On June 2, The Washington Times picked up a May 31 "Inside Cover Story" published on the right-wing website NewsMax.com by former U.S. Representative John Leboutillier (R-NY) claiming that Senator John Kerry "flipped off" Vietnam veteran Ted Sampley during Memorial Day ceremonies at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
Kerry then began talking to a group of schoolchildren. Sampley then showed the T-shirt to the children and said, "Kerry does not belong at the Wall because he betrayed the brave soldiers who fought in Vietnam."
Just then Kerry -- in front of the school children, other visitors and Secret Service agents -- brazenly 'flashed the bird' at Sampley and then yelled out to everyone, "Sampley is a felon!"
The cameras of CNN and many networks were at the event and did not report the alleged incident.
Leboutillier left ambiguous the issue of whether he relied on Sampley -- the veteran in question -- as his source for the story or whether he witnessed the event himself. Sampley has been described by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) as "one of the most despicable people I have ever had the misfortune to encounter." For years, Sampley hounded McCain as a "Manchurian Candidate" -- claiming that the decorated veteran and former prisoner of war was a communist agent -- resulting in a conviction for misdemeanor assault related to an attack by Sampley on one of McCain's legislative aides. Sampley is also the leader of a group called Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry.
Leboutillier is one of the chief architects of the Counter Clinton Library, which describes its purpose as "a permanent thorn in the side of the Clintons as they try to hide and distort their anti-American, anti-family, anti-military legacy." Leboutillier is also the author of an article titled "Condit: Gays, Bisexuals, and Murder," in which he recounted rumor and innuendo regarding former U.S. Representative Gary Condit (D-CA) and federal intern Chandra Levy, who was reported missing in May 2001 and was later found dead.
On June 2, The Washington Times reprinted the Leboutillier story essentially verbatim in Greg Pierce's "Inside Politics" column.
Radio host Rush Limbaugh related the story to his audience on his June 1 Rush Limbaugh Show broadcast, stating as fact the details of the article (though he acknowledged that the NewsMax.com story was his only source).
From the June 1 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
John Kerry -- the presumed assumptive, maybe, Democratic presidential nominee -- flipped the bird to a Vietnam veteran at the Vietnam memorial wall yesterday morning. It was Ted Sampley.
Along with the transcript of Limbaugh's June 1 broadcast (headline: "Charismatic Dud Flips Vietnam Vet the Bird!"), Limbaugh posted on his website a photograph of Kerry speaking at a podium, holding his hand aloft. Limbaugh blurred and pixelated the image of Kerry's hand -- as if to obscure Kerry's raised middle finger -- and captioned the photo "EIB Photo Montage." ["EIB" stands for Limbaugh's Excellence in Broadcasting Network.]