Robert Novak
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 WASHINGTON -- The well-dressed disrupter at the recent premiere of ?Stolen Honor,? a documentary film attacking John Kerry?s role as a Vietnam War protester, has been identified as a Kerry campaign and Democratic National Committee staffer who had served time for manslaughter in a fatal shooting.

 Wayne F. Smith interrupted the question-and-answer session following the Sept. 9 showing in Washington, delivering a long speech assailing the film and defending Sen. Kerry. He did not identify himself, but he recently had joined the Kerry campaign?s veterans outreach operation. The campaign told this column Thursday night that Smith worked for the DNC. Although Smith had an extension and a voicemail box at the campaign Thursday afternoon, it was removed by Friday morning.

 Old media accounts and "Stolen Valor," a 1998 book by Vietnam veteran B.G. Burkett, show that Smith, a Vietnam War medic, was sentenced to hard labor for being AWOL before his 1972 drug-related manslaughter conviction. Smith later obtained a college education and became executive director of the Justice Project, which attempts to use DNA evidence to exonerate unjustly convicted felons.

DISASTER POLITICS

 The Bush administration's latest $7.1 billion disaster relief package goes beyond the Gulf states hit by the latest hurricanes and includes states that may determine the presidential election.

 The requested federal help would go to three non-coastal states untouched by Hurricane Jeanne: Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. All are battlegrounds, closely contested by George W. Bush and John Kerry.

 A footnote: Republican operatives are grumbling about Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, who has taken the Senate floor repeatedly over the last year and a half to deliver long, mournful eulogies of Ohioans fallen in battle. The complaint is that DeWine's funereal posture is not helping President Bush carry the key state.

KERRY AND VETS AID

 The proposed annual increased health payments for veterans that Sen. John Kerry complained the Senate Republican leadership prevented him from voting for are not contained in the Democratic presidential nominee's own budget plan.

 The proposal would have meant an extra $300 billion over 10 years, and Kerry elected not to include it. The 30 percent increase for next year and continued yearly boosts in veterans health care were favored by a 49 to 48 vote, short of the 60 senators needed because the proposal violated budget rules.

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Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.
 

 
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