Sen. John Kerry warns in a new fundraising appeal that Republicans are intent on “swiftboating” President Obama in the same way that Kerry was attacked when he ran for president in 2004.
In an e-mail plea sent to Obama supporters Thursday, the Massachusetts Democrat points to a $3 million donation to a super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney from Bob Perry, a Texas
homebuilder who helped fund the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” ads that questioned Kerry’s war record in 2004.
“I know all too clearly that these guys will do or say anything to win. They’ll stop at nothing,” Kerry says in the e-mail. “But forewarned is forearmed. Their multimillion-dollar smear tactics were new in 2004; in 2012 we know their playbook, and shame on us if we don’t tear it into shreds. Join me and we will stop the ‘swiftboating’ of President Obama.”
Kerry’s warning is the latest sign of worry within the Obama campaign over the impact that well-funded conservative groups might have on the 2012 elections. The message appears to be an alert to Democrats that they cannot be complacent about monitoring the motives of Republican fundraisers and donors.
Some of the same conservative donors who helped fund the 2004 attacks on Kerry, including Perry and Dallas billionaire Harold C. Simmons, are now putting their money behind groups supporting Romney. Many Democrats believe the “Swift Boat” attacks were a key factor in Kerry’s loss to George W. Bush.
The pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future and other independent groups have dominated spending in the Republican primary, drawing on their ability to raise unlimited funds from a small number of motivated, conservative donors. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, whose family gave $16.5 million to a super PAC favoring former House speaker Newt Gingrich in the race, is now signaling that he is likely spend millions more backing Romney.
But it’s not clear how much of an impact that Republican super PACS will have in the race against Obama, who has managed to stockpile far more money than any of his potential opponents.
In his fundraising plea, Kerry urges Democrats to “fight back” against those who sponsored the attacks against his 2004 candidacy by donating $3 or more to the Obama campaign.
“It takes someone with no shame and a lot of money to get the public to believe a total lie,” Kerry says. “Unfortunately that’s what we’re up against.”
Below is the text of Kerry’s e-mail appeal:
When I was the Democratic nominee for president in one of the closest and toughest elections in history, a group of billionaires did something unprecedented:
They wrote million-dollar checks to fund lies about my service on what were called “Swift Boats” in Vietnam -- and in so doing, they turned the boats my crewmates and I served on into a new political shorthand for the most vicious smears imaginable: “swiftboating.”
I wish like hell that the term was retired from the American political lexicon, and returned to its real meaning.
But guess what: Bob Perry, the deep-pocketed funder of the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” just gave $3 million to Mitt Romney’s Super PAC.
One man. Three million dollars. And that’s just the start.
I know all too clearly that these guys will do or say anything to win. They’ll stop at nothing. But forewarned is forearmed. Their multi-million dollar smear tactics were new in 2004; in 2012 we know their playbook, and shame on us if we don’t tear it into shreds. Join me and we will stop the “swiftboating” of President Obama.
Fight back by donating $3 or more today at this critical deadline moment.
It takes someone with no shame and a lot of money to get the public to believe a total lie.
Unfortunately that’s what we’re up against.
Let’s be ready for it -- let’s fight back.
Please donate $3 today:
Senator John Kerry