(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."
Just the beginning.
Is that a picture of Kerry pinning medals on a vet? Wow... He must be "Reporting for Duty" again.
Hmm... Where is the one of him throwing them down during the Vietnam War? Kerry needs a real "Swift Boat" kick in the donkey.
Obama needs the Clinton bloc of 18 million voters to win. Kerry should be reminded of this. Let's not forget this disturbing fact: Obama does not have the required number of superdelegates to clinch the nomination. He needs Clinton - she doesn't need him.
I never liked John Kerry. I'm glad he has a democratic challenger. And why are ppl trying to stick this on the Clintons too when they had nothing to do with it? Kerry needs to step down!
Buh Bye Kerry. Your next Pelosi.
How weird that anyone would support Democratic Hillary, then not support Kerry. This country is in very serious trouble and we NEED Democratic Congress and other state offices. Who cares if Kerry backed Obama...Obama is the best person to lead our country back to a "normal" status.
If voters can't vote for the ISSUES and how these candidates stand on them, then those voters need a good slap on the hand. And that goes too for the media that keeps bringing up these stupid references.
Now you have to deal with PUMA. Like so many gutless Democrats, you were more concerned about backing the black candidate than the best candidate. See how that works for you.
PUMA - Vote for the best, black or white. Vote McCain and vote out Kerry, Pelosi, Reid. Fire Dean.
Obama will win. John Kerry will be there with Obama.
Well why don't you post it, or is this a typical cnn left winger moderater.
Trust me when I say if Clinton and their supporters decide to cause ant more trouble they can consider their political careers goodbye.
Good. I hope Kerry looses.
Oh please – he threw Hillary under the bus and I hope he does not get re-elected. Richardson will follow – There was no loyalties to the Clintons and whether the public wants to recoginze it or not Bill Clinton was a great president. The democratic party turned against a great political family.
So many blogs tell Hillary supporters to get over it but this is not over. Obama will lose the General Election.
Everyone needs to support the presumptive democratic nominee because we need to all come together to make sure that Senator McCain does not get in office. There is too much at stake to let hurt feelings get in the way of what is best for this country.
PUMA 's are small cats that hide in bushes .
John Kerry is another liberal like Barack. He should be thrown out.
All the biggest Democratic FLAKES and LOSERS seem to want to be "resurrected" and now to "redeem" themselves: Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and now Kerry. The other one, Edwards, isn't even worth mentioning. But that's a fitting run-up to the BIGGEST flake and looser of all - Obama - who will culminate the corrupt DNC convention most visibly of all. Sorry Hillary Clinton decided to keep such low company!
I voted for Kerry in 2004.What a mistake-at that time I voted for every Democrat that ran,also a mistake.The Democrats especially Kerry,Pelosi and horrible Howard Dean have taught me a lesson I won't forget.This coronation of Obama is the straw that broke the camels back.Making rules that were made up along the way sure screwed this party up.Whose idea?Who knows?Don't care.There is no enthusiasm for this supercircus in Denver.Hope the Pumas are looud and strong..
Kerry's career should be over because he did not follow the will of the people in his state. Next will be Dean, Brazille, Pelosi and Reid.
All these PUMAs need to keep something in mind: All the resentment and anger they've been spewing for the past few months has increasingly alienated the Obama supporters. If McCain wins this election, a lot of people are going to blame Hillary-supporters, and that resentment is going to come back and bite her when she tries to run again.
To "Farrell, Houston, Texas"
Your comment sir are as absurd as they are erroneous. Why?
1.) It was McCain who consistently and vociferously excoriated Rumsfield's handling of the war – demanding his resignation and even attracting the acrimony of his own party.
2.) John McCain's sons are themselves currently fighting active duty, one in Iraq and one in Afghanastan.
3.)McCain has been a tireless crusader throughout his adult life and tenure in Congress for veterans- going so far as to co-sponsor legislation with democrats such as John Kerry and Carl Levin to improve veteran care and to have the bodies of soldiers in foriegn lands returned to the United States for proper burial.
4.) Furthermore, McCain has a long record of supporting iniatives to increase military spending for the very things that you mention i.e. body armor, while democrats in congress have consistently opposed such measures. Obama has even voted several times to deny funding to the very troops in Iraq that you claim are the "real heroes". Finally, If democrats are so concerned that our troops be properly equipped they ought to support military spending perogatives in times of peace or cease complaining that they aren't when war breaks out.
Perhaps you should look to News sources other than Countdown with Kieth Oberman and Moveon.org
Andrew....YOU are the radical!! It's thinking like yours that could elect another Bush to the White House...hope there isn't enought of you narrow minded people to elect McCain. We already know there isn't enought of you clowns to elect Clinton...she LOST the primaries. Why is that so hard for you silly people to understand.
comments not "comment" (for above comment)
Kerry will be okay and true Democrates will vote for him – the Hillary (repugs) never would have voted for him anyway... we all know if Hillary and Bill would have won the nomination then McCain would be a sure win
John Kerry cares for Vets. That sounds terrific! At least he's not lying about his own service, if you can call it that. I appreciate anything he can do for those who truly serve.
Kerry needs to be voted out along with the three stooges (Pelosi,Coward Dean and Reid) Anyone who has helped to put this empty suit up as the nominee needs to be punished!! Dump the Fool-Aid!!