The retired L.A. cop and registered republican who says democratic presidential candidate John Kerry saved his life during combat in Vietnam is campaigning for Kerry in Iowa this week. Jim Rassmann’s Iowa tour comes on the heels of a campaign launched by a group called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” that claims Kerry lies about his war record. Rassmann, a former Green Beret, says he was on Kerry’s swift boat when an enemy blast threw him into the river, and Kerry risked his own hide to pull Rassman out of the river and back onto the boat amid enemy gunfire. Rassman says he’s disappointed by the allegations the other Vietnam vets are making about Kerry. Rassman says “they’re not telling the truth…it’s just some really awful things that they’re saying.” He says the anti-Kerry group is practicing “the lowest form of politics.” He points out the same group of vets attacked Vietnam P-O-W John McCain, a republican, when McCain was running against Bush during the 2000 primary season.”It’s the same old people, the same old methods,” Rassmann says. “I’m sure as John Kerry’s numbers go up in the polls, it’s going to get worse.” Rassmann says veterans are complaining to him about the anti-Kerry group. But Rassmann admits some veterans also complain about Kerry’s opposition to the Vietnam war when Kerry returned stateside. “This weekend, for the very first time in my life, I’ve had somebody call me a traitor to my country because I support John,” Rassman says. “That’s pretty low. You know, some people have a real problem with the First Amendment.” Kerry received a bronze star for pulling Rassmann to safety. The group “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” disputes Rassman’s account of the fire fight and rescue.
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