Bob Dole's Hypocrisy ... He Got a Purple Heart for Minor Wounds, too

Roundup: Media's Take

From the Chris Matthews show, "Hardball" (Aug. 23, 2004):

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We‘re back with Doug Brinkley, Pat Buchanan and Stanley Karnow. Former Republican presidential candidate and World War II veteran Bob Dole today attacked Kerry—yesterday attacked John Kerry on two fronts. Yesterday, he said Kerry was trying to have it both ways on the Vietnam issue. He said, quote, “I mean, one day he‘s saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons. The next day, he‘s standing there, I want to be president because I‘m a Vietnam veteran.”

That was Dole‘s first shot. He also criticized Kerry for getting Purple Hearts for superficial war wounds. But here‘s where Bob Dole has a contradiction in his own words. In his autobiography that came out in 1988, Dole recalled receiving a Purple Heart for a similar shrapnel wound.

He wrote, quote, “As we approached the enemy, there was a brief exchange of gunfire”—this was, of course, in the mountains of Italy- “and I took a grenade in hand, pulled the pin and tossed it in the direction of the farmhouse. It wasn‘t a very good pitch. (Remember, I was used to catching passes, not throwing them.) In the darkness, the grenade must have struck a tree and bounced off. It exploded nearby, sending a sliver of metal into my leg, the sort of injury the Army patched up with mercurochrome and a Purple Heart.”

So Bob Dole knows about the vagaries of getting Purple Hearts, even though he‘s taking a shot. I love Bob Dole, but he took a shot at him for this Purple Heart.

Pat, there‘s Bob Dole saying, Don‘t give the guy Purple Hearts for the reason I got them. Now, that‘s a little contradictory.

BUCHANAN: Well, i‘s—what you saw there is the Bob Dole that Richard Nixon wanted to be chairman of the Republican National Committee.

MATTHEWS: He‘s a great guy.

BUCHANAN: Well, he‘s wonderful. He was as tough as nails.

MATTHEWS: But he got a Purple Heart for the same...

BUCHANAN: Yesterday was the old Bob Dole.

MATTHEWS: ... kind of thing Kerry got one or two of them for.