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Vietnam Swiftboat Veteran campaigns in Columbus for Kerry

A Vietnam veteran who served with Senator John Kerry on a swiftboat was in Columbus Friday to campaign for the democratic nominee for president. Jim Wasser served as John Kerry's second in command on his Vietnam swiftboat. He has been traveling the country campaigning for Kerry and trying to refute claims that Kerry did not deserve the medals he received in Vietnam.

Wasser spoke to about 2 dozen veterans at a VFW post near Port Columbus. Nearly all wore Veterans for Kerry pins and some like Navy veteran Robert Grossman had harsh words for President Bush, his national guard service and his handling of the Iraq war.

Many of the veterans were union members as well and they criticized the president's handling of the economy. Swiftboat veteran Wasser, who is also a union electrician says economic issues should trump the debate over Vietnam.

Former state senator and Vietnam vet Gene Watts, chairman of Ohio Veterans for Bush argues Ohio's million and a half voters stand firmly behind the president. He ridiculed the size of the crowd at today's Kerry event.

As for Bush's service record, Watts says the President did what thousands of others did during the Vietnam War. As for Iraq, Watts says veterans appreciate Mr. Bush's resolve and question Kerry's changing position.

Wasser's visit comes hour before Channel 6 - a Sinclair owned television station - is scheduled to air part of a film critical of John Kerry's Vietnam service. Wasser called the timing coincidence - saying the visit was not aimed to rebut the controversial film.