(CNN)— Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, facing his first Democratic primary challenger in 24 years, released his first campaign ad Tuesday spotlighting his record on veterans issues.
The 60-second spot, “Fenway,” tells the story of Iraq war veteran Sean Bannon, and how Kerry personally touched his life.
“I know how much he’s done for vets like me,” Bannon says of Kerry, praising Kerry’s record pushing for more funding for veterans’ mental health and education benefits, and his efforts on behalf of the move to boost the minimum death benefits for the families of military members from $12,000 to $250,000.
Kerry awarded Bannon his purple heart at Fenway Park on Patriots Day, and surprised him by being able to throw the first pitch of the game.
“John Kerry, he goes to bat for all us vets,” Bannon says.
The four-term senator and Vietnam veteran is being challenged in the September 16 primary by Massachusetts lawyer Ed O’Reilly.
Most recently, O’Reilly has challenged Kerry to a debate before their fall face-off.
Some critics say Kerry could face a more challenging re-election because of the decision to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president over Sen. Hillary Clinton, who won his state’s Super Tuesday primary with 56 percent of the vote.
Watch: Kerry endorses Obama for president
“I don’t think you have to be a mathematician to divine that Senator Kerry's early endorsement of Senator Obama put our opponent on the ballot,” said Kerry’s press secretary Brigid O’Rourke.
update from O'Reilly after the jump
Because of the long and “passionate” primary season, “many of Sen. Clinton’s supporters have made it clear that they wanted to register their displeasure with Sen. Kerry’s endorsement,” said O’Rourke adding that the senator has been able to put the past behind him.
The initial ad buy of $300,000 began airing Tuesday in Boston and Springfield, and on cable television throughout the state and in Providence, Rhode Island, whose media market includes parts of Massachusetts, according to Kerry’s campaign.
The winner of the September primary will face Republican Jeff Beatty, a former Army Delta Force Officer, in the general election this November.
Update: Ed O’Reilly tells CNN he has a couple hundred thousand dollars to spend, but it has yet to be decided how much money will be allocated for campaign ads.
“There is no way I can compete with John Kerry’s money,” said O’Reilly. “When I first started this campaign I realized to take him on I had to do it on the ground and I couldn’t do it on the airwaves."
Kerry is a loser. As a veteran, I am ashamed that he uses us as a crutch to further his career. He and Obama should get together for a limo ride.
KERRY........LETS SEE............ISNT HE THE ONE WHO RATTED US OUT TO THE VIET CONG OR SOME OTHER BACKWOODS BRAWLERS DURING VIETNAM. WHICH VETERANS IN PARTICULAR SHOULD HE BE PROUD OF GIVEN HIS DISTASTE FOR THE REALITIES OF WAR. MORE HYPOCRISY THAN THE LUDICHRIS/OBAMA CRAP SONG THINGY. THIS IS LIKE EATING M&M;S AND GETTING ONE WITH A LIQUID CENTER. WHAT COULD IT HURT? RIGHT? LEAVE THE GOOD MAN ALONE RIGHT? PATRIOT RIGHT? JANE FONDA WILL PICKET HIS WIFES ESTATE FOR THIS....YOU'LL SEE!!!!!
Go Ed! Beat Kerry's sxxx out!
THE PRIVILEGES OF WEALTH AND POWER : ARROGANCE AND SELF SERVICE
It's what you do while they are there Mr. John "Why the Long Face" Kerry. Mr. Kerry has many many accomplishments while at home including anti war rants while our troops are in harms way and undermining our President for politicial gain. Letting a hero do your bidding is sad.
John who? oh you mean that guy that was on the ticket with John Edwards (he who put the vice in VP).
Hey Barbara, McWarmonger is a vet, Obama isn't. McWarmonger's son is fighting in Iraq, Obama never fought in a war. Nice try
who cares?as long as a democrat is elected?
Kerry is a victim of the lies and deceipt of the Republican attack machine and should be running for a second term as President. Unfortunately the GOP pulled the wool over too many people's eyes once again and look at the mess the U.S. is in. The U.S. is the laughing stock of the entire world thanks to the voters who were fooled by the GOP. Will they be fooled yet once again? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Out with Kerry! He has shown poor judgement in the Presidential race. He should have supported the candidate his state overwhelmingly supported. That is why he was voted into office, to be the voice of the majority of voters in his state. Kerry had no regard for them and is a sexist. Next to go should be Pelosi and Kennedy.
Admit it Andrew, your just another phony republican, pretending to be a Hillary supporter.
he turned his back on his constituents for a smile from obama but i guess he didn't notice that sen obama's whole deal relies on ifs. if there is no windfall profit well it's not my fault right and if he taxes the big companies and they move their operations elsewhere well no jobs right but it's not my fault. and if you lose your seat well can't help you right not my fault
I supported and volunteered for Kerry in '04. I drove where ever help was needed at my own expense. However, after seeing how he never once stood up against the sexism, thus encouraging the use of it but was ready to jump at any incling of racism, I no longer support him. I am a black, Puerto Rican and this primary was extremely offensive in regards to top DEMS such as Kerry and others in the Gentlemen's Agreement in their bashing of WOMEN.
Good luck to you Mr.O Reilly as a Hillary supporter I sincerely hope that you get the job done. Mr. Kerry had the support of the Clintons in the last election and we can all see that there is no loyalty in Washington but many Judas.