Monday, May 5, 2008

On Floyd Brown and David Bossie: Deconstructing the Obama Smear Machine

Bill Berkowitz
May 5, 2008

Floyd Brown and David Bossie: Back in the Swift Boat captain's chairs

Two longtime practitioners of negative campaigning are mainstreaming attacks on Clinton and Obama

Floyd Brown and David Bossie have spent a good part of their political careers making life miserable for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Unlike Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire financier who was unremitting in his efforts to take the Clintons down during the latter part of the twentieth century and whose newspaper endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton prior to the Pennsylvania primary, neither Brown nor Bossie have had a pro-Hillary conversion.

These days, however, Brown's new organization, The National Campaign Fund -- which launched a new website "" -- and Bossie's Citizens United have added Sen. Barack Obama to the mix.

Brown recently told Time magazine that "he had established several other front groups to fund a long-range effort to erode Obama's support, including a second PAC, called The Legacy Committee, a 527 organization called Citizens for a Safe and Prosperous America and a so-called "social welfare" 501(c)4 nonprofit called the Policy Issues Institute."

Bossie told Newsweek that he was "assembling material for TV spots about Obama's ties with [Bill] Ayers, a Chicago professor and unrepentant former member of the Weather Underground, a group that bombed several government buildings to protest the Vietnam War."

Raising Obama's negatives

Best known for his infamous Willie Horton television advertisement that helped put the kybosh on Democratic Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis' presidential aspirations in 1988, Brown's National Campaign Fund has prepared a new TV attack ad called "Victims," which lambastes Obama for being too easy on gang murderers. ...

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