Swift Boat Watch: Winning Message Action Fund

A campaign blog.
Oct. 2 2008 11:53 AM

Swift Boat Watch: Winning Message Action Fund

See all Swift Boat Watch entries here .

Who They Are: Winning Message Action Fund


Purpose: A 501(c)4 nonprofit affiliated with NARAL Pro-Choice New York . The group advocates for reproductive rights. In this election, it opposes John McCain.

President: Kelli Conlin

Funding: Individual donors. Although they share staff with NARAL Pro-Choice New York, their finances are separate.

Cost of the Ad: Less than $10,000.

Where It Ran: Ran 92 times through SaysMeTV on various networks and markets. Airtime was never purchased for this ad. Instead, Winning Message Action Fund uses a company called SaysMeTV that allows individuals to pay to air the ad on networks ranging from BET to Animal Planet. For example, one ad in the Indianapolis suburbs on CNN between 7 p.m. and 12 a.m. costs $45. Airtime for this ad was mostly purchased in Pennsylvania.

Related Groups: NARAL Pro-Choice New York and National Institute for Reproductive Health .

Claims: McCain opposes Roe v. Wade and thinks it should be overturned. If it were overturned, 21 states would immediately start to ban abortions, making them illegal. The ad asks the question, "How much time should she serve?"

Accuracy: McCain explicitly states on his Web site that Roe v. Wade was a "flawed decision that must be overturned." The Center for Reproductive Rights released the "What if Roe Fell" report (PDF) in 2007. On Page 10 of this report, it states that 21 states are at high risk for banning abortion. But only four states—Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota—have enacted bans-in-waiting that would outlaw abortion as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned. Bans-in-waiting don’t violate federal law because they don’t go into effect unless Roe v. Wade is overturned and therefore wouldn’t require legal action to be enacted. The report lists jail time as the punishment for many of the states’ statutes. But in all four ban-in-waiting statutes, the punishments are for the person who performs the abortion, not the woman who receives it.

Background: The ad started as an Internet campaign in August, funded for TV by individuals. But the organization will start purchasing its own airtime this month. The organization is still unsure if it will use the "How Much Time" ad or create a second one.

Swift Boat Rating:


John McCain opposes Roe v. Wade , but the group’s 21-state estimate is a bit exaggerated. There is evidence that these 21 states could move to ban abortion, but nothing implies that action would be immediate. No statutes currently in existence would send a woman to prison for having an abortion—it’s an idea that’s commonly used as a scare tactic.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
The Vault
Sept. 16 2014 12:15 PM “Human Life Is Frightfully Cheap”: A 1900 Petition to Make Lynching a Federal Offense
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PMMore Than Scottish PrideScotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
Sept. 16 2014 6:53 PMHappy Constitution Day!Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.
Sept. 16 2014 12:05 PMSlim Pickings at the Network TV BazaarThree talented actresses in three terrible shows.