FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6:00AM MONDAY, FEB. 9, 2004
Contact: Bob Weiner/Jeff Buchanan 301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700
KERRY AND WATERGATE: DNC LINKS TO GROUP LED BY KERRY EXCUSE FOR WATERGATE BREAK-IN IN ‘72; "REPUBLICAN PARANOIA AGAINST KERRY STARTED EARLY," SAYS ‘72 DEMOCRATIC YOUTH VOTE DIRECTOR BOB WEINER
(Washington, DC) – Were John Kerry and the veterans’ organization he led the real reason the Republicans broke into Watergate in 1972, with information on them the target of the espionage? Was doing so an early onset of Republican political paranoia against his work, a harbinger of the pending campaign against him in 2004?
Bob Weiner, the 1971-72 Youth Voter Registration Director for the Young Democrats office at the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and recently a Clinton White House staffer for six years, is asking these questions after doing a little research to refresh his memory. Weiner looked in the Senate’s Watergate Hearings in volumes held by the Library of Congress and researched Kerry’s specific assistance to the Party’s ’72 effort, a Rhode Island speech supporting youth voter registration, in the Providence Public Library’s archives.
Here’s what Weiner has confirmed:
James McCord of the Watergate burglars and CREEP (Committee for the Reelection of the President) testified before the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities on May 18, 1973 and was asked by Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) why the break-in was conducted. McCord replied, "Democratic national headquarters staff members" were "working closely with violence groups"… "which involved violence and demonstrations against our committee". When Senators Inouye, Lowell Weicker (R-CT), Ed Gurney (R-FL), and Howard Baker (R-TN) asked for more detail, in each case McCord repeated the "violence" reference but specifically – and only -- named the "Vietnam Veterans Against the War", accusing them as "a violence-oriented group" (Hearing pages 180, 200, 201, 223-24 and elsewhere, May 18 and 22 testimony).
So what was the actual connection that the national Democratic office had with Kerry? Kerry was the public spokesperson and national chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. At the request of the Rhode Island Young Democrats, Weiner had invited Kerry to speak, urging youth voter registration, at the Rhode Island Young Democrats’ convention in Providence on February 12, 1972. Kerry accepted and spoke – as documented in the Providence Journal of Feb. 13, 1972. Kerry also in a news availability there called for Nixon’s impeachment – as later did the House Judiciary committee by a 28-10 vote before Nixon resigned.
Weiner recalls, "That’s ALL that we did with John Kerry and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War – invited him to give a voter registration speech to help increase youth voter participation, and he accepted. That’s just God, Mother, and Apple Pie. It shows the paranoia and overcharged actions that Republicans used against him -- and the extremes that they would go to against him and the Democratic Party -- even back then when he and the Party were doing nothing together but positive voter involvement. Nothing is more American than that. Oh, we did have one other link with him: we invited him to give a similar speech to the Wisconsin Young Democrats a few weeks later – but he was busy that day."
"The Republicans showed their hand as far back as 1972 in blasting John Kerry and his causes for being extremist when he in fact was helping our nation in the most patriotic ways, and that will once again be the Republican strategy in this presidential race," Weiner, now a Democratic strategist, asserts.
In his May 18, 1972 Senate testimony, McCord conceded, "Part of the reason attributed to the operation was political" (page 173). Under further questioning by Senator Inouye, he also admitted the acts were "wrong… a mistake." But, Weiner asks, "Have the Republicans yet learned the lesson of this historic miscalculation of hyping opponents as unpatriotic?"
Weiner is bringing out the story as an "important part of history now." When Weiner heard the McCord testimony back in 1973, he immediately called Mary Lou Burg, then Vice Chair of the DNC, "to express outrage because of what the real story was in contrast," and Berg approved Weiner’s presenting the facts to the Watergate Committee. Weiner did so at a meeting with Senator Joseph Montoya (D-NM), a committee member, and his then Chief-of-staff Bob Baca.
Following his Watergate youth voter registration position, Weiner has served as legislative assistant to Ed Koch, Staff Director of the House Aging Committee under Claude Pepper, communications director for the House Narcotics Committee under Charles Rangel and the House Government Operations Committee under John Conyers, and Director of Public Affairs for the White House National Drug Policy Office under Drug Czars Lee Brown and Barry McCaffrey. He now is president of a public affairs and issue strategies consulting company.
(Source: Robert Weiner Associates 301-283-0821 or 202-329-1700)