July 5th, 2013
04:13 PM ET
9 years ago

Kerry again swamped by nautical controversy

(CNN) - When it comes to public relations, John Kerry can't seem to keep his head above water.

After initially denying the report, the State Department released a correction Friday morning acknowledging that the Secretary of State was indeed yachting on Wednesday, the day Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsy was overthrown by a coup staged by the Egyptian military.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki first denied that Kerry was yachting off the coast of Nantucket in a news conference on Wednesday saying, "Any report or tweet that he was on a boat is completely inaccurate." She later corrected her statement Friday morning saying that Kerry was in fact, "briefly on his boat on Wednesday."

This isn't the first time Kerry has found himself foundering in aquatic controversies.

In 2004, George W. Bush used a clip of Kerry windsurfing, also off the coast of Nantucket, in an ad that aimed to frame Kerry as a flip-flopper on important policy issues. The ad featured Kerry windsurfing back and forth against choppy waves while text on the screen and voiceovers described Kerry voting for and against various issues, such as education reform, increasing Medicare premiums and the Iraq war.

The ad was one of the most iconic of the 2004 race, reinforcing the Republican narrative of Kerry as an opportunistic politician, and ultimately helping to sink his campaign for presidency against Bush.

Earlier that year Kerry was the target of another set of attacks ads sponsored by a group called Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, which claimed it felt compelled to sponsor the ads because of Kerry's "deliberate misrepresentation of the nature and effectiveness of Swift boat operations" during his service in the Vietnam War.

Kerry was a decorated Navy officer who commanded a Swift boat, which the Navy used to patrol Vietnam's coastal waters and inland waterways.

Filed under: Egypt • George W. Bush • John Kerry • State Department
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Chipster

    Good grief! What are public servants supposed to do? This is ridiculous nonsense. People can't simply sit in an office all day every day just because something serious may or may not happen on any given day. Pretty soon, we'll have nobody willing to go through the constant criticism of their every move and word – nobody worth having at least. They give and give and give but it's never enough. Every vacation is criticized. Bush spent nearly 2 years of his 8 years clearing brush at his ranch. So, what's the difference if you're clearing brush, wind surfing, fishing, playing golf or sailing? I honestly don't know why anyone even tries to serve such an ungrateful public that does nothing but whine and pick, pick, pick!

    July 5, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. just askin

    why can't anybody in the obama adminstration ever tell the truth the first time? why is their first instinct to lie and deny? they have done it far too many times now to not declare it as a pattern of behavior. it is why the american people can't trust these people to do what they say they will do with regards to immigration or many other issues. they have zero credibility at this point.

    July 5, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Richard Long

    "After initially denying the report, the State Department released a correction Friday morning..."
    So it is okay and common practice to blatantly lie to US citizens. Didn't the head of the NSA recently 'apologize' for lying a couple days ago?

    The Obama Administration = Legendary FAIL!

    July 5, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    @Richard Long: ""After initially denying the report, the State Department released a correction Friday morning..."
    So it is okay and common practice to blatantly lie to US citizens."

    She corrected it! If you're looking for "blatantly" lying to US citizens, look to all the Repub nonsense about death panels in Obamacare, President Obama being born in Kenya, the President being a "secret Muslim," the IRS only targeting tea folks (when, in fact, it targeted left folks, too) ... the list goes on and on and one ...

    July 5, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Keith

    President Obama being born in Kenya, the President being a "secret Muslim..

    These are proven lies? Since when?

    July 5, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. MLanders

    I have read all the stories, and, yes, John Kerry, did indeed stand on a boat/ship that did indeed go out to sea and everyone on that boat/ship did indeed sail. This did indeed occur while the government in Egypt was being changed. Guess what? It could happen again next week! Is the United States government supposed to stop functioning because governments change hands? Are our government officials suppose to be on "red phone" alert 24/7? We Americans are not and will not be captive to the "wishy-washy" (Texan lingo) or "in shallah") statements that are being spouted from the Middle East.

    July 5, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Dave

    If it had been George Bush, the media would be crucifying him. Bush gave up golf after 9/11 for the remaining several years of his presidency. This will probably be the last you hear of this story about Kerry.

    July 5, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Dave

    Who cares if he was on his yacht? Seriously, these people spend more time than not working. If he wants to hang out on his yacht for a few hours who cares, he was probably still connected to work in some way. Honestly, who would ever want to be a public servant if they're not ever allowed to do anything other than work? You want them performing at their best, give them some R&R every now and then.

    July 5, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. LonerBoy

    Seems like Fischer forgot about this same boat being registered in Rhode Island for tax purposes, while being used a lot in and off of Massachusetts. 3? 4? years ago?

    July 5, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. Del

    I think there should be mention of the 2010 controversy when the then Massachusetts Senator docked the Isabela in Rhode Island to avoid MA sales tax and also annual excise tax.

    July 5, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Alessandra Urist

    Who cares where Kerry was when he got the news. He's doing his job. This is obviously a political attach.

    July 5, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. freedom

    And Romney was vilified because of his wealth? Kerry is the current Sec of State – and his duties are not to be on a yacht while there is a coup in Egypt – where America has sent millions of dollars to the military. Who the hell is running this country right now?

    July 5, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  13. Clarke

    When ask just tell the truth, what is so hard about that. I don't really care if he is out on the waters enjoying himself, what is wrong with that. This gets old after awhile.

    July 5, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. rondon

    I for one am grateful that John Kerry is an inept Secretary of State. He came too close to being an inept President. Of course, at least he wasn't (like Al Gore) soliciting 'masssages' from hotel staff. Whenever I find myself lamenting that Obama isn't a better President, I simply have to recall how much better he is than the two twits the Democrats previously ran – 'and then I don't feel so bad'.

    July 5, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. Robert

    Its hard to see how Kerry might wiggle himself out of this one. In any case, Obama should probably give Kerry the boot as a political liability, which he's now managed to become.

    July 5, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. drlayman

    Our leaders need their "off time" too.

    July 5, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  17. sonnie3

    obama won't even give his grades at college , much less tell the truth about where he was born.
    it is hide, hide ,,, Hide and when caught, first lie, lie ,,,LIE// and then blame some lower brat on the bottom of the pole for what went wrong. This bull needs to stop. The TRUTH always wins and come to the surface. You would think the obamanites would have this figured out by now.
    Its the old I know nothing, I hear nothing, I see nothing and the public is sick and tired of it.
    The Kerry and the swift boat thing is just another example of how public trust is run over, hook , Line and sinker!

    July 5, 2013 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  18. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Oh, puh-leeeez!! The man, without a doubt, had a secured, satellite phone with him or at least a burner phone from Radio Shack! What was he going to do to stop what was happening in Egypt? Parachute drop into Tahrir Square? Should he and the State Department spokesperson been more forthcoming when initially questioned? YES ... but making it sound like Secretary Kerry was derelict in his duties is just plain STUPID!

    July 6, 2013 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  19. JohnDD

    Ya know, it should be pretty easy for the spokesman to know if Kerry was or was not on a yacht. Fact is, from the start they knew he was on the yacht and decided to lie, never dreaming they would be caught. As the saying goes, the U.S. is a nation that was founded by geniuses, but is currently being run by idiots.

    July 6, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. Evergreen

    The last Administartion lied about WMDs. This admin lied about about Mr. Kerry being on his yacht all day....folks, it happens.

    July 6, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |