Any reporter (starting with AP yesterday) who uses Harold Schaitberger, the head of the International Association of Fire Fighters, as a nonpartisan expert on the Bush 9-11 ads is a dupe or a partisan. Schaitberger endorsed Kerry on September 24, 2003 and has become almost an appendage of Kerry’s on the campaign trail. In nearly every primary victory party, beefy, mustachioed Harold is within three feet of Kerry on the podium.
The Toronto Star gets the context right:
Firefighters were among the earliest and most ubiquitous backers of Democrat nominee John Kerry. At cities across the United States, the yellow-shirted firefighters were at every rally, helping organize and raise money for the Massachusetts senator.
Kerry has reciprocated and promised to help first responders who say they will lose $700 million in next year’s Homeland Security budget.
“We should not be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them down in the U.S.,” Kerry says often, most recently in Florida, the day after he clinched the nomination.