[FoRK] Re: Not So Free Speech, pt. 137

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Thu Aug 26 10:30:49 PDT 2004

Bits on the issue:


Responding to McCain, Bush Plans Legal Action on Ads
Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:42 PM ET

By Adam Entous

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Reuters) - President Bush on Thursday sought to ease  
differences with ally Sen. John McCain by promising to take legal  
action to stop a wave of ads by outside groups, including those  
attacking the war record of Bush's presidential election rival John  

The White House said Bush made the commitment to file a lawsuit against  
the Federal Election Committee when he spoke to McCain in a telephone  
call from Air Force One.

The Arizona Republican and Vietnam veteran has called on Bush to do  
more to end anti-Kerry ads by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for  
Truth, which has accused Kerry, McCain's friend and the Democratic  
presidential nominee, of lying about his Vietnam War service.

The White House made the announcement as Bush emerged from seclusion at  
his Crawford, Texas ranch and started a week of intense campaigning  
before next week's New York Republican convention with a raucous rally  
in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a state he lost to Democrat Al Gore by just  
366 votes in 2000.

Bush was accompanied for the first time on the campaign by former New  
York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a Republican whose response to the Sept.  
11 attacks made him a national figure and popular with independent  

The fierce dispute over Kerry's record in Vietnam, where he was  
decorated for bravery, has dominated recent campaigning in the  
neck-and-neck race for the Nov. 2 election. Both candidates are trying  
to portray themselves as the best man to lead the United States in its  
war on terrorism.

McCain has also asked Kerry to pull ads that featured the Arizona  
senator at a 2000 debate as an example of how the Bush campaign smeared  
other veterans. The Kerry campaign said in Minneapolis it would  
withdraw them from the airwaves.

McCain has threatened to raise his concerns about the Swift Boat ads  
when he campaigns with Bush next week.

He wants Bush to directly condemn the ads. Bush has yet to do so,  
issuing instead a blanket condemnation against all outside groups  
funded by unregulated soft money.


"The president said he wanted to work together (with McCain) to pursue  
court action to shut down all the ads and activity by the shadowy ...  
groups," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters aboard  
Air Force One.

McClellan said the lawsuit would be filed by the Bush campaign --  
rather than the White House -- against the Federal Election Commission.

"There have been previous complaints filed against the FEC. The FEC had  
an opportunity to act... They did not act. So that allows those who had  
filed those complaints to pursue action against the FEC," McClellan  

McClellan said McCain told Bush during their conversation that "he  
thought it was a good idea to work together to shut down this kind of  

But McClellan did not say when legal action would be taken by the  
campaign, and he would not single out the Swift Boat group for  
condemnation. "The president condemns all the ads and activity by these  
shadowy groups," McClellan said.

Federal election rules bar organizations that take unrestricted  
donations from coordinating their activities with campaigns or  
political parties.

Records show the Swift Boat group received some of its funding from  
long-time Bush supporters. Its new commercial also features one  
veteran, Ken Cordier, who was on a Bush campaign committee until last  
week, when he was forced to quit.

A top lawyer for Bush's re-election campaign, Benjamin Ginsberg,  
resigned on Wednesday after disclosing he has been providing legal  
advice to the Swift Boat group. (Additional reporting by Jeremy  

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