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For Immediate Release

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Brokaw Warns Dems to Lay Off McCain

Criticizing Republican candidate 'very tricky,' says NBC host


Longtime NBC
anchor Tom Brokaw offered two unusual warnings to Democrats about the
supposed limits of criticizing Republican presidential candidate John
McCain, suggesting that McCain's military service makes it dangerous
for Democrats to aggressively challenge him.

During NBC's August 26 convention coverage, Brokaw--the current host of Meet the Press--weighed
in on Hillary Clinton's speech: "She'll be tough on John McCain, but he
is her friend, and you have to be careful about how you go after an
American Vietnam War icon, really."

The next night, Brokaw appeared on MSNBC to discuss Bill Clinton's convention speech:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Tom, first, what did you make of the acknowledgment of the service of John McCain in very glowing terms?

BROKAW: Well, look, for Bill Clinton, and for anyone in the Democratic
Party, for that matter, it's a very tricky case taking on John McCain
and trying to rough him up. When John McCain was sitting in a prison in
Hanoi, Bill Clinton was writing letters to his ROTC commander and
trying to get out of the draft, which he did successfully. It was an
issue that he was really able to manage when he was running for
president. But at the same time, that's still a very short fuse in
America, as you know, Chris.

Brokaw continued:

But I think especially you have to be careful
about how you go after John McCain because of that Vietnam experience.
Jim Webb has written in his latest book, A Time to Fight, and
repeated to me again just yesterday, the Democratic Party still has a
long way to go to win the confidence of Vietnam veterans, and they
don't want to squander that here in the big hall.

Because Brokaw is a frequent analyst on NBC and MSNBC,
and the host of the network's Sunday talkshow, his message is an
important--and troubling--one. Nothing in Hillary or Bill Clinton's
speeches suggested any criticism of McCain as a Vietnam veteran--in
fact, they both praised his service to his country--so Brokaw
presumably isn't referring to Swift Boat-style attacks on his military
record, but to criticism of McCain in general. Exactly how "careful"
does Brokaw believe Democrats must be in challenging their political
opponent in a presidential election?

Ask Tom Brokaw to clarify his warning that Democrats have to be
"careful about" criticizing Republican presidential candidate John

Meet the Press
Phone: 202-885-4598

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