Friday, Aug. 20, 2004 | 11:09 a.m.
More than 50 people, most of them veterans, met this morning to say that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is not as friendly to veterans issues as he portrays himself to be.
Kerry has recently defended himself against charges that he exaggerated his military record. But Las Vegan Ted Pew, a retired Navy officer, said he still has questions about Kerry's record largely because of what he's heard from fellow Navy veterans.
"I struggle with the veracity of the statements made by Kerry regarding his Vietnam duty," Pew said.
Crewmates of Kerry during his time in Vietnam have come to his support in a new commercial that will air in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, where a commercial by a group calling itself "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" aired.
But that wasn't all that the veterans supporting Bush cited this morning.
Kerry, in his 20 years in the Senate, has voted against defense and military budgets, said Paul Adams, chairman of the Nevada Veterans for Bush, which hopes to recruit more than 500 veteran volunteers statewide to work on the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.
"Senator Kerry clearly does not understand the war on terror," Adams said.
In his time in office Bush has increased the defense budget from $269 billion to more than $401 billion and increased funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by more than 40 percent, Adams said.
Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., said Bush has shown "great compassion" for veterans and realizes the enormity of the war on terror. Gibbons criticized Kerry's comments that the United States would reach out to other countries to be allies and fight a "sensitive" war on terror.