The group “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” challenged Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam War record during the 2004 presidential campaign. Almost all of those who served closest to Kerry defended his heroism and the multiple medals he received, but others who patrolled the Mekong Delta in the Navy patrol boats said he exaggerated his record. Earlier this month, Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens said he would pay $1 million to anyone who could disprove any of the claims made by the Kerry critics. In an exchange of letters Friday, Kerry took up the challenge and Pickens responded in kind. – Jim Rainey
From Sen. John Kerry to T.Boone Pickens 8117 Preston Rd Dallas TX 75225
It has come to my attention through the accounts of individuals who were in attendance at the American Spectator’s Robert L. Bartley Dinner & 40th Anniversary Gala as well as through the public accounts, that you personally “staked one million dollars” that “no one” could “prove anything the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said in 2004 was false” (RedState.Com) and offered “a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry.” (AmericanThinker.com)
I welcome the opportunity to prove that you are a man of your word and that the so-called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” lied. While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt.
I would request that your check be made payable to the Paralyzed Veterans of America which is doing incredible work every day to meet the needs of veterans returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. My hope is that by sending this money to such a dedicated organization - founded for veterans, by veterans - some good can come out of the ugly smears and lies of the orchestrated campaign you bankrolled in 2004 in an attempt to discredit my military record and the record of the men who served alongside me on the Swift Boats of the Mekong Delta.
I would be more than happy to travel to Dallas to meet with you in a mutually agreed upon public forum, or would invite you to join me in Massachusetts for a public dialogue and then together we could visit the Paralyzed Veterans of America in Norwood and see firsthand how we can put your money to good work for our veterans.
I look forward to setting up a visit at the earliest possible, mutually convenient time. I trust that you are a man of your word, having made a very public challenge at a major Washington dinner, and look forward to taking you up on this challenge.
John F. Kerry United States Senator
From T. Boone Pickens to
U.S. Senator John Kerry 304 Russell Building Third Floor Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator Kerry:
So glad to hear from you regarding the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth political ad campaign, and an offer I made public at an American Spectator dinner in Washington, D.C. last week. I am intrigued by your letter, and am certainly open to your challenge.
My concern at the Spectator Dinner was, and continues to be, that you and other political figures were and are maligning the Swift Boat Veterans, and I want to prevent this important part of American history from being unfairly portrayed.
In order to disprove the accuracy of the Swift Boat ads, I will ultimately need you to provide the following:
- The journal you maintained during your service in Vietnam. 2) Your military record, specifically your service records for the years 1971-1978, and copies of all movies and tapes made during your service.
When you have done so, if you can then prove anything in the ads was materially untrue, I will gladly award $1 million. As you know, I have been a long and proud supporter of the American military and veterans’ causes. I now challenge you to make this commitment: If you cannot prove anything in the Swift Boat ads to be untrue, that you will make a $1 million gift to the charity I am choosing – the Medal of Honor Foundation.
T. Boone Pickens
Dear Mr. Pickens, Thank you for your response to my acceptance of your challenge. Iï¿½??m grateful that you are prepared to make good on your word and fulfill the offer you made publicly at the American Spectator Dinner in Washington, D.C. on November 6th. I must remind you, however, that this was and is your ï¿½??challenge,ï¿½?? not mine. You are, after all, the one who said explicitly at the dinner ï¿½?? in a way that was calculated to challenge any naysayer ï¿½?? that you would give one million dollars ï¿½??to anyone who could show that anything the SBVT said was false.ï¿½?? (RedState.Com) These were your words ï¿½?? and nowhere did you ever suggest, as you are now trying to, that your challenge referred specifically and exclusively to any advertising by the SBVT. As you know, the lies of the SBVT were not confined just to their ads; they were a constant barrage of television, radio, Internet, speeches, and forums in which ï¿½?? significantly bankrolled by you ï¿½?? they launched and repeated lie after lie. Your challenge expressly stood behind all of their allegations. It is disturbing that in reaffirming the challenge you issued, your parsing and backtracking seems eerily reminiscent of the entire approach of the SBVT ï¿½?? say one thing, put out an allegation, then duck and weave, hedge and bob when your words catch up with you. I want to believe that this was not your intent because I am told that you are a man of your word, not ï¿½??all hat and no cattle.ï¿½?? Honor and duty, which you purport to defend, demand that you not selectively back away from your original challenge. Your offer clearly said ï¿½?? boldly, unequivocally ï¿½?? to an audience of your friends and supporters ï¿½?? that you would give ï¿½??a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry.ï¿½?? (AmericanThinker.com) In my letter, that is the offer which I accepted. I was interested to read in your response that you donï¿½??t want to see the SBVT ï¿½??maligned,ï¿½?? and that you aim ï¿½??to prevent this important part of American history from being unfairly portrayed.ï¿½?? I accepted your offer precisely because I want to prevent the honorable records of the courageous men who served with me from being maligned by the repeated lies of this organization. I want to see the word ï¿½??Swiftboatï¿½?? restored to its original meaning ï¿½?? synonymous with honorable service to country, not political lies aimed to distort and divide. I would hope that your interests should also be in protecting the record of all those who served our country. As Iï¿½??ve said to you before, I am prepared to prove the lie and marshal all the evidence, the question is whether you are prepared to fulfill your obligation ï¿½?? no variations, no back pedaling, no retreat, no new bets, no changing the subject. The only thing remaining now is to set the date for our meeting in an appropriate forum, after which I look forward to you keeping your word and writing a check for one million dollars payable to the Paralyzed Veterans of America so that we can put your money to good work for veterans who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Sincerely, John F. Kerry United States Senator