I'll grant you LBJ had a sensationalistic, absurd, fear-based ad. I think you'll grant me that it was forty years prior to Swiftboat, when people were less adept to political ads (and when both parties looked different in terms of membership), it ran I think once before being pulled, and it wasn't as personal an attack (Kerry had multiple purple hearts which he literally suffered for). I said "Of the time." One was over twenty years before I was born, one ways about 20 years after I was born. They are as contemporary as Andy Griffith and Arrested Developement. And since we're talking TV, the metaphor fits.
By your own admission, Kerry was strong in debates. He won the first http://abcnews.go.com/sections/polit...ll_040930.html was close in the second and won the third http://articles.cnn.com/2004-10-14/p...PM:ALLPOLITICS by these fairly impartial accounts.