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Senator Kerry displayed the middle digit to a fellow Vietnam veteran who disagreed with his post-service behavior.

In front of schoolchildren.

He also accused him (without basis, as far as I know) of being "a felon."

[Update on Wednesday afternoon]

I'm going to amend this post to "Newsmax claims that Senator Kerry displayed..." since I can't find any other sources for the story. I still don't find it out of character, though.

[Wednesday evening followup]

Here's some more on the story, but unfortunately, it's still Newsmax.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 01, 2004 09:36 PM
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This same-veteran, Ted Sampley, is the one that John McCain has described as : "one of the most despicable people I have ever had the misfortune to encounter"

In 1993 Sampley was convicted of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to 180 days' probation for attacking one of McCain's legislative aides. I'm not sure if that is a felony, but its a lot more accurate than Sampley saying Kerry has no right to visit the Wall.

Sampley has a vendetta against both Senators over that whole missing P.O.W.s issue. Even Senators have the right to bear the middle finger when needed.

Or should Kerry have been more nuanced?

Posted by Duncan Young at June 1, 2004 10:04 PM

He should have been more presidential, Duncan. That doesn't necessarily require "nuance."

Regardless of all the calumny, Bush has "changed the tone" as much as it's possible for one man to do so (more than I think he should have, in fact). I have a real problem with (among other things) Senator Kerry's temperament.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 1, 2004 10:15 PM

Mysterious word, that "presidential" - nearly as meaningful as "changing the tone".

OT - Is it just me, or have the time stamps dissappered from your front page?

Posted by Duncan Young at June 1, 2004 10:29 PM

Um, did this happen or didn't it? The loyal crew at Kerry's web forum are denying it happened at all.

Posted by Brian at June 1, 2004 11:01 PM

I suppose that this is an example of Prince John's nuanced diplomacy. I wonder if he were President how he would react if--say--Chirac or Putin irritated him?

Posted by Mark R, Whittington at June 2, 2004 05:07 AM

In 1993 Sampley was convicted of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to 180 days' probation for attacking one of McCain's legislative aides. I'm not sure if that is a felony...

Duncan, please don't take this the wrong way, but Lord have mercy, man, did you read that as you were writing it!!??


Misdemeanors are, by definition, not felonies.

Kerry's a lawyer, he ought to know that difference better than I, a mere layman.

Posted by McGehee at June 2, 2004 05:39 AM

Duncan, let's just say that, whatever policy disagreements I may have with the current president, it's been nice to have a grownup in the White House for the past three-plus years. No cursing Secret Service agents, no flipping of birds.

As for whether or not you're the only one not seeing date stamps, I can't say, but I'm seeing them.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 2, 2004 07:23 AM

"F**k Saddam, we're taking him out!" March 02
"Bring them on!" July 03
"Make heads roll!" April 04

Trophy's like Saddam's gun and Omar's brick...

Sounds like a A-one temperment to me....

I also recall some major league comments during 2000.

Re: timestamps - it was just me.

Posted by Duncan Young at June 2, 2004 08:03 AM

Well, I see our favorite space cadet, Duncan the Martian, has poked his head out of his posterior long enough to DEFEND a "presidential candidate" displaying an obscene gesture in front of a bunch of schoolchildren at a national monument.

You just don't get it. Gee, I wonder what Kerry will do when he encounters a REAL bad guy? Give him two fingers? Oooh, I'd be scared.

Go crawl back under your rock.

Posted by Dave G at June 2, 2004 08:12 AM

It should also be pointed out that no-other news source is running this story as of now, and no independent witnesses appear in the NewsMax story.

Everything might be Sampley's heresay (and NewsMax is not exactly unbiased).

Posted by Duncan Young at June 2, 2004 08:15 AM

That's something that I find irritating about Newsmax, and it's why I rarely link to them--they never source their stories. However, in this case, it certainly didn't seem out of character (and I don't think it comparable to a "Bring it on" or "dead or alive" in reference to our actual enemy).

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 2, 2004 08:17 AM

Correction: Washington Times gossip column now has it according to Wonkette - but it's behind registration.

Posted by Duncan Young at June 2, 2004 08:51 AM

Well, it doesn't say how old the "Schoolkids" are, if they were high-school age, it'd probably earn Kerry points. :)

When I see an actual, sourced story with something a bit more than hearsay, I will react with slightly more outrage than to this quote from the 2000 election:

"He's a major league a**hole." - G. "W is for Waffles" Bush

Y'know what makes me doubt the story at a gut level? This:

"[Kerry]...then yelled out to everyone, "Sampley is a felon!"

I have trouble even en-visualizing Kerry yelling. I would approve if he could start, anything to liven up his delivery. :)

Posted by W. Ian Blanton at June 2, 2004 09:05 AM

I don't think that the Clymer comment was meant for public consumption...

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 2, 2004 09:20 AM

Not to mention, Clymer IS an asshole so the comment was factual to boot!

Posted by Mike Puckett at June 2, 2004 10:11 AM

Come on guys! Stuff like this belongs here:

= = =

"Spy vs. Spy" has been a Mad magazine staple for over forty years. Created by the late Cuban expatriate Antonio Prohias in 1960, the pointy-nosed little agents -- one in black and the other in white and each bent on ridding the world of the other through some ingenious though convoluted scheme -- have gone beyond the pop culture scene to become part of the American lexicon. (Indeed, "Spy vs. Spy" is used as a slang reference to any deviously subversive individual or group.)

Posted by Bill White at June 2, 2004 12:05 PM

What are the odds that John Kerry was at the Vietnam Memorial with (or near) a bunch of schoolkids, and this incident occurred with absolutely nobody in the press noticing it? I'm not a supporter of Kerry's, but from everything I've read Sampley is indeed certifiable, and he is apparently the only eyewitness. Not only did the press (who was in attendance) apparently miss the whole thing, but consider: Not a single report from a parent of a child in attendance; not a single report from a teacher or whoever else was with the kids; not a single report from anybody other visitors who were there.

Come on. If this had actually happened, there would be some witness besides (and more credible than) Mr. Sampley to tell the tale.

Also, I took the trouble to register with the Washinton Times site that Wonkette linked to, and guess what? It only quotes from the same NewsMax story.

It's very difficult to believe that this isn't a complete fabrication.

Posted by Christopher Luebcke at June 2, 2004 02:36 PM

Coming up soon:
An unoffended school-child pens a indulgent 10,000 word article for New York Magazine about how how she wasn't terrified by (or even noticed) John Kerry's Mighty Middle Finger.

Chris Lehane will deny EVERYTHING.

Posted by Duncan Young at June 2, 2004 03:05 PM

You know, if nothing else, Chris Lehane is sufficient reason, entirely unto himself, for me to never consider voting for Kerry. I doubt if I'm a significant enough demographic for this to get him fired, though.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 2, 2004 03:19 PM

Uh, Rand - Kerry fired Lehane's ugly arse last fall. He went straight to work for Clark - and Lehane is one of the leading candidate's for starting for the phony KerrySex scandel that blew up in the primaries.

Believe me - there is no love between the DemoOrc and Treebeard.

So I guess we are down to ~603 reasons why you can't vote for JFK!

Posted by Duncan Young at June 2, 2004 03:36 PM

Thanks, Duncan--I'd forgotten that bit.

Of course, I said that firing the little weasel would be a necessary condition, not a sufficient one...

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 2, 2004 03:38 PM

Given all of Kerry's bad qualities, this story has the ring of believability, but given how many press would be covering every split second of his visit to the Wall, it is MIGHTY suspicious that NewsMax is the only source (I suspect the Times gossip column is just echoing the NewsMax story). I'm afraid I'll have to give John 'F-ing' Kerry the benefit of the doubt on this one.

However, it *is* a shame that no Vietnam vet called him on his lies while he was at the Wall. There is one incontrovertible fact about Kerry that seems to escape the press -- he either committed the crime of lying to Congress, or he committed war crimes. By the man's own words there are NO alternatives. This alone makes him not only unqualified to be President (or Senator), he should probably have served time.

- Eric.

Posted by Eric Strobel at June 2, 2004 07:06 PM

Newsmax is notoriously biased and often engages in conspiracy-mongering. You should not reference anything they produce, even if it "sounds credible." It lowers your own credibility and makes you look easily influenced.

Posted by at June 3, 2004 12:47 PM

It lowers your own credibility and makes you look easily influenced

As does "no-handle" posting...

Posted by Duncan Young at June 3, 2004 04:56 PM

And here is the unsourced attack story on the other guy's temperament.

The President's abrupt dismissal of CIA Directory George Tenet Wednesday night is, aides say, an example of how he works.
"Tenet wanted to quit last year but the President got his back up and wouldn't hear of it," says an aide. "That would have been the opportune time to make a change, not in the middle of an election campaign but when the director challenged the President during the meeting Wednesday, the President cut him off by saying 'that's it George. I cannot abide disloyalty. I want your resignation and I want it now."
“The mood here is that we’re under siege, there’s no doubt about it,” says one troubled aide who admits he is looking for work elsewhere. “In this administration, you don’t have to wear a turban or speak Farsi to be an enemy of the United States. All you have to do is disagree with the President.”

Posted by Duncan Young at June 4, 2004 01:46 PM

Yes, I think that Doug Thompson's gone off the deep end. I suspect that either he's making that up, or some disgruntled aide is. If the president really behaves that way privately, he's a hell of an actor, and it's also amazing that word of this hasn't come out in other venues about it. In the case of the Clintons, we had numerous accounts, over years, from many named individuals. This doesn't even start to rise to that level of credibility.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 4, 2004 01:52 PM

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