Oregon's Jim Rassman helps stop Ambassadorship for Swift-boater Sam Fox

Jim Rassman is the guy from Florence, Oregon whose life John Kerry saved in Vietnam. He famously showed up at the Iowa caucuses - and the surprise reunion between Rassman and Kerry helped propel Kerry to victory.

Rassman lead a group of veterans in opposition to the nomination of Sam Fox, a $50,000 funder of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to the position of Ambassador to Belgium. From the AP:

“In our judgment, those who finance smears and lies of combat veterans don't deserve to represent America on the world stage,” said the letter signed by James Rassman and 10 other Vietnam Swift Boat veterans who served with Kerry.

Today, a vote was expected - and instead, Fox withdrew his nomination. From TPM Muckraker:

Sam Fox, the administration's pick to be the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, has withdrawn his bid.

Why? Things weren't going his way.


  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)

    Yet Clackamas County District Attorney Alfred French is still allowed to keep his job.

    You may remember that French claimed in a Swift Boat commercial that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was lying about his war record. He later admitted that he was relying on other 3rd party accounts. In an affidavit in support of the ad, French claimed that Kerry received two Purple Hearts under false pretenses. He also claimed that Kerry lied twice about their unit when he returned from Vietnam. French later acknowledged he was relying on the accounts of trusted friends and other sources regarding the Purple Hearts. But other soldiers who served with Kerry have disputed the ad.

    It turns out Mr. French also admited to The Oregonian that he lied to his then-boss about a long-ago extramarital affair with a colleague.

    But hey, he's just a District Attorney. It's not like we depend on these people to be trustworthy.

  • (Show?)

    Good on Rassman, and good on Senator Kerry himself for giving Fox both barrels at the committee.

  • (Show?)

    According to the White House, this is "partisan politics" and they have always disapproved of partisan politics. You can tell that by their behavior over the years, how they're always way above partisan politics.

    I don't think Fox had a chance getting through the Senate, but at least this means we don't have to listen to him spread his bullpucky in the hearings.

    And it also means that perhaps the White House has finally noticed that we'd held mid-term elections and things had changed a little bit in Congress.

  • h keller (unverified)

    Sam Fox is just another AIPAC neocon trying to support the Israeli land grab as best he can. Bush was his man because Iraq and Iran needed to be put into chaos in order to settle the Palestinian issue.

  • Jonathan (unverified)


    I agree about Mr. French. Myself and 65 others were copied on Amber Bevacqua-Lynott's letter from the Oregon State Bar, of March 15, 2005, advising (without any analysis or further explanation) that they had found that Mr. French's conduct was not a violation of the disciplinary rules. It baffled me.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    In his affidavits, French claimed he had "personal knowledge" of the events, but he later admitted that he was relying on rumor and heresay.

    Al French is an admitted liar who has never been held accountable. That must be some bang-up prosecutors' office they got out there in Oregon City.

  • Tom Wright (unverified)

    Al French was an honorable and honest junior officer. His statements, presented without legal support or preparation, were ripped by the media. I served in the same place, same time, An Thoi, and had John Kerry work for me on several occasions. His self-centered approach was a danger to my group of Swift boats and I asked the division commander to assign him elsewhere. During Kerry's last mission, Jim Rassman was in the water, in danger of drowning and had no idea whether there was enemy fire. Step back from the all the media swirl and look at one simple question: Did John Kerry spend Christmas in Cambodia? Kerry admitted that his congressional testimony was false after the election. That's a fact. Tom Wright Officer in Charge, PCF 44

  • pat Malach (unverified)

    For crissakes, Tom, why can't you folks drop the B.S. for just one second and admit that you hate John kerry because of his anti-war stance after he RETURNED from Vietnam and his congressional testimony about that service and the war.

    That would be the honorable thing to do.

    Instead of habving the honesty and courage to afce the issue of Kerry's anti-war activism head-on, you slink around in the dark and in the mud launching sneak attacks on his flanks by building a smear campain of lies and deceptions about his service.

    Congratulations, Tom, you're the Viet Cong of political discourse ... afraid to take on a decorated American soldier face to face, choosing instead to hide in the jungle and take cheap shots.

    Ya really ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    You're also smearing any veteran who earned a purple heart or other commendations by implying the military was giving them away like a clown throwing out candy at a parade.

    Again, you really ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    Hopefully, Sam Fox has learned his lesson about the consequences of lying. Maybe someday you'll learn the difference between right and wrong, too.

  • Bingo (unverified)

    Malach, unfortunately for you, you don't get to define the issue of John Kerry's fraud, slander, sedition and treason that legions of honorable veterans like Tom Wright hold in contempt.

    Honorable persons can be anti-war, and your attempt to define Kerry's despicable history as being simply "anti-war" is as self-serving as it is specious.

    John Kerry is a PROVEN liar. The only open question is the depth and breadth of his fraud. Historians worthy of the name will take care of that matter in due course.

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    Did John Kerry spend Christmas in Cambodia? Kerry admitted that his congressional testimony was false after the election.

    Actually, he said later that he was "near" the Cambodian border. And frankly, given that the border isn't marked with a big red line on the ground, and is instead a big ol' jungle, I'm not convinced that this is a distinction that makes any difference.

    Go away, Swift-Boater... you guys are like trolls in our democracy.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    You seem to forget that you don't don't get to define anything either, uh, Bingo, if that is your real name. (Nice courgae of your convicttions, uh, Bingo).

    Just because you say it's so don't make it so. Get over your damn self and get back to supportin' George Bush, the real coward and liar of this equation.

    Apparently your problem is with the American military, who you say took part in this fraud by awarding Kerry numerous medals. And I simply won't stand by and let you Amwerica-haters disrespect our fine men and women of the Amred forces.

    If you hate America so much, why don't you go back to commie-land, uh, Bingo

  • Bambi O. Zule (unverified)

    Doesn't change the fact that the guy faked a wound in order to get a Purple Heart.

    And that's a fact that cannot be turned around.

  • Bingo (unverified)

    Apparently your problem is with the American military, who you say took part in this fraud by awarding Kerry numerous medals.

    No, my problem is with a politically ambitious, opportunistic fraud who first commenced to game an awards system as early as 2 weeks after setting foot in country.

    The integrity of the military awards systems is/was predicated to a great degree on the honorable administration of that process by honorable men. Kerry's first attempt at gaming that system was rebuffed by that process. To this day, just how he managed to get that first purple heart awarded some 3 months AFTER the qualifying event is a mystery. I personally suspect political influence was brought to bear, but Kerry ain't telling.

    But here's a fun exercise to try. Draw yourself a mental picture of the scene that must have transpired when John Kerry presented himself to his first commanding officer PETITIONED him for a purple heart.

    It will make most veterans wretch.

  • Tom Wright (unverified)

    The Cambodian border isn't a big red line; it's a river. There were border signs on every tributary leading north from the river. I've been there.

    Not only did Kerry change his story from "in" to "near" Cambodia, he also changed the time from Christmas to February, two months later.

    A person using Kari Chisholm's approach to analysis could say that Kerry embellished a story to make a point. I believe Kerry lied to Congress. I think the "Christmas in Cambodia" testimony is a clear indication of Kerry's character.

    Tom Wright Officer in Charge, PCF 44

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)

    From Media Matters and the NYT:

    Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did not serve alongside Kerry

    In the new ad, members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claim that they "served with John Kerry." Hannity & Colmes co-host Sean Hannity echoed the false claim, saying that the veterans in the ad are "the people that know him best," and referred to them as "some of his fellow crewmates." Even Pat Halpin, who was filling in for co-host Alan Colmes, called them "some of John Kerry's crewmates." Scarborough echoed Swift Boat Veterans' misleading claim that they "served with John Kerry in Vietnam."

    While the veterans attacking Kerry in the ad are veterans of the Vietnam War and may have served at the same time as Kerry, as The New York Times reported on August 5, the Kerry campaign noted that "none of the men had actually served on the Swift boats that Mr. Kerry commanded." Adm. Roy F. Hoffman, one of the veterans in the ad, has even "acknowledged he had no first-hand knowledge to discredit Kerry's claims to valor," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on May 6, "and said that although Kerry was under his command, he really didn't know Kerry much personally."

    In contrast, many of the veterans who have appeared on the campaign trail with Kerry did serve alongside him. The Wall Street Journal's Albert R. Hunt noted in his August 5 "Campaign Journal" column, titled "Sham Charges Against a War Hero" (subscription required): "Indeed, 10 of the 11 men who served on his two swift boats all have sworn by John Kerry; nine living members were in Boston [for the Democratic National Convention]."

    Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's Republican ties

    As Media Matters for America previously noted, on May 4, Salon.com's Joe Conason detailed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's ties to the Republican Party. In addition to pointing out that the group's founder, John O'Neill, has long-standing ties to the GOP that can be traced back to the Nixon administration, Conason also reported that among the people behind Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is "veteran corporate media consultant and Texas Republican activist Merrie Spaeth, who is listed as the group's media contact."

    As MMFA has documented, both Hannity & Colmes co-host Alan Colmes (on May 28) and FOX chief political correspondent Carl Cameron (on May 4) reported the group's Republican ties on FOX News Channel; on May 4, Scarborough mentioned criticism of O'Neill's "dirty tricks" for the Nixon administration. While Scarborough did mention on August 4 that the group was part of the "Republican counteroffensive" "prepar[ing] to release blistering attacks in John Kerry's Vietnam record," Hannity completely ignored the group's ties to the GOP.

    Swift Boat Veterans for Truth doctor did not sign Kerry's medical record

    Neither Hannity nor Scarborough bothered to note that Dr. Louis Letson, who is featured in the ad claiming to have treated Kerry for the wound that earned him his first Purple Heart and claiming that it was undeserved, was not the medical official who signed Kerry's medical records for the wound. The Kerry campaign noted this fact in a report in The New York Times and a report in the Los Angeles Times that surfaced when Letson first unleashed this attack in May.

    In criticizing the ad, McCain told the Associated Press, "'It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me'... referring to his [McCain's] bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush," according to the AP. As Conason reported on May 4, "The 'swift boat' veterans attacking John Kerry's war record are led by veteran right-wing operatives using the same vicious techniques they used against John McCain four years ago." Conason explained that Spaeth (the group's media contact) participated during the 2000 Republican primary contest in TV ads that "falsely attack[ed]" McCain's environmental record in California, New York, and Ohio.

    McCain might have been referring as well to attacks on his military record by Ted Sampley and Thomas Burch, both Vietnam veterans, during the 2000 primary season. As Media Matters for America previously reported, Sampley hounded McCain as a "Manchurian Candidate" -- suggesting that the decorated veteran and former prisoner of war was a brainwashed communist agent -- and was convicted for misdemeanor assault related to an attack on one of McCain's legislative aides. Sampley is the leader of a group called Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry. During the 2000 Republican primary in South Carolina, Burch, according to a February 22 report in the Chicago Tribune, "stood with George W. Bush at his side and accused Sen. John McCain of Arizona of opposing health care for Persian Gulf war veterans and blocking efforts to locate POW-MIAs, saying the former prisoner of war "came home from Vietnam and forgot us."

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    I wonder what the Swift Trolls think about George W. Bush, a deserter who lied us into one war (Iraq), and is prepared to lie us into another one in Iran.

    They probably don't think he did a thing wrong - that's the conservative mindset, to pick apart the smallest inconsistency in a Democrat, yet ignore the logs in their own eyes, like George W. Bush's desertion and lying, Rudy Giuliani's philandering, Newt Gingrich's philandering, Mark Foley's penchant for teenage boys, Fredo Gonzales's approving torture (with the help of John Yoo and Jay Bybee), ad nauseum.

    Face it, Swift Trolls - your golden child's administration is falling in around you, and you're going to be associated with one of the three worst Presidents in history (Warren Harding and Franklin Pierce were worse). Proud of yourselves now?

  • Bingo (unverified)

    Proud of yourselves now?

    Kerry is not now, nor will he ever be, President of the United States. Relief and gratitude for the courage of the Swiftvets is more apropos.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)

    "Courage" is not the word I would use to describe Swiftboat Cowards for Character Assassination.

  • Bingo (unverified)

    "Courage" is not the word I would use to describe Swiftboat Cowards for Character Assassination.

    How profound. Nevertheless, however you or I choose to characterize the Swiftboat revelations (let me spell that slowly for you - R E V E L A T I O N S) are irrelevant to the judgement that historians will render.

    Here's a clue as to how that will go...they won't be doing research in the John Fraud Kerry Presidential Library.

  • Harry K. (unverified)

    Had Kerry not made such a big deal of his war record, touting himself as a 'war hero' the swift vets would have never surfaced. When you pride yourself as a war hero - you better be able to back it up if you're called on it. And that's exactly the problem for Kerry. The fact is General Patton received more 'wounds' playing football at Westpoint than Kerry every did in 'combat'. Kerry is no war hero. He might have made a good President, but we'll never know.

  • LT (unverified)

    It amazes me the people who "know" Kerry's war record, what wounds he did or did not receive. Who was Secretary of the Navy at the time in question?

  • eecee (unverified)

    Tom Wright, you need to get your SBVT talking points straight.

    Kerry never "changed the date from Christmas to February." He has always said he was patrolling the border on Christmas Eve, and wrote about the patrol and subsequent ambush in his journal in fact. Two of his crewmembers agree. George Elliott mentions the ambush in Kerry's fitness report.

    Kerry told the Boston Globe that he thought he had crossed the border inadvertently during the patrol/ambush. Contrary to the SBVT lies, he never claimed to be sent on a secret mission on that date.

    He acknowledged that the date that he was five miles over the border was a different date. Period.

    Don't feel too bad, Tom. The SBVT do like people to be mixed up about this stuff....that's their whole purpose for existing. But to keep posting it just makes you look bad.

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