August 12th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
6 years ago

Kerry, facing primary challenge, releases ad

John Kerry's new ad, 'Fenway,' shows him giving Sean Bannon a purprle heart.
John Kerry's new ad, 'Fenway,' shows him giving Sean Bannon a purprle heart.

(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."

soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Don

    too late!

    August 12, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Good Luck Sen. Kerry.

    At least you support the vets – we have McGoo (the millionaire that needs nothing) running for Pres. and voting DOWN more health benefits for vets by saying they are "too extravagant".

    Help the vets – they gave their all (they didn't make sabotage videos like McWarmonger)..

    August 12, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Andrew

    John Kerry's career should be over just like his VP candidate Edwards is over. He and Kennedy are the big families in the state and didn't even back their constituents decision on Hillary for President.

    Next, Dean, Reied, and Pelosi need to go.

    We should have these radicals our of the aprty by 2012.

    McCain '08, Hillary '12

    August 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    John Kerry cares more about our veterans than John McCain ever has. McCain didn't speak up when the Generals in Iraq asked Rumsfeld for better equipment to save lives and Rumsfeld denied them saying you go to war with what you got, McCain was silent. McCain didn't support the GI bill. McCain didn't vote for veterans to receive stimulous checks. McCain is a fraud when he uses his POW sign stating he is an American hero. OUR HEROS ARE STILL IN IRAQ AND MCCAIN FEELS SUCCESS OF IRAQ IS BASED UPON THE DEATH TOLL DROP OF AMERICAN SOLDIERS, THIS IS DIGUSTING AS MCCAIN IS DECEIVING.

    August 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Zela

    This is another example of the evil the spews from the Hillary supporters. No one owed Hillary their endorsement, including Kerry. Why be angry with him because he supported/endorsed Obama? I wonder how you feel about Bill making remarks that cost her points in the polls. Should she divorce him? Everything I read about you lately make me wonder if you all have lost your minds.

    August 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. Andrew

    John Kerry's career should be over just like his VP candidate Edwards is over. He and Kennedy are the big families in the state and didn't even back their constituents decision on Hillary for President.

    Next, Dean, Ried, and Pelosi need to go.

    We should have these radicals our of the party by 2012.

    McCain '08, Hillary '12

    August 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. Will, NJ

    The Clintons seem to cause problems all over.

    August 12, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. Ian

    He hasn't been challenged in over twenty years? This is supposed to be public service, not a career. This is rediculous.

    August 12, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Karen, Tx

    Thanks for the support Kerry.

    August 12, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. Leave Hill Alone

    Will, NJ

    Can you please explain how the Clinton have anything to do with this. I am a Clinton supporter, I support Obama, I do not belong to Puma and I am tired of people blaming anything and everything on a Clinton. Hillary Clinton is one of the most brilliant politicians to come along in years. She has supported Obama, regardless of what people are saying, and she deserves this countries respect for staying strong and playing in the big boy world of politics. I think if some of you get a cold, the first thing you do is jump on a blog and say its a Clintons fault. Grow up, learn some facts, look at real history...not rumor and for God-sakes people...learn how the process really works. Also, for those of you who claim PUMA people will be happy to see Hillary as VP, you don't know PUMA. I for one think Clinton is the logical choice..however just like Will in NJ comment, this has nothing to do with Kerry.

    August 12, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. BJ

    All the Dems who endorsed Obama, Pelosi, Kerry et al. will lose their seats.

    August 12, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Independent from FL

    NObama = NoKerry
    "Karma"

    August 12, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  13. ljmoon

    Kerry is an opportunist, he didn't even endorse his former running mate nor the candidates that campaigned for him while he was running for president (i.e.Clinton) instead he went for the McGovern of this generation which will probably cause us the white house when we were poised to grab it...I'm glad i vote in MA and will NOT be voting for him, his days are numbered and good riddance.

    August 12, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. Joseph

    I'm glad that O’Reilly is standing up for the people.

    August 12, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. Vegas

    Don't let the door hit you in the back on the way out loser!

    Worst congress in history.... Bye Bye Kerry...

    August 12, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. Cecil

    Today's Campaign Contest: Count the Young White Women in McCain's Anti-Obama Video
    August 12, 2008 9:30 AM

    How many young white women professing adoration for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, can you count in this anti-Obama web video that the campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, was sending out yesterday?

    One...two...three...four...sure are a lot of young white women in this thing....

    Why do you think they put so many young white women professing their love for Obama in what is clearly an anti-Obama video? What would possibly be negative about young white women liking Sen. Obama?

    When asked, the McCain campaign says they took the video from local news packages, but of course that doesn't explain anything.

    - jpt

    UPDATE: McCain campaign senior adviser Mark Salter writes to say: "All we are suggesting is 'the kids think he's dreamy. But should he be president?'"

    UPDATE 2: Looks like the McCain campaign has taken the video off youtube.

    August 12, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. Mr. Owens

    anyone that help the Vets should be good. Right now this country sends the people to war and then kick them to the curb. A Man or a Lady goes to war, Loses a leg or some other serious injury and then get 40 % disability, The soldiers give 100% to get 40% back in return. This country is BACKWARDS, How do you expect someone with a brain injury to go out and find a stable job. This Country needs a Change very fast.

    August 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. Charlene

    This fight is only in the press and the blog with people without a life.
    Me too. Kerry will win! Obama will win!!! Hillary will divorce Bill, he will get caught 'again'! McCain will divorce Cindy after she becomes sick and he will marry a younger woman!

    August 12, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Susan

    We would be a much better country today if Kerry had taken the Oath of Office in January of '05' instead of Bush! I don't trust John McCain!

    GoBama '08'

    August 12, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  20. John in Iowa

    Ted Kennedy's endorsement couldn't do a thing for anybody. Obama was real successful in that state, wasn't he?

    The Kennedys do nothing but rape American taxpayers year after year.

    On 2nd thought, Kennedy did give one family $90,000 once. Of course it was after he left their daughter for dead in a sunken car.

    Please!

    August 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. NotFallingInLine.org

    Last I checked Senator Obama IS representing the Democratic Party NOT Senator Clinton.

    August 12, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  22. native NYer

    Kerry is a patriot, no doubt to me, I was in the Nam too, not Audey Murphy, by any means, just did my job anybody that was there and came home won, our buddies they will forever be the Hero's. We by our sacrafice did prove a conscript army could be as strong as our Fathers were during their time in Hell. If the war was tobe won we would have done just that, but our mission was not for that purpose.
    To bad you were swift boated John, those bastards made a name by walking on our buddies graves forever dam them and their bosses...

    August 12, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  23. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    I hope Kerry wins by a landslide.

    August 12, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. Marc

    I wish I lived in MA just to vote against this guy. The presidency was his for the taking and he screwed it up. Then, Mr. Flip-Flopper himself endorses his protege, Barack Obama. Yeah, time for change alright. Send this guy into retirement.

    August 12, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. Mary

    John Kerry is a jerk! He needs to go. Its interesting that Obama is running on the thought that we need "change" in Washington and yet all the old Democrats that have been in Congress for years are supporting him. Obama needs to tell Americans to vote them out – but he never will because they support him and that's all it takes. I cringe everytime I see or hear John Kerry. Yuk!

    August 12, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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