June 21, 2008 – Ten men who served in Vietnam with Sen. John Kerry want Dallas billionaire T. Boone Pickens to fork over the $1 million he said he would give anyone who could disprove claims that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth made about Mr. Kerry’s war record during the 2004 presidential campaign.
The men sent a lengthy letter and supporting documentation to Mr. Pickens on Thursday.
Mr. Pickens, who helped support the anti-Kerry group, could not be reached for comment Friday night. He has not publicly responded to the letter.
“We are prepared now to come to Texas to see you, or meet somewhere else mutually convenient,” the crewmen wrote. “We are telling you, that we will bring with us a Navy/Pentagon certified copy of Senator Kerry’s full military record and his writings and the movie footage you have requested. We will sit with you while you go through them page for page, frame by frame and answer any questions you may have. We know the truth because we were there on the boat. ”
The men want the money given to a veterans charity.
In 2004 Mr. Pickens gave at least $2 million to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Its political ads questioning the military service of Mr. Kerry — who campaigned on his record as a war hero — were considered instrumental in his loss to President Bush.
President Bush won a narrow victory over Mr. Kerry, with many analysts contending the senator was late in responding to the swift boat ads.
Last November, Mr. Pickens offered to pay $1 million to anyone who could prove that the claims made against Mr. Kerry were wrong.
Mr. Kerry took the challenge and offered to debate Mr. Pickens in Dallas and Massachusetts.