(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."
IT IS TO BAD MCCAINS VOTING RECORD ON VETERAN ISSUES IS NOT AS STRONG AS KERRY'S. MCCAIN IS AN ILLUSIONIST FOR VETERAN VOTING SUPPORT.
I hope to heck he gets buried and they forget who he is. Just like I hope every single solitary MAN who came out to kiss obama's butt loses.
John Kerry is a failure; like the rest of the politicians who looked the other way while Bush destroyed this country. Vote him OUT in 2008.
Enough is enough.
FEAR/ HATE AN'T GOING TO WORK ANYMORE. VOTE DEMOCRAT IF YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT CHANGE.
IF NO OBAMA '08
PUMAS NEED TO GET BEHIND OBAMA.
Kerry is only the first of many elected officials who now have to face their constituents. The elected officials who ignored the majority of their constituents to help "select" a Democratic Party nominee will now see what a mistake they have made. They were elected by the people to represent the people and they have failed! Their arrogance is matched only by Obama.
Its is not too late for the super delegates to fix their mistake. They can change their support to Senator Clinton so the Democrats will win in November OR they can start job hunting when their next term expires.
If Kerry has to campaign and debate then he is in trouble.
Experiance. McCain 26 years U.S. senate/congress.22 years military.
Experiance.Obama 143 days on the Senate floor.
Thats an easy choice for president! McCain 2008/2012...
Wasn't it Clinton who repeatedly emphasized the right of Super Delegates to break away from their constituency and vote their conscience? Why shouldn't similar advice apply to Senator Kerry?
It is funny the democratic party has overthrown its left wing extremists and the GOP is still safely controlled by right wing extremists. Thank god Bill And Hillary are no longer a threat to American Politics. If Sen Obama has done nothing else in his life at least he was able to restore the Democratic party back to its core values and yes those include Christians not just liberal atheists.
The problem lies with enormous head sizes of Bill O'Reily and Karl Rove. These guys are direct decendants of the Neanderthal peoples.
Go Andrew! I couldn't agree more.
Why are the Clinton supporters being so divisive?? What happened to party unity? They are totally to blame for all this.
As I read a little farther, I see that this is now the Clinton's fault too – my goodness you bamakids give them more power than any couple could ever have. I suppose they cause sunspots, meteors that one day might wipe out our planet and the black hole (oh sorry, I forgot we can't use that space term anymore – how about the really, really dark gray hole?). Regardless, it ain't the Clinton's fault that Kerry chose to not back his constituents decision and that they may vote him out because of it – that's his (and their) decision. He had a choice and so do they – that's America kids!
Obama for president!!
Mr. Kerry lost all credibility when he endorsed Mr. Obama. As with most “name brand” politicians who crowned Mr. Obama the winner, before the race was run, Mr. Kerry has shown the world that he suffers from dangerously poor judgment.
Andrew, are you obsessed by Hillary? Goodness Gracious. Who cares about McCain '08 and whoever '12?
Just let it go you haters and racist. This topic is about Kerry not Hillary if you cared to read before writing. Cry babies.
How are the Clintons responsible for John Kerry having an opponent in the fall election?
Oh, that's right the MA voters gave the nod to Hillary in the primary.
How dare the voters express their choice? How dare they not follow in lockstep to the Democratic senior leadership, like Kerry, Kennedy, Pelosi and Dean.
Think it's called democracy.
Why oppose Kerry? He's a fine Senator, and he will win in a landslide. Don't unnecessarily jeopardize a Senate seat.
Go win Kerry.
" He and Kennedy are the big families in the state and didn't even back their constituents decision on Hillary for President. " Ridiculous. Elected representatives don't take and oath of office to donate their Presidential primary or general vote to match that of a majiroty of their constituents. Come on. You can criticize him, but at least let it be on something legitimate.
Kerry supports Obama and did a turncoat on Clinton. He should be voted out of the Senate. Him along with Pelosi, Reid, and the entire group of DNC people who have insisted on pushing Obama down our throats. They do not represent what the Democratic Party was all about.....every vote should count – from day one.
Vote for Country – Vote McCain!
Black people take notice. if they punish kerry because of his endorsement of obama, please never vote for the clintons or for that matter any democratic candidate forever. if its democrats against democrats today, then it should be forever.
i m quite disgusted.
Obama will lose just like Kerry.......just like Mondale, just like Dukakis......
President Bush should have lost in a landslide in '04. John Kerry is such a buffoon he couldn't even really keep it close. I hope he gets beat in the primary.
Danny, Hillary supporters are not racists.....you are showing your ignorance when you keep referring to Hillary supporters as racists.....I guess if you are correct, then you are a SEXIST?????