US President Bush on Monday criticized a commercial that accused &to=http://english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/98/387/12209_.html' target=_blank>John Kerry of inflating his own Vietnam War record, more than a week after the ad stopped running, and said broadcast attacks by outside groups have no place in the race for the White House.
"I think they're bad for the system," added Bush, who had ignored calls to condemn the ad while it was on the air.
Democrats criticized the president's remarks at the same time they worked to limit the political damage from the ad which they denounce as a smear sanctioned by Bush and his high command.
"The moment of truth came and went, and the president still couldn't bring himself to do the right thing," Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards said in a statement. "We need a president with the strength and integrity to say when something is wrong."
"Too little, too late," added party chairman Terry McAuliffe.
Campaign surrogates worked throughout the day to rebut the claims made by Kerry's detractors, reports Accosiated Press.
According to AFP, Bush's criticisms of the ads did not go far enough for Senator Kerry's running mate ahead of fast approaching November 2 presidential election. "The moment of truth came and went, and the president still couldn't bring himself to do the right thing. Instead of hiding behind a front group, George Bush needs to take responsibility and demand that the ad come off the air," Senator John Edwards said in a statement.
The ads, which started airing August 5, have put the Democratic senator from Massachusetts on the defensive over his war record. The issue has dominated the campaign in recent weeks, with each side accusing the other of lying and engaging in dirty tricks.