A New York Times article noted that since 2004, "'Swift boat' has become the synonym for the nastiest of campaign smears, a shadow that hangs over the presidential race as pundits wait to proclaim that the Swiftboating has begun and candidates declare that they will not be Swiftboated." [The New York Times, 6/30/08]
Reuters: Swift-Boating Is "A Reference To Hardball Smear Tactics."
Reuters described accusations of swift-boating as "a reference to hardball smear tactics used to attack the war record of Democratic Senator John Kerry":
CLAIM: 2006 Comments Suggest Kerry Is Anti-Military
Barack Obama's re-election campaign on Wednesday accused Republicans of trying to "Swift Boat" the president, a reference to hardball smear tactics used to attack the war record of Democratic Senator John Kerry when he unsuccessfully challenged George W. Bush for the White House in 2004. [Reuters, 8/15/12]
Fox's Carlson Uncritically Aired Footage Of Kerry's 2006 Remarks.
After airing remarks delivered by John Kerry in 2004, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked: "A lot of people would say how can he be secretary of Defense if he felt that way?"
FACT: Kerry's 2006 Comments Were Widely Misrepresented
CARLSON: Here's what Senator Kerry said about the military in 2006.
KERRY: Your education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard, and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.
CARLSON: I mean, that's going to come back to -- you know, a lot of people would say how can he be secretary of Defense if he actually felt that way? [Fox News, Fox & Friends,11/14/12]
AP: Kerry's Remarks Were Prefaced With Criticism Of Bush.
An Associated Press article that reported Kerry's remarks in October 2006 provided their full context, noting that his comments on education were prefaced with criticism of President Bush:
Kerry opened his speech at Pasadena City College with several one-liners, saying at one point that Bush had lived in Texas but now ''lives in a state of denial.''
He then said: ''You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." [Associated Press, 10/31/06, via Media Matters]- Advertisement -
Kerry: Statement "Was A Botched Joke About The President And The President's People."
At an October 2006 press conference, Kerry responded to criticism of his remarks, clarifying that he intended to make "a botched joke about the president and the president's people, not about the troops":
Let me make it crystal clear, as crystal clear as I know how: I apologize to no one for my criticism of the president and of his broken policy.