Friday, August 06, 2004

Key figure in anti-Kerry campaign retracts statements

This just in: One of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" admits he lied:

....yesterday, a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry's former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a ''terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star -- one of the main allegations in the book [a smear job cranked out by Regnery Publishing, a right-wing outfit notorious for books alleging that Bill and Hillary Clinton were murderers and drug dealers. That gives you an idea of Regnery's specialty. If the company's victims weren't public figures, they could sue for libel.--lw]

Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star.

''I still don't think he shot the guy in the back," Elliott said. ''It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here."

Elliott said he was no under personal or political pressure to sign the statement, but he did feel ''time pressure" from those involved in the book. ''That's no excuse," Elliott said. ''I knew it was wrong . . . In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back. That was a mistake."

The affidavit also contradicted earlier statements by Elliott, who came to Boston during Kerry's 1996 Senate campaign to defend Kerry on similar charges, saying that Kerry acted properly and deserved the Silver Star.

Update: Kevin Drum raises some good questions. Meanwhile, I keep thinking about Al Franken's oh-so-pertinent line: Lies and the lying liars who tell them. In this case, it appears Elliott had an attack of conscience. Too bad it didn't kick in earlier.


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