Odds Columnist Gets Involved in $1-Million Swift Boat Dispute

By: Dave Astor

Universal Press Syndicate odds columnist Benjamin Eckstein has offered to help resolve a $1-million dispute related to the GOP’s Swift Boat smearing of John Kerry in 2004.

T. Boone Pickens reportedly offered anyone $1 million to disprove his claims about Kerry’s experience during the Vietnam War. The Texas billionaire had helped finance an anti-Kerry campaign alleging that the Democratic presidential candidate lied about how courageous his service was in the war.

Now, Swift Boat veterans in support of Kerry have called Pickens on his bet, arguing that they have proof to disprove Pickens? statements and thus have won the money.

Eckstein — who does political odds in addition to “America’s Line” sports odds and “Hollywood & Line” entertainment odds — was quoted in an ABCNews.com story as saying it would be “sacrilegious” not to follow through on a bet.

“In the world of betting and gambling, your word is your bond,” he said. “Whether it’s a $7 bet or a $500,000 bet, once it’s made and once you shake on it, it should be done.”

Eckstein has made offers to both sides suggesting his own oversight or the help of a panel to determine who won the wager and what awards might be in order.

The Universal columnist, whose “America’s Line” feature turns 20 this month, was profiled in E&P’s June 2008 magazine.

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