medals and then when the people who supported the war were
   giving you political problems, you then said i didn't throw the medals away 13
   years later.
   KERRY: that's the most -- with all due respect, that's the most ridiculous thing i
   have ever heard. because i stood up in front of the country, in front of cameras,
   a reporter of the ""boston globe"" got it correct . he wrote about the medals but
   knew they were my ribbons. everybody understood what we were doing. i even said in
   that interview we threw away the symbols of what our country gave us for what we
   had gone through. and if i was -- you know, back then, trying to appeal to
   somebody, i stood up against richard nixon, stood up against the withar, took a
   position, and it wasn't popular, and it was polarizing. i didn't have to do it. if
   i was trying to hide something, i would have never stood there in floment of
   everybody and thrown them over the fence. i threw my ribbons over. i threw the
   medals of two veterans who asked me to throw them over, after the ceremony,
   completely separate, and i'm the one -- if hi something to hide, i'm the one who
   made it known exactly what happened. to me, it is one in the same. and i'm proud
   of it.
   GIBSON: let me ask you, too, about two other things that you have said. subsequent
   to that. 1985, you said to ""the washington post,"" it is such a personal thing i
   did no want to throw my medals away. then 1996, you said to the ""boston globe,""
   i didn't bring my own medals to throw because i didn't have time to go home and
   get them. which one was it?
   KERRY: i expressed there was great sense of wrench being the whole thing. many of
   us -- we had a long argument the night before, charlie. it is a matter of record.
   as to how we were going to do it. and the vote was taken. i was not in favor of
   throwing them over the fence. i thought we ought to lay them on a table and put
   them in front of people in a way that, you know, wouldn't be as challenging to
   many americans. other veterans felt otherwise. they took a vote. the vote was
   made, they voted to throw. i threw my ribbons. i didn't have my medals. it is very
   simple . what the republicans are trying to do is make this into an issue because
   they have no record to run on and they can't go out and talk about jobs or health
   care or environment. they are going to attack 35 years ago. last week in an
   unprecedented attack, they sent congressmen to the floor of the senate of the
   house to attack me on the anniversary of my speech. george bush has yet to explain
   to america whether or no t to tell the truth about whether he showed up for duty.
   i'm not going to get attack order something i did that's a matter of record that
   the press saw, that i did in front of the entire nation and everyone then
   understood there was no distinction. we threw away the symbols of the war. i'm
   proud i stood up and fought stood up and fought against it. proud i took on
   richard nixon. and i think to this day, there's no distinction between the two.
   GIBSON: all right. senator, i appreciate your being with us this morning. i'm glad
   to have you here. thank you. all the best. diane?