The GOP candidate for the 8th Congressional District is aligning himself with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign aimed at undermining Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry's military record.

Chuck Floyd has included a link on his Web site called "Kerry lied . . . while good men died" and accepted an invitation to attend a Sept. 12 rally in the District sponsored by the veterans behind the Swift boat ads.

Floyd, who most political observers say is the underdog in his attempt to unseat Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), is trying to raise money and support from the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Earlier this year, former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr headlined a fundraiser for Floyd. In two weeks, former attorney general Edwin Meese III will speak at a Floyd reception in the District.

In an interview, Floyd questioned how Kerry received three Purple Hearts in Vietnam and suggested the senator abandoned his crew mates.

"It's hard for me to imagine a junior officer like that could get three Purple Hearts," said Floyd, who did not serve in Vietnam but spent much of his 20-year military career working in Army hospitals. "And why would he request a leave, and leave his buddies in harm's way after only four months of service? I think that should be the question."

Van Hollen said it was "unfortunate that someone else would sink to these levels."

"I agree with what Senator [John] McCain said, that these ads being run are very dishonorable. John Kerry served his country honorably," the freshman congressman said.

Floyd's comments could give Van Hollen campaign's political fodder in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1. In 2000, Al Gore beat President Bush in Montgomery County by 108,000 votes.

Former 8th District representative Constance A. Morella often stressed her independence from the Republican leadership and conservative interest groups during her campaigns. In 2002, when she narrowly lost to Van Hollen, Morella kept her distance from President Bush and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who was running for governor.

While Floyd has borrowed one of Morella's tactics -- making sure the word "Republican" does not appear on his campaign literature -- he said he has no problem being associated with Bush and Ehrlich.

Regulation of Cable Modem Industry Challenged

If the Bush administration has its way, Montgomery County might have to stop regulating the cable modem industry.

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Friday to declare that cable modem service should not be subject to the same framework that allows counties to regulate cable modem service. Cable modem companies that provide Internet service should "operate in a largely unregulated environment," the administration said in its petition to the court.

A decision in the case could affect Montgomery directly. In June, in an effort led by County Council member Marilyn Praisner (D-Eastern County), the county adopted one of the nation's first customer service standards for cable modem service. Under the law, cable companies must answer the phone within 30 seconds, complete repairs within 36 hours and refund customers for Internet service interruptions.

Cable industry officials said the move was illegal because the county had no authority to regulate cable modem service. The Supreme Court, if it decides to hear the matter, could answer that question.

The case dates to 2002, when the Federal Communications Commission ruled that cable Internet access is an "information service," placing it under a different regulatory framework than cable television. Industry officials said the decision barred local regulation of cable modem service.

But last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit overturned the FCC decision, ruling that cable modem service is a telecommunications service and an information service.

Even if the Supreme Court agrees with the Bush administration and overturns the 9th Circuit's decision, the issue might not be settled. Congress is expected to address the matter next year when it reconsiders the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Political Partying

Across the county tonight, Bush supporters will gather at house parties to cheer his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

But there will probably be more jeers than cheers at two convention parties being hosted by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.

About a dozen Republican "Party for the President" events are scheduled to take place in Montgomery. (Bush supporters plan to host 7,150 nationwide.) Before he takes the stage in New York, Bush is scheduled to place a conference call to the invitation-only parties, said Dan Willard, a co-chairman of the president's Montgomery County campaign.

"Anyone who is hosting one of these parties . . . if they have a speakerphone, everyone with them can get on a conference call with the president," Willard said. "At each one of these parties, the president hopes, and I hope, they will see this as a opportunity to see they have an ownership in this campaign and an ownership in changing this country to make it better."

Not be outdone, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will be holding events to watch Bush's speech at the Hard Times Cafe in Germantown and Champion Billiards in Rockville.

But while the Bush parties are free, Democrats will charge $44 a person -- symbolizing their efforts to make Kerry the 44th president.