Kerry slams 'swift boat' attack on Obama

Democratic Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) said Friday that attacks by former U.S. intelligence and special operations officers on President Obama in a new ad hold a striking resemblance to the "Swift Boat" attacks seen in his own presidential bid. 

Kerry, the Democrats presidential nominee in 2004, issued a statement to Obama supporters on Friday slamming accusations made by the supposedly bipartisan Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund. 

The group, which is reportedly tied to Republican and Tea Party groups, issued a video charging the Obama administration with leaking details of sensitive national security operations and of using the mission targeting former al Qaeda leader bin Laden for political gain.

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“We have become a political weapon — we are not,” former Navy SEAL and OPSEC fund member Benjamin Smith says in the video. “Our job is to be silent professionals — we do not seek recognition; we do not seek popularity … to make things public is wrong." 

But these partisan attacks, according to Kerry, are no different than those he faced in 2004 by a group of Vietnam veterans who openly questioned the Democratic senator’s war record during his time in the Navy.

The so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, named after the patrol boats used to navigate the river lands in Vietnam, severely damaged Kerry's national security credentials during the campaign. 

And according to Kerry, the OPSEC fund is doing the same thing to the Obama campaign. 

"Seeing the new outrageous attacks made against President Obama from a shadowy Republican-allied veterans group called OPSEC . . .  remind me all too well of the notorious “Swift Boat” attacks I faced in the 2004 campaign," Kerry said in the statement. 

"I honor and appreciate the service of my fellow veterans, but a false attack is a false attack—no matter who’s making it," he added. 

In the statement, Kerry said the fund's baseless attacks are similar to those made by the so-called "birther" movement, whose followers maintain President Obama was not born in the United States. 

"It shouldn’t be a surprise that [Republicans] are resorting to the same national security smear tactics I faced in 2004. We have to take it seriously," he said. 

Regarding the administration's record on national security, Kerry noted Obama "has a foreign policy record that is among the strongest in recent memory." 

Kerry also took a shot at presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's recent gaffes on the international stage, citing them as examples of the candidate's shortfalls in the national security arena. 

"Republicans have a candidate with absolutely no foreign policy experience, who thinks Russia is our 'number one geopolitical foe' and who is advised by people who think . . . the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia are countries that still exist," Kerry said. 

"He can’t even manage to visit London without causing an international incident," he added, referring to Romney's criticisms of the city’s security planning for the recent Olympic games, which he was forced to walk back after his remarks were rejected by British Prime Minister David Cameron. 

Democrats have repeatedly assaulted Romney's lack of experience in foreign policy and national security, arguing the candidate has yet to put forth any solutions or suggestions of his own regarding those issues. 

That lack of experience shows Romney is "not ready for the very delicate diplomatic dance" needed to forge and maintain critical ties to a number of foreign allies, Mark Jacobson, a senior fellow at the Truman Project said in July. 

Republicans though say Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would be an improvement on the administration’s current policies. 

“I think it is an advantage that they are not part of the current mess,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” last week.