New York Post - By DEBORAH ORIN - July 11, 2003
Sen. John Kerry is distributing fliers in New York with a 30-year-old photo of him and Beatle John Lennon to woo anti-war presidential voters as he competes with rival Howard Dean in blasting President Bush on Iraq.
The campaign leaflet featuring the 1971 Lennon photo surfaced yesterday as Kerry was holding a Washington press conference to claim Bush must "tell the truth" about Iraq.
Kerry voted "yes" on the Iraq war last fall, but is now outspoken in criticizing the conduct of the war as he seeks to counter the anti-war appeal that has sent Dean surging toward the top of the Democratic pack.
A spokesman for Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, said she was traveling and couldn't be reached for comment about the political use of a photo of her late husband.
A Kerry spokesman said he saw no need to seek Ono's permission to use the photo, which was snapped by a Kerry pal and is a cherished memento in his office.
The flier, which seeks New York volunteers, shows Vietnam vet Kerry, clad in a leather flight jacket, with Lennon at a 1971 anti-war rally in New York.
Lennon's name isn't used, but he's identifiable in his cap and trademark glasses. Kerry aides say he introduced Lennon at that rally.
The text next to the photo says, "While fighting in Vietnam, John Kerry saw that the well-being of the soldiers was being ignored to protect the interests of White House officials."
Kerry made a similar charge about Bush on Iraq yesterday, "Clearly, it's time for the president to step forward and tell the truth — that the war is continuing and so are the casualties."
Republican National Committee chairman-designate Ed Gillespie said Kerry's blast is just "the latest instance of Democrats trying to get to the left of Howard Dean in appealing to the elitist angry anti-war electorate."
Other Republicans said the Dean-Kerry competition for who can blast Bush hardest — and woo liberal activists — is pushing the Democratic Party way out of the mainstream because most Americans back the Iraq war.
Many analysts believe Dean and Kerry are in a political fight to the death as they look ahead to the nomination race and the first two tests in Iowa and New Hampshire next January.