Swift Boat Vets promised to stick around and to go away -- on the same day

On the same day that William E. Franke -- who ran the day-to-day operations for Swift Vets and POWs for Truth -- told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the discredited anti-Kerry group plans to meet in January to organize future attacks against the former Democratic presidential nominee, group co-founder John E. O'Neill said: “I hope that we never have an occasion to show up again.” During an appearance on FOX News Channel, O'Neill suggested that the group would return only to defend U.S. soldiers or “under some other unusual circumstances.”

The Post-Dispatch reported in a December 16 article that Swift Vets and POWs for Truth (formerly known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth) “plans to convene next month to celebrate its successes and to consider speaking out further about Kerry's military service, his anti-war activities afterward, and other issues,” according to Franke. But during an appearance on FOX News' The Big Story with John Gibson later that day, when asked by host Gibson if we've “heard the last from the swift boats?” O'Neill replied, “I hope so. I hope that we never have an occasion to show up again. We would only do so if there was some claim that our kids in the service generally were criminals or under some other unusual circumstances.”

Contrary to O'Neill's claim that he “hope[s] that we never have an occasion to show up again,” The Big Story was his second television appearance since the November 2 presidential election, following a November 10 appearance on FOX News' Hannity & Colmes. And another Swift Vets member, Steve Gardner, appeared on the November 30 edition of Hannity & Colmes to promote his dubious claim that he lost his job for speaking out against Kerry and that Kerry-Edwards '04 Veterans for Kerry national director John Hurley threatened to retaliate by looking into his finances. Gardner is currently seeking financial donations from supporters, and his cause has been promoted by a Chicago Sun-Times column, The Drudge Report, and a Washington Times editorial.