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Much emphasis has been placed on Kerry’s military
service record. The ubiquitous and sometimes satirized
recount of his three Purple Hearts may come to mind.
Kerry is using this strategy as a form of rhetorical identification.
That is, in order to persuade an audience, he is
establishing common ground. Using language that
appeals to average American patriotism, Kerry attempts
to build rapport with the public through common values.
Bush relentlessly attacks this identification with another
pervasive phrase: “Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong
Time.” In an attempt to destroy the common ground that
Kerry is building, Bush tries to discredit Kerry’s military
prowess by referring to this comment Kerry made about
the Iraq war. It is, however, remarkable that Bush’s military
service is rarely recalled, especially with the emphasis
that he places on military power and dominance.

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