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Leaks About Foes Seen As Routine in Campaigns
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Political campaigns; Presidential elections; News media
Author: Howard Kurtz and Dan Balz
Date: Apr 29, 2004
Start Page: A.04
Section: A SECTION

Stephanie Cutter, [John F. Kerry]'s communications director, said she believes the [Bush] campaign orchestrated the story, noting that former presidential counselor Karen Hughes raised the issue of Kerry and his medals Sunday on CNN and that within an hour two news organizations called her about the subject. "Things like this don't happen by coincidence," Cutter said. Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt responded that the Kerry controversy "is of his own making."

A media furor erupted after ABC News and the New York Times each reported that it had "obtained" -- without saying from whom -- a tape of the 33-year-old interview with Washington's WRC-TV in which Kerry said he had tossed away as many as nine medals in the Vietnam War protest. Kerry, who defended himself in a testy interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," has long maintained that he threw away his ribbons, not his medals.

Cutter said Bush strategists often launch attacks against Kerry at the beginning of a week in which they are expecting bad news. This week's schedule includes a Supreme Court hearing on Vice President Cheney's secret energy task force, today's joint appearance by Bush and Cheney before the commission investigating the 2001 terrorist attacks, and the first anniversary of Bush's landing on an aircraft carrier with a "Mission Accomplished" banner.

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